There is widespread confusion on what is actually legal!

Recent revelations of cannabidiol (CBD) products being sold through a UK high street pharmacy chain containing no CBD have rocked the emerging cannabis wellness market and consumers appear to be losing trust in the CBD brands that they are buying.

Little or no regulations have enabled a few bad actors to bring dubious products to market, dragging the whole industry down. Consumers are confused and buyers are nervous about stocking their stores with products derived from cannabis, such as those containing CBD.

The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC), through regular dialogue with the FSA, has had clear indications the industry can no longer operate in the legal grey-area in which it currently sits. Dr Andy Yates, CMC pharmacy lead highlights: “There is no ambiguity in what the regulators want, they want fully legally compliant products on the market. As we have long advocated, the doors have closed for the current approach used by some manufacturers by claiming that the rules are somehow different for the cannabis industry.”

Following these discussions, CMC announced the release of a new Cannabinoid industry quality charter to help foster a legally compliant, socially responsible and innovative CBD industry within the UK and Europe.

Beyond the trust issues, there is widespread confusion as to what is actually legal. Many news sources inaccurately claim that products containing less than 0.2% THC are legal. In fact, THC is a controlled substance so is not allowed to be sold in any quantity.

With all this in mind, there is a clear need for an authoritative body to help ensure products on the market are legal, safe and reflect what is indicated on the packaging.

“Over time CMC was picking up more members who were involved in the CBD wellness market.” Explains Steve Moore, CMC Founder and Director: “This charter will ensure all members are 100% legally compliant and will help to win public trust in this emerging industry.”

The charter is being signed by the world’s leading players in the legal medicinal cannabis sector (who also supply CBD products to the wellness market) with an aim to win back consumer confidence and enable buyers to have faith in the brands that they purchase.

CMC will work closely with the FSA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to ensure that members are legally compliant by obtaining a Novel Foods license. Currently, all CBD products on the market in Europe are technically illegal as CBD is classified as an unauthorised novel food by EFSA, who to date, have issued no Novel Foods licenses for CBD.

CMC will liaise closely with FSA and through a partnership with the leading life-sciences regulatory services consultancy, Global Regulatory Services (GRS), they will ensure that all CMC members are on a path to full compliance in a timeframe that is acceptable with UK authorities.

“Full compliance with the relevant regulatory bodies is the only way that the future cannabis industry can exist. It’s time that those operating within this sector wake up to this reality and embark on the journey to becoming serious and sustainable participants.” Says Greer Deal, GRS Director: “This is the opportunity for the cannabis industry to shine in Europe.”

Source: The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis

This article also appears in the September issue of Pharmacy Business.