The UK’s Food Standards Agency recently revised its recommended safe daily dose of cannabidiol (CBD) from 70 mg per day to 10 mg per day.
The announcement seemed to take a lot of people by surprise, and led to retailers like Holland & Barrett to temporarily pull tens of products from shelves while it reviews the FSA’s new guidance.
NutraIngredients caught up with Dr Mark Tallon, managing director of food law consultancy, Legal Foods Ltd, for a deeper understanding of what this means for brands currently in the market, what businesses should be doing moving forward, and to understand the potential international implications of the FDA’s move.
Dr Tallon explained that the move splits the novel food submissions for CBD into three different sections: Group A is 98% and above pure CBD (CBD isolates) and this is what the provisional ADI applies to. Group B is anything below 98% CBD, so it could be CBD with other cannabinoids, and then group C is hemp extracts that contain not just cannabinoids, but things like terpenes and other compounds, he said.
New science has been ignored…
Another important point to note is that this opinion was generated in March, based on an assessment of this science at that point, he said.
“Now since that time, a number of critical case studies have been published: One by ourselves, which was a 90 day study that showed a very different point of departure for safety than the FSA. And then we also had one by Rayetta Henderson,” said Dr Tallon.
“That's not been included in [the FSA opinion]. Yet, surely, between March and October, when they issue that opinion, the FSA must have said, ‘Oh, look, there's two new studies that address a number of these points, publicly available, why don't we hold back on that opinion, and decide if that has some implications on the point of departure?’” he added.
Despite the new opinion being negative at first glance, Dr Tallon said he thinks there are still positives that come out of this situation.
“Let's not acquiesce to what the FSA have said in their opinion,” he said. “At this point, it's not legally binding, it's just a view. Let's make them fully aware as an industry that there is published data from myself and from Rayetta Henderson, that address a number of these [issues], that additional information could have been put in that opinion for industry.
“I know, obviously industry are worried that we get stuck on this 10 milligrams, but it's a foot in the door,” he added. “And I think for a lot of us who have been involved in this for a while when we did our submissions, we were very cautious on the dose we proposed that was a safe level. And once you're in, we can fight, you know, for potentially a highest safe dose level.”
Watch the full video for more insights and context from Dr Tallon.