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FSA Releases New Regulations for Cannabis Based Businesses in the UK

All businesses will have to take down food products containing CBD, or cannabidiol, off the shelves from March 31, 2021, if they have not submitted their applications for the EU approval to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) till then. 

Local enforcement officials will be responsible to enforce the new legislation on CBD infused food products, as the sales volume for such products has risen Swifty since coming into the market. 

Until March 31, 2021, they have been told that companies should be able to sell their existing CBD products provided they are safe for consumption and labeled correctly. Till now, no CBD products in the UK market have completed the novel foods authorization process, but some businesses have started it. 

The FSA only started regulating the CBD market last January. The agency said that it has been pushed to impose the deadline as producers of CBD products have been slow to submit products for approval.

Emily Miles, chief executive of the FSA, said that CBD products are widely available in the high street, however, they are not properly authorized. The CBD industry must provide more information about the contents and the safety of the products to the regulator before March 31, 2021, or else, they will have to take down their products from the market. 

Miles further added they are recommending an upper limit of 70mg a day for everyone, except for breastfeeding and pregnant women, taking the product. The FSA’s actions are a pragmatic step to ensure public health safety while valuing consumer choice as well. 

Professor Alan Boobis, chair of the government’s CoT, the committee of toxicity, said that his committee has reviewed the evidence on CBD products and discovered that there are potential side effects from the consumption of these products. 

Alan said the committee is particularly concerned for people on medication, pregnant and breastfeeding women because recent animal research has shown a significant adverse impact on unborn babies when the mother was given a “clinically approved dose” of CBD. 

He further added that though the committee is not sure about such a risk, they are pleased with the pragmatic and sensible approach that the FSA is taking. The committee will continue to keep CBD infused products under surveillance and reviews in the months ahead to ensure consumer safety.

Katie Vickery, head of food law at Osborne Clarke LLP, said that the recent announcement by the FSA has given a sense of clarity for businesses as well as consumers. 

Vickery said that the industry was thrown into turmoil when CBD was labeled as a novel food by the European Commission last year, meaning that the array of CBD products available in the UK market cannot be legally sold until CBD has been approved through the novel food authorization process. 

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The FSA has been quite slow to provide clarification on whether enforcement action would be taken against companies that are currently selling food containing CBD or its supplements. 

CBD has garnered massive popularity due to its alleged health benefits that include treating anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, muscle spasms, inflammation, and even severe diseases like cancer, and epilepsy. 

Although there is research that proves the efficacy of CBD in treating an array of ailments, there’s still a long way to go considering there’s not much proof for its long term effects or adverse impact on the overall health of the users. 

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound derived from marijuana plants, and it does not produce hallucinations or give “high” to users who use it. It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and touted for its health benefits. 

Contrarily, THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive substance found in cannabis plants is the compound responsible for causing high to users when they smoke weed or use marijuana in any form. The UK government has limited the use of THC due to its psychoactive effects. 

As the cannabis market has grown multifold over the last year, there has been a massive influx of new companies offering CBD infused products ranging from oils, to capsules, isolate, vape pens, tincture, gummies, chocolates, and many other products. 

But most of the cannabis market seems to be unregulated which concerns the enforcement officials. This is why the FSA has provided an ultimatum to every cannabis-based company that produces CBD infused food to submit their applications until March 31, 2021, to get their products approved, or else, they will have to take their products off the market shelves. 

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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