The legality of CBD can still be confusing, but CBD is completely legal in the UK.
Is CBD Safe?
People often associate CBD with the negative stigma of cannabis. The important thing to remember is that CBD is known to be very safe. It doesn't provoke any intoxication or cause any of the so-called “high” associated with cannabis. Studies have shown that CBD has no addictive properties. (1) It is therefore not accurate to compare it to any type of recreational drug that has these negative effects.
Gregor Zorn, Cannaray’s Chief Science Officer, has this to say.
“There shouldn't be any issues with CBD whatsoever in my opinion. Studies have shown that even with chronic use, such as up to 1,500 milligrams of CBD per day with prolonged use, subjects did not have any serious side of adverse effects (2)."
"CBD is extremely safe. In so-called ‘novel’ foods, the doses are much, much lower. We're talking 10 milligrams or lower, which can only be beneficial for people using it. The problem lies with CBD’s negative association with cannabis".
CBD & Novel Foods
These so-called “novel” foods, such as CBD gummy bears and tea bags have blurred boundaries further.
The Novel Foods Regulation of 2015 (3) states that any novel foods that were not in human consumption before 1997 are to be regarded as “novel” because they don't have the required safety data, and could be regarded as unsafe.
CBD was in human consumption before 1997, but not in the various forms that it is now. This means that CBD has been deemed a local food that cannot be used in human consumption without the necessary safety studies (4).
How does Novel Foods affect the CBD industry?
Different countries have been given different rules and time frames on how to implement the new rules.
In The United States, the laws can be even more confusing because every state has its own laws. In February 2020, Trump signed a law into the Farm Bill (5), containing a provision legalising hemp in order to fuel the CBD trade. 34 States in the United States out of 50 have implemented medical cannabis laws. This means that over 70% of Americans are now able to obtain cannabis for medical purposes.
On February 13th 2020, The Food Standards Agency (FSA) set a deadline for the CBD industry in the UK (6). They stated that the industry must submit all novel food applications by 31st March 2021.
In the interim period, CBD products may remain in the UK market provided they are safe, correctly labelled, and do not contain substances that fall under drugs legislation. After 31st March 2021, only products that have submitted a valid application will be able to remain.
In addition, the FSA provided extra safety advice to consumers, by way of recommending those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medication not to consume CBD products, and that no more than 70mg of CBD should be taken a day unless under medical direction.
"Cannaray welcomes the announcement by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on the ‘novel food approval process’ of CBD products." - Clive Sharpe, Chairman of Cannaray.
Cannaray's Chairman made the following statement:
"As promised by the FSA, this provides directional clarity and a proportionate response to the current disconnection between EU/UK CBD legislation and what has become custom and practice in the market.
This is good news for customers, suppliers and retailers alike to ensure all CBD products are safe, accurately labelled and fully traceable through professional supply chain operations.
Such regulations will help to eliminate the less scrupulous, cowboy CBD suppliers from the market.
Cannaray has already put into effect the planning and preparation processes for the CBD products in our portfolio that require novel food approval. We are confident in all our CBD products and are committed to meeting regulatory requirements as part of our goal to become the UK’s leading brand of CBD.”