Europe needs 'proper' cannabidiol regulations for foods and supplements, says association

By Emma Jane Cash

- Last updated on GMT

Europe needs 'proper' cannabidiol regulations for foods and supplements, says association

Related tags Cannabis European union Over-the-counter drug

The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) says there is an “urgent need for proper legislation” in a position paper asking for Europe to recognise cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp as safe ingredients in food and cosmetics – not just medicines.

Some member states, including Britain, currently only recognise CBD as a medicinal product, rather than an over-the-counter (OTC) food supplement.

In the position paper the organisation says “it is just and reasonable that CBD is not covered by the national narcotic acts or drug regulations of the 27 EU Member States (from 28 with the exception of Slovakia) and that CBD is not restricted by any EU legislation”.

The EIHA has proposed a three-tier regulation system: high doses (200 mg/day or more) of CBD should be regulated as a medicinal product; medium doses of CBD (20-200 mg/day) should be considered an OTC product or a food supplement; and low CBD doses (20 mg/day or less) should be allowed in food products with no restrictions.

The organisation acknowledges that different regulations will have to apply to CBD containing hemp extracts, compared to pure CBD, as it could contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC – the psychoactive cannabidiol in marijuana) as well.

Medium doses of CBD should be available to buy as herbal medicines or food supplements, without prescription, in chemists, pharmacies or health stores EIHA says.

EIHA also say they are strictly opposed to attempts made by pharmaceutical companies to  make CBD a prescription-only drug, saying “this only serves the interest of a few companies while damaging the young CBD industry”.

The Medicines and Health Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK released their opinion that CBD products are medicines last year.

A spokesperson said: “MHRA is not currently aware of any safety issues related to consumption of CBD but it should be noted that the assessment of whether a product is classified as a ‘medicinal product’ is carried out in accordance with the definition of a medicinal product and is not based on whether the product is a risk to consumers. Once a valid application is made the product will be assessed in terms of its safety quality and efficacy in the medical claims made”.

The EIHA has said, however, that there is no need for such strict regulations over CBD products, as the ingredient has no side effects and is non-psychotropic.

Tony Reeves, board advisor for EIHA and managing director of HempCo Europe, said: "The document we have distributed provides a sensible, considered and workable framework for the regulation of CBD's across Europe and is extremely well supported by a sound science-based rationale. In my experience, both the regulators and responsible producers share a common goal in that they all wish to protect the consumer without restricting access to what is a natural, safe and beneficial food supplement. I strongly believe that this position paper provides exactly the framework to achieve these goals".

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