Government Chemist contribution recognised as ACMD publishes advice on CBD products


Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa L) along with many other cannabinoids that may either exhibit psychoactive or non-psychoactive properties.

CBD plant extract or plant isolates have gained salience as an ingredient in food supplements and in some cosmetic products, and there has been a proliferation of such products, available online and on the high street.

As an isolated substance, CBD is not a controlled drug. However, the process of extracting or isolating CBD from the cannabis plant may co-extract the other cannabinoids and products.

CBD edible products are now regulated as novel foods. They must also be compositionally safe and correctly labelled. Wide variation in compliance with CBD label claims has been recorded and the presence of controlled cannabinoids is a known risk.

In addition, the ‘controlled drug’ content ‘threshold’ of one milligram in a product or preparation referred to in the Home Office Drug Licensing Factsheet – Cannabis, CBD and other cannabinoids was presenting difficulties in interpretation and analysis.

To address these issues, the Government Chemist has been undertaking a number of CBD-related projects:

When the ministerial commission asked the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to specify which controlled cannabinoids should be controlled and set an unavoidable trace level for each of these within consumer CBD products, the Government Chemist was able to feed his findings into the ACMD’s consumer cannabidiol (CBD) products: call for evidence.

ACMD has now published its advice on consumer cannabidiol (CBD) products making several recommendations. Read the report and accompanying letters:

The Government Chemist was pleased to note the citation to his work in the letter from the ACMD Chair to Kit Malthouse MP, Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Justice for “providing the main evidence for the practical capacity for the analytics industry to test” for such products.

The Government Chemist will continue to work with UK regulators and other stakeholders to help take the ACMD’s recommendations forward.

For more information about the work mentioned in this page or the work the Government Chemist does contact:

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