CBD is making regulators across the world scratch their heads. The European Union is no exception to this.
The European Food Safety Authority recently issued a memo declaring that it considered cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, a “novel food” additive and therefore any product containing CBD must gain approval before being sold in the European Union (EU).
Though regulatory agencies often make wise and justified decisions, classifying CBD as a novel food is a mistake.
First things first, what exactly is a ‘novel food’?
As per EU Regulation 2015/2283, a Novel Food is defined as “food that wasn’t used for human consumption to a significant degree within the Union before May 15, 1997, irrespective of the dates of accession of the Member States to the Union.”
The EU’s Novel Food Catalogue entry for CBD reads, “Cannabis sativa L., extracts of Cannabis sativa L. and derived products containing cannabinoids are considered novel foods because a history of consumption has not yet been demonstrated. This applies to both the extracts themselves and any products to which they are added as an ingredient (such as hemp seed oil).”
Why the EU’s classification of CBD is wrong
The same EU Novel Food Catalogue says that hemp flower products like hemp seed oil are exempt from the novel food classification. Now, this previous regulation straight away undermines the CBD’s novel food status.
Hemp seed oil often comes loaded with traceable amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), so much so that regular consumption of hemp seed oil may even cause you to inadvertently fail a drug test.
Now the question arrives ‘How does hemp seed oil end up with THC?’
It contains THC because hemp seeds are usually coated in resin produced by the hemp flower. When cold-pressed into oil, cannabinoids present in the resin is transferred into the oil.
Since hemp contains CBD and THC in 30:1 ratio, it isn’t rocket science to understand the fact that hemp seed oil would also boast CBD. And if hemp flower products have “a demonstrated long use in Europe” then CBD must also fall under the European Union’s novel food exemption clause.
With our fingers crossed, we hope that the EU regulators take note of the contrasting clauses and make CBD, if not marijuana, accessible to all without any hassles.