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The UK’s CBD Market to Be Further Regulated With New Charter

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Aug 20, 2019   
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The UK’s CBD industry is bigger than it’s ever been. The sector barely existed three years ago, yet 1.3 million UK consumers are now thought to be spending over £300M per year on the cannabinoid products.

But this rapid expansion has largely outpaced regulation – an issue which has now prompted the creation of a new charter to ensure the nascent sector is legally compliant.

Launched today by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC), the charter can be signed by CBD businesses looking for legitimacy. Any such company will agree to work with accredited laboratories to guarantee its products are within legal cannabinoid limits. The signatories will also commit to a marketing code that prohibits inaccurate labelling and any reference to medical claims, sexuality, and violence.

A previous report from the CMC found the UK’s CBD market to be rife with compliance issues. Out of 30 popular UK brands tested only 38 percent were within 10 percent of the advertised CBD content and one product didn’t contain any amount of the key cannabinoid.

The same report also found that nearly half of the products had measurable levels of THC, the intoxicating cannabis compound illegal in the UK.

“There is no ambiguity in what the regulators want, they want fully legally compliant products on the market,” Dr Andy Yates, CMC’s pharmacy lead, said in a press statement.

“The doors have closed for the current approach used by some manufacturers by claiming that the rules are somehow different for the cannabis industry. This new initiative exists to ensure that our members are fully compliant to an agreed set of terms with the relevant regulatory bodies, ensuring consumers can continue to access legal, safe, and quality CBD products.”

Compliance issues with CBD products are not unique to the emerging UK market. Last month, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter to the company Curaleaf for selling CBD products that claimed to treat cancer and Parkinson's disease.

Keeping to the new standards will likely drive up businesses’ production costs and may see the end of some small CBD companies. But the charter’s designers argue that change is crucial to secure a future for the UK’s fledgling cannabinoid market.

“Full compliance with the relevant regulatory bodies is the only way that the future cannabis industry can exist,” said Greer Deal, director of Global Regulatory Services, a pharmaceutical company that will assist with the new charter.

“It’s time that those operating within this sector wake up to this reality and embark on the journey to becoming serious and sustainable participants.”

Leo Bear-McGuinness

Science Writer & Editor

Leo joined Analytical Cannabis in 2019. From research to regulations and analysis to agriculture, his writing covers all the need-to-know news for the cannabis industry. He holds a Bachelor's in Biology from Newcastle University and a Master's in Science Communication from the University of Edinburgh.


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