Fresh data revealed at the summit showed lack of regulation was a barrier to consumer trust in CBD

Following a six-month consultation with key stakeholders, a trade association for the cannabinoid industry was launched last week.

Named The Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI), the new group aims to foster a legally compliant, socially responsible and innovative cannabinoid industry.

It was inaugurated on Friday in London at a CBD Summit organised by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, the authors of a landmark report titled ‘CBD in the UK: Towards a responsible, innovative and high-quality cannabidiol industry’.

Significantly, fresh data revealed at the summit showed lack of regulation was a barrier to consumer trust in the industry.

A new YouGov poll showed:

• 62 per cent of UK adults were aware of cannabidiol (CBD) based products

• Over one in ten (16 per cent) had bought a CBD based product

• However, 45 per cent of those surveyed said they were not confident that all CBD products are labelled with the correct information and are properly tested by a regulatory authority

• 48 per cent of people in the UK said they would be more likely to try CBD products if they could be certain that they had been produced to tight regulatory standards.

Speaking at the summit, Steve Moore, Strategic Counsel, CMC said: “The new YouGov poll clearly shows that consumers are looking to us for reassurance on quality above all else – half the population is not looking at CBD products because they don’t trust them. If we work together as an industry, we should be aiming to get that down to 25%.”

Signatories of the ACI will commit to a framework of legal compliance and quality control, based on a recent decision by the European Commission to classify all extracts of help and derived products containing cannabinoids – including CBD – as Novel Foods.

(L – R) Dr Parveen Bhatarah, Regulatory and Compliance Lead at the CMC; Shomi Malik, Development Director at the CMC; Dr Andy Yates, Pharmacy Lead at the CMC; Greer Deal and Dr Sarah Gaunt from Global Regulatory Services; and summit chair Glen Oglaza.

The ACI aims to introduce a kitemark – first-of-its-kind – which will appear on products which meet its standards and assurances on product quality, efficacy and safety to retailers stocking and distributing CBD products and to increase customer trust.

The CBD Summit also marked the publication of the first draft of the ACI Quality Charter comprised of seven pillars which was reported earlier by Pharmacy Business in September.

Dr Andy Yates, CMC Pharmacy Lead said: “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.

“This new initiative exists to ensure that our members are fully compliant to an agreed set of terms with the relevant regularly bodies, ensuring consumer can continue to access legal, safe and quality CBD products.

“Those who sign up to the ACI Charter will need to put their products under intense, but necessary scrutiny, analysing manufacturing process, assessing claims and using where required toxicology studies to prove a product is safe.”

Dr Parveen Bhatarah, Regulatory and Compliance Lead, CMC adds, “It’s imperative that this industry has a robust, standard analytical testing method to measure cannabinoid content within different CBD-based products. Any company in this space will no doubt have faced a number of problems when analysing cannabis products.

“If there is no standardisation, there is no recourse for companies or customers to question test results. The lack of standardisation is hurting the industry’s ability to present cogent arguments on key matters such as defining ‘zero-detectable THC’; the CMC’s efforts in addressing this broad-ranging subject is significant for the industry to move forward.”

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