CBD Legislation in the UK has been unclear for quite a long time but now there is growing speculation that the rules may tighten and effectively outlaw CBD products. In a move that was not widely publicised or understood the EU added cannabinoids to the Novel Food Catalogue this year. What’s notable here is that it wasn’t the whole cannabis sativa plant but just the useful cannabinoids that are stored within.
What’s a novel food catalogue?
The overarching implication of this move is that going forward CBD products will need to have complete authorisation before they can be marketed or sold in the EU. In theory, the hope is that this will dissuade many retailers from even opening their doors in the first place because they could leave themselves vulnerable to heavy fines and prosecution. Basically, you might not see CBD on the shelves because it may be outlawed.
This move is an attempt by the EU to get legislation across the continent in sync with one another. What is to be expected is that there will be a translation of these rules into local legislation which the UK would then have to enforce. Naturally, the nitty-gritty of all this is left down to the national regulators and this process could take some time.
In the United Kingdom, it is the responsibility of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to take action on this issue and communicate it to the industry. The FSA is an independent body but one that operates with tight links to the Department of Health and Social Care.
Patients left vulnerable
But any moves like this will leave vulnerable patients who rely on cannabinoid-based medications without proper recourse. Cannabinoid-based medications are starting to become the recommended course of action in many cases in contrast to opioid-based medications which can be dangerous and addiction-forming.
The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis put it succinctly when they said:
“Given the barriers that patients are facing with accessing cannabis-based medicinal products under prescription from UK doctors at present, draconian rules that seek to eliminate CBD products in the health and wellness sector will only exacerbate these problems and leave consumers and patients with nowhere to go but the black market. Avoiding that outcome is the common goal that should dictate all policy on access to cannabinoids”
The designation is important because its intention is to harmonise the regulations across all EU member states. Access to cannabinoids will be dictated by policy, protected by law and operated under a framework.