British pharmacists have urged the government to devise a more robust regulatory framework to govern the UK’s burgeoning CBD market.
The UK Centre for Medical Cannabis estimates that CBD-based product sales will grow from £300 million ($394 million) in 2019 to £1 billion ($1.3 billion) by 2025. Pharmacists have noticed a sharp increase in demand among shoppers, and they believe the products need clearer information and better checks on content.
The British government classifies CBD as a food supplement. It permits sales of products containing CBD, provided the THC content is below 1%.
That means CBD is governed by the Food Standards Agency, which is now demanding that suppliers provide a greater level of detail about the ingredients within the products.
The government has banned manufacturers from making any health claims on these products. However, chemists feel that the products need clearer information and better checks on content.
Jasmine Shah, head of advice and support services at the National Pharmacy Association, said members would like “clear, authoritative guidance, which makes it easy for healthcare professionals, consumers and patients to make informed choices”.
The NPA represents hundreds of independent pharmacies across Britain. Shah said that members feel there is very little research on the safety and efficacy of CBD-based products, and they want to see stricter controls imposed upon this growing industry.
The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis has urged the UK government to overhaul its “ambiguous, out-dated and fragmented” legislation around CBD. It wants to see quality levels defined in a clearer fashion, product composition regulated to a greater extent and poor marketing practices stamped out.
Another new group called the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry represents 23 producers, including major North American firms like Aurora Cannabis and The Supreme Cannabis Co. It said that its members are determined to secure “novel food” status in the UK via the FSA.
Yet the regulatory body appears to be losing patience with producers. They are currently enjoying an early grace period, as CBD is a new product on the market, but they face an FSA clampdown if they fail to provide it with enough information to secure the requisite authorization.