Will CBD One Day Be Available Without Prescription WORLDWIDE?
Global advocacy groups argue that requiring a ‘CBD prescription’ is like making people go see their doctor to access Vitamin C.
Industry groups representing the hemp and health food industries recently called on the Canadian government to change regulations for CBD. BNN Bloomberg reported on 8 May that The Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance and the Canadian Health Food Association have called for CBD to be removed from Canada’s list of prescription drugs. Additionally, in a joint paper, they asked Canadian authorities to introduce regulations that would permit hemp-derived CBD as an ingredient in natural health products and foods.
Canada currently regulates CBD as other legalized cannabis products. Consumers must either have a medical cannabis prescription or purchase their CBD from a licensed recreational online cannabis store or bricks-and-mortar dispensaries. This is in contrast to many other supplements, which, providing they have been proven safe, do not require a prescription in Canada and are sold openly.
The groups contend that CBD doesn’t get users high, therefore should not be subject to the same regulations as THC-based products. Many argue that CBD is akin to a supplement. Additionally, there is mounting evidence for CBD’s therapeutic value in helping conditions such as: anxiety, schizophrenia, pain, and certain cancers.
CBD’s Legal Situation in the USA
In the United States, the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) position have, until recently, taken a hard line against CBD. The FDA has only approved one drug containing CBD as the active ingredient: Epidiolex. This allows doctors to prescribe CBD as a treatment.
The FDA, which refers to CBD as a “drug product” maintains that, under current regulations, companies can’t market CBD as a dietary supplement. Manufactured food products also cannot contain CBD.
The FDA makes exceptions for foods previously marketed as a supplement or traditional food before they declared them a drug. However, they contend that this isn’t the case with CBD. So companies who market products containing CBD as a supplement or food product could be subject to disciplinary action.
The FDA has taken a tough approach to companies making unproven health claims about CBD. The department has issued several warning letters against companies that have made such claims about their products. Yet, this has done little to hinder the blossoming CBD market in CBD. Everywhere from dispensaries to gas stations sells CBD, and it’s also in a range of beauty products.
In a sign of a softening attitude, the FDA has formed a high-level working group to “explore potential pathways for dietary supplements and/or conventional foods containing CBD to be lawfully marketed.” Beginning 31 May, the agency will also hold a public consultation. This will give the public and industry figures the opportunity to give their two cents about future CBD regulations.
Legal Situation of CBD in European Union
European Union regulations regarding CBD are comparable to the US. European Union regulators don’t permit any health claims for CBD. Products that boast health claims are regulated as medicines, according to the European legal firm Arnold & Porter. Products that don’t contain health claims are regulated differently, meaning that CBD products are commonly found in big-name European retailers.
However, European authorities view CBD-enriched food products differently. Under the EU’s “novel food” regulations, food cannot contain CBD produced using techniques other than cold pressing. In practice, this means that the only CBD products that can be legally added to foods in most of the EU are hemp seed oils.
Regulators are concerned that CBD extracted using other techniques could contain “undesirable substances”, according to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. Foods that were commonly consumed in the EU before 1997 are exempt, but regulators contend that this doesn’t apply to CBD. In spite of this, it’s common to find edible CBD products on the EU market. A quick Google search produces plenty of results for “CBD edibles in Europe”.
Member states of the EU do have the freedom to authorize the sale of products enriched with CBD. Bulgaria, for instance, recently took advantage issued a “Free Certificate of Sale”. The certificate acts as a blanket authorization to market hemp-derived CBD products. So, patients without a CBD prescription will still have access to CBD.
Industry figures have expressed hope that Bulgaria’s action will set a precedent within the EU. It could lead to a wider loosening of regulations in the CBD industry.
Regulation Surrounding CBD Prescriptions Is Moving in the Right Direction
It might seem counterintuitive to require a CBD prescription when there’s so much evidence of its safety and efficacy. However, CBD does interact with other drugs, and there are always people who have unusual reactions. Regulators have a duty to protect the integrity of regulations surrounding medicines and supplements. Unsurprisingly, this process moves slowly. Nonetheless, recent moves in the USA, Canada, and Europe are a hopeful sign for both patients and the CBD industry.