The Food Standards Agency has issued advice to those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medication not to consume CBD products.
They have also advised healthy adults to think carefully before consuming CBD, recommending no more than 70mg a day is used, unless under medical direction.
CBD is perhaps the best known of the at least 113 different phyto-cannabinoids found in the Cannabis Sativa plant family. Demand for CBD and CBD-based products has been driven in the UK by interest in potential health and medicinal benefits of the compound.
A YouGov survey indicates between 8-11% of UK adults (4-6 Million people) have tried CBD.
Research commissioned by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) suggests the UK’s CBD market is worth £300m a year, larger than the UK’s Vitamin D and Vitamin C market combined (£264m), and it is expected to grow to nearly £1Bn a year by 2025.
The FSA is responsible for the safety of food products in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their new precautionary advice follows the findings of a discussion report by the UK government’s Committee on Toxicity.
The comprehensive review reported that human studies show single doses of CBD between 20-1500mg per person do not cause side effects and are considered to be well tolerated.
In 2018, the World Health Organisation similarly concluded that, “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile… To date, there is no evidence of… any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD”.
However, data is limited. Further and far more in-depth human studies are needed into dosing, the effects of long-term use and interactions between CBD and existing medications.
The Committee on Toxicity also reviewed various animal studies that observed adverse effects of CBD and raise some concerns.
Professor Alan Boobis, Chair of the Committee on Toxicity, said:
“My committee has reviewed the evidence on CBD food products and found evidence there are potential adverse health effects from the consumption of these products. We are particularly concerned about pregnant or breast-feeding women and people on medication.”
Although the doses of CBD in these animal studies were in amounts at orders of magnitude well above CBD-based food supplements available on the market, in the absence of rock-solid human studies they do give regulators pause for concern about public safety.
Emily Miles, Chief Executive of the Food Standards Agency, said: 'The actions that we’re taking today are a pragmatic and proportionate step in balancing the protection of public health with consumer choice.
One expert has questioned the 70mg-per-day maximum recommended dosage.
Professor Mike Barnes, chair of the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society, said, “Since the efficacious dose in adults is about 60- 100mgs that makes no sense. The FSA suggests not taking CBD with any other medication despite an excellent safety profile. They say they draw from a recent report from the Committee on Toxicity, which suggests nothing of the sort.”
We at Raw Botanics share the FSA’s concern for public safety and welcome any steps towards clearer consumer advice. To re-iterate, we recommend users of our CBD-based food supplements should seek medical advice before use. A cautious approach is sensible for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and for those who are taking medications.
The recommended daily intakes of our oral products do not exceed the FSA’s precautionary 70mg per day suggested limit for healthy adults.
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