Healthspan January 30, 2019

Recently the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reclassified all CBD oil supplements as 'novel foods'. But what does this mean for users of cannabis oil, and does it mean that CBD sales will be banned in the UK?

The short answer is: not yet. Companies like Healthspan are working with the FSA and CTA (British Food Standards Association, Cannabis Trades Association) to figure out what this new legislation will mean.

Why does being a Novel Food mean CBD may be banned?

A novel food is defined as a food that had not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU before 15 May 1997, when the first Regulation on Novel Food came into force. Because CBD oil is now classified as novel, if the Food Standards Association decides that CBD can no longer be sold, it will have to undergo a lengthy sign-off process before it can go back on the shelves.

It's still not clear whether CBD will have to be taken off sale, how long any approval process will take, and if CBD oil will be banned permanently, because there have been no formal instructions from the EFSA and the FSA.

Can I still buy CBD oil in the UK?

Healthspan will sell CBD products until formal advice from the relevant regulatory bodies arrives. This is expected to happen sooner rather than later.

Advice from the experts

Dr Sarah Brewer says: 'The new classification by EFSA is for regulatory/technicality reasons and not for safety reasons. Given that there is some uncertainty around the future free availability of CBD supplements, I’d recommend that people who find it beneficial for well-being continue as normal by ordering from a trusted supplier and continue to take their CBD Oil'.

Also, in June 2018, The World Health Organization carried out a review of CBD saying: 'CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications, but across a number of trials on the potential therapeutic effects of CBD, the food supplement was generally well tolerated, with a good safety profile.'

For more information about the CBD regulation changes, please see our FAQ.

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