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Europe’s CBD Brexit; On The Continent It’s Now A ‘Drug’ – In The UK It’s A Food

THE next few months look like being crucial for the CBD industry following confirmation the European Union now regards CBD as a narcotic and indications UK regulators will publish their final report on the safety of CBD.

Earlier this month BusinessCann reported that the European Commission (EC) was contemplating the classification of CBD as a drug – not a food.

This position has has now been adopted and in doing so it has confirmed that all submitted applications to secure authorisation of a CBD product as a Novel Food are now on hold.


Meanwhile, in the UK, it has emerged that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is expected to publish a final report from its scientific advisers on the potential risk posed by CBD use in the Autumn.

FSA Interview On CBD Food Safety

This has emerged from a lengthy interview of senior FSA officials by industry experts The Canna Consultants (TCC). These will be all available to view in the next few days, at no charge, with the opportunity to make a donation to a worthy charitable cause.

During the interviews with the FSA’s Novel Food lead Paul Tossell, and compliance lead Frances Hill, they say the FSA expects to get a final report from the Committee on Toxicity (CoT) in August.

This will be fed into guidance from additional advisory bodies with a final determination likely in October.

The changing position of the EC in relation to the status of CBD will be a major concern with the continent’s CBD industry now well-established and thriving.

Europe Now Sees CBD As A ‘Narcotic’

It has been prompted by the KanaVape case – six-year-long legal battle in the French courts over the use of Cannabis Sativa leaves and flowers.

In a statement to BusinessCann the EC said that its stance had changed earlier this month and continued: “The Commission’s preliminary view is that CBD extracted from the flowering and fruiting tops of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa) should be considered as a narcotic falling under the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961.

“As a consequence, such substances could not be qualified as ‘food’ pursuant to the General Food Law and would fall outside the scope of the Novel Foods Regulation.”

“The changing position of the EC in relation to the status of CBD will be a major concern with the continent’s CBD industry; now well-established and thriving.”

In relation to the 50-or-so applications for Novel Food authorisation it said: “As concerns CBD extracted from the flowering and fruiting tops of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa), the Commission has informed the applicants of its preliminary views and invited them to provide comments by the beginning of September.

“The Commission will take a decision on the validity of the concerned applications afterwards.”

A Continental CBD Brexit

With Brexit set to happen in 2021 the FSA has confirmed this new EC stance will have no impact on its view on CBD as a food supplement.

In February, this year, the CoT first flagged up its concerns that CBD is not safe. It said data secured from GW Pharmaceuticals indicated its potential to cause damage to the liver, as well as possible negative reactions with other drugs, in particular the blood-thinner Warfarin.

In tandem, with it flagging up its concerns on the safety of CBD the FSA has also said that those companies wishing to sell CBD in the UK from April 1, next year, need have to have submitted, and have had Validated, a Novel Food application.

@Those wishing to register to view the TCC and the FSA interviews can do so here: https://www.thecannaconsultants.co.uk/fsa-q-and-a-webinar/

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