Ontario research- Cannabis exposure risks during pregnancy

Research from three Ontario universities sheds new light on the risks associated with cannabis use during pregnancy, finding the psychoactive component of the drug restricts oxygen and nutrients from crossing through the placenta. The study from researchers at Queen’s, Western and McMaster universities, published in the journal Scientific Reports on Friday, found exposure to low […]

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Oregon marijuana sales 420% stronger near Idaho

PORTLAND, Ore. — Marijuana sales in Oregon along the Idaho state line are 420% the statewide average, according to a state report – a very coincidental number. Idaho residents are purchasing recreational marijuana in Oregon because it is illegal in Idaho, the report released Friday by the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis said. The report […]

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5 Busted Myths of Today’s California Cannabis Consumer

decades, growers from Northern California’s Emerald Triangle — the area encompassing Mendocino,
Humboldt and Trinity counties — have been the epicenter of America’s cannabis

The Golden State had the first legal medical marijuana market with the passing of Prop 215 in 1996. Proposition 64, the Adult Use Act, legalized growing, selling and using cannabis recreationally in November 2016.

Thousands of cannabis businesses have emerged since, all trying to establish themselves in an already saturated and highly regulated market. The industry has seen unparalleled innovation and investment across categories like product development and technology, causing a so-called “Green Rush.” It has been predicted that by 2024, the California cannabis market will comprise 25% of the entire market for cannabis in the U.S.

due to the immaturity of the market, little data is available to help support
the industry. In order to help shape product development and strategic
decision-making, companies need to ask fundamental questions, like who buys the
product and what do they use it for?

help fill these knowledge gaps, NorCal Cannabis Company undertook a first-of-its-kind
study of California’s cannabis consumers. Using an online panel, the survey
questioned 1529 people and represents of all California cannabis consumers 21
years and older.

The result is Five Myths of Today’s California Cannabis Consumer.

Graham is the VP of Business Intelligence at NorCal Cannabis Company. He helps
the company make smarter business decisions using data. According to Graham,
they decided to carry out this research because “there were many fundamental
questions about the California cannabis consumer that were unanswered, so we
decided to conduct research on our own.”

to Graham, the most surprising thing he discovered during the research process
was that many of the preconceptions about cannabis aren’t true. So they decided
to group their findings into five myths:

: Recreational users
get high for fun, while medical users are focused on their health.

reality is, most cannabis consumers use cannabis for both recreational and
medical reasons.

: Women are an
emerging market segment of new cannabis consumers.

fact, women already use cannabis as much as men.

: A handful of brands
are dominating the California cannabis market.

truth is that no brand has achieved a significant foothold in the market.

: All Californians
have access to legal cannabis.

in reality, they don’t.

: Consumers are
migrating from dispensaries to delivery.

In reality, consumers want an omnichannel experience to maximize their experiences.

concerns us is the lack of availability that exists for regulated cannabis for
so many people,” says Graham on the finding. “The research shows how cannabis
gives relief for so many people for things like pain, insomnia and depression.
California voters approved the legalization of cannabis, but people still do
not have legal access throughout most of the state.”

believes that the study is important because it shows that cannabis helps with
“a variety of fundamental and important ways” and it isn’t a simple case of
‘recreational’ and ‘medicinal’

would like people to understand that many of the assumptions they have about
cannabis consumers, cannabis usage, and cannabis availability may be wrong,”
says Graham.

To read the NorCal Cannabis Company’s report in full, visit norcalcann.com.

, do you smoke Californian

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Season 3, Episode 2 w/Guests: Jennifer Calvert ND, Sprayetteville, Jamey McGaugh, and Molly Adamson

Join us for season 3, episode 1 of The Wendy Love Edge Show with Topher Kogen. 


Health: Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor Jennifer Calvert from NWA Natural Living with a discussion of specialized kinesiology. 

In the Green Zone:  Loudy Bousman, Samuel Hale and Ranaga Farbriarz join us in the green zone to discuss Sprayetteville, a group of street artists who are part of The Green Heart Festival. Check them out at thegreenheartfesitval.com

Music:  Molly Adamson performs two original songs. 

Filmmaker Jamey McGaugh joins us in the opening segment to discuss his film “Chronic”. 









Produced, written and created by Wendy Love Edge and Topher Kogen

Directed by Adrian Sturdevant

Cameras Robyn Adair and Adrian Sturdevant

Sound Derek Wieand

Booking Mike Kinkle 

Set Design Out of Hand Artist Collective

Makeup and Hair Jacqueline Denise

Music: Theme song written by Samantha Hunt and performed by Samantha Hunt, Patti Steel, and Sarah Loethen

Interim music by Space Pirates and Rochelle Bradshaw 

Gratitude to Carmien Tea

Gratitude to Nomads Trailside https://www.facebook.com/nomadstrailside/


This episode is sponsored by
· Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app

Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/thewendyloveedgeshow/support

America’s Airline Traffic Is Now Full of Weed

Whether O’Hare International Airport in Chicago is “the world’s busiest” terminal for airline traffic depends on how you gauge such superlatives. If it’s by number of passengers, the busiest airport is Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta; if it’s by the sheer number of airplanes taking off and landing, the United Airlines hub in Chicago remains “busier” than anywhere else on the globe.

Either way, as of Jan. 1, O’Hare is the busiest airport in the world to be newly located in a state where recreational cannabis is legal. And indeed, with recreational cannabis sales beginning in Illinois earlier this month, six out of the 10 busiest airports in the United States are now situated in states where passengers can legally load up at the nearest dispensary on their way to or from the airport — which means that airline traffic in the U.S. is even more loaded with weed than it was before, and there’s not much of anything anyone can do about it.

You may hear that boarding an aircraft while carrying cannabis is illegal in the United States. That is true — federal law governs the friendly skies over all 50 states, and federal law, quite famously, thinks cannabis is a highly addictive substance with no medical value — but practically speaking, it’s never been safer to fly with weed. (Legal disclaimer: This blog post is not legal advice and nobody should do anything we suggest, ever.) Complicating matters somewhat are the special legal jurisdictions that exist at airports — in both Las Vegas and in Denver, the airports have declared that state law does not apply and that cannabis is still illegal — but both the demand and the effort to enforce such laws are slim to none.

There are those who would have you believe that boarding a flight bearing cannabis in 2020 means blundering into a confounding arena, a maze of contradictions. This is not the case. The legal landscape is absurdly simple: Cannabis is legal if the local jurisdiction says it’s legal. The federal Transportation Security Administration has gone as far as to publicly announce that they are not there to check for drugs. But if agents do find cannabis, their only course of action is to alert the local authorities. Unless you are some kind of special breed of a damn fool and try to waltz through Customs with weed, all the local authorities will be able to do is enforce local law. (Under no circumstances should anyone who is not a U.S. citizen be so foolish; risks for non-citizens entering the U.S. with cannabis include seizures, fines, deportation, and a lifetime ban on entering the country.)

It’s true that in Las Vegas, for example, possession of an ounce or more of weed is a felony. But, as an airport spokeswoman allowed to Forbes last year, Vegas “is a leisure market and a destination market. We understand that people come here to have a good time, so our law enforcement and our community as a whole value that.” This attitude is prevalent, and this is how you explain O’Hare’s recent decision to kindly and politely ask the public to please enforce themselves, and throw away whatever weed they have on them before boarding their flight.

Truthfully, nobody — not even the hardest-headed drug-warrior cop — cares that much about a small amount of weed (except insofar as that weed is an expedient excuse to justify a stop, or further policing). No, cops care about big loads of weed, or, better yet, enormous stacks of cash that may (or may not, who cares) be used to buy big loads of weed. As the Los Angeles Times reported last year, cannabis “trafficking” arrests at Los Angeles International Airport, No. 2 on the busiest airports list and thus the busiest in the US where weed is legal, spiked 166% to 101 busts in 2018. One typical bust, the newspaper wrote, was an East Coast-bound passenger with 70 pounds of cannabis in vacuum-sealed packages stashed in his checked baggage.

Keep in mind that in all of 2018, there were only 503 reports of cannabis found in bags at LAX — and that year, the airport saw 87.5 million passengers trudge through its gates. Stashing weed in luggage “is normal procedure… and I would say 29 out of 30 times they make it through without a problem,” defense attorney Bill Kroger Jr. told the Times. The deduction here is obvious: legalization has made airports, and American passenger airlines, de-facto weed delivery systems.

So far, O’Hare hasn’t made itself a special exemption zone for legalization, and Chicago police have said publicly they won’t arrest anyone who’s following state law. (That’s nice of them!) You can almost certainly pack the legal limit and fly with confidence — knowing there are at least a few other people on your same flight doing the exact same thing, if not pushing things to the 50-pound carry-on limit.

TELL US, have you ever flown with cannabis?

The post America’s Airline Traffic Is Now Full of Weed appeared first on Cannabis Now.

‘Incredible Launch Year’ For FDA-Approved CBD Medication

The numbers are in and the first FDA-backed medication using
cannabidiol has surpassed even the most optimistic expectations, says GW
Pharmaceuticals CEO Justin Gover.

The British-based pharmaceutical company just announced their fourth quarter and total year earnings for 2019, which were $104 million and $296 million, respectively. “It’s an incredible launch year for any medication [that] I think proves that this kind of medicine is really making a difference to patients,” Gover told CNBC’s Jim Cramer in a “Mad Money” interview about Epidiolex. “It shows real value to the health-care system, and it sets us up, I think, in a very nice way for what should be another great year for us in 2020.”

Epidiolex – whose main active ingredient is cannabidiol – is used to treat severe and rare forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. In 2018 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex and it has since been approved for clinical trials in 28 European countries as well as Japan.

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We can expect to see the first European prescriptions to roll out in France, Germany, and the U.K., followed by Spain and Italy, then the remaining 23 countries.

“It’s a new mechanism to treat epilepsy. We’re obviously treating
very high-need patients, often children. They’re having many seizures a day,”
Gover said. “So the ability to provide a real advance in this therapeutic area,
together with the fact that this is the first ever cannabis product approved by
the FDA, has together created I think an exceptional environment for us to
commercialize this product.”

Following this announcement, shares of GW pharma rose almost 2%.
This brings the total cost per share to just under $120.

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Maximize Dry January with Daytrip CBD Beverages

Do you feel like you overindulged over the holiday season?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. After all the festivities of the Christmas and
New Year’s period, some people decide to commit to a month of sobriety,
otherwise known as ‘Dry January.’

Researchers at the University of Sussex have been studying Dry January since 2014. They have discovered that participants
can expect to have better health – and a healthier bank balance.

But fear not! Dry January doesn’t mean forgoing all things
deliciously effervescent. In fact, why not use this opportunity to embark on a
new facet of your wellness journey by swapping out sugary sodas with sugar-free
CBD beverages.

Daytrip craft natural, premium 100% water-soluble CBD drinks
that absorb quickly into the body to maximize the cannabinoid’s
bioavailability. CBD is an
oil-based product, so when the technology doesn’t create a fully water-soluble
CBD, the end product can’t effectively absorb into the body.

For this reason, Daytrip is different from other CBD drink
options. The company has developed proprietary Foliole Nexus Technology,
leveraging high-frequency energy to minimize the hemp-derived CBD’s particle
size, enabling the cannabinoid to provide a near-instant effect and deliver
consistent results.

Then, they infuse CBD into sparkling water and a botanical terpene profile to create four delicious flavors — cherry, coconut pineapple, lemon lime and tangerine — that can be used to create CBD cocktails that promote a happy effervescent feeling.

The Daytripper

  • 3/4 cup lemon lime Daytrip CBD sparkling water
  • Ginger – muddled
  • ¼ cup peach nectar
  • 1 lemon wedge

Combine all ingredients in a glass and garnish with lemon and a ginger shaving.

The Daytripper

The Bubbly Brunch

  • 1/2 cup Tangerine Daytrip CBD Sparkling Water
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 TBSP elderflower syrup
  • 1 lime wedge squeezed into glass

Combine all ingredients in a glass.

The Fiesta

  • 2 oz Cherry Daytrip CBD Sparkling Water
  • 1.5 oz tequila 
  • 2 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 oz pomegranate juice

Combine all ingredients in a glass and garnish with cherries and orange slices.

The Fiesta

Endless Summer

  • ½ can Coconut Pineapple Daytrip CBD Sparkling
  • 1 shot clear rum
  • 2 slices of fresh pineapple Ice

Muddle one slice of pineapple and pour in Daytrip Coconut
Pineapple, rum and ice. Garnish with the second pineapple slice

Firmly rooted in California culture, Daytrip embraces all
that the Golden State represents; getting away from the grind and sharing good

Whether you’re at the beach, on the slopes, or simply in your own back yard, Daytrip wants to help you maximize your enjoyment. Use code DRYJAN to save 20% off your purchase.

Daytrip CBD beverages are also available at the Cannabis Now retail store in Los Angeles.

TELL US, are you participating in Dry January?

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CBD Warnings From FDA Spook Major Consumer Brands

The United States Food & Drug Administration has started 2020 as it ended 2019 – with a shot across the bows of the booming CBD industry.

And, the FDA’s on-going irritation with the unregulated, low-THC cannabis market is spooking the blue-chip brands once poised to enter it. Reports have surfaced, since the turn of the year, of many major brands recoiling from CBD as a result of the FDA’s position.

Late last year the FDA set out its stall saying CBD posed ‘real risks’ to health, and earlier this month it said it expects CBD-infused product developers to pursue a drug-trials’ validation route.

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Enforcement Cash Boost

At the end of last year the Federal Spending Bill provided the FDA with $2 million of firepower to undertake enforcement. This money will allow it to pursue rogue CBD companies making contentious medical claims, as well as an in-depth analysis of CBD product content – both, to be completed by the summer.

However, the FDA’s proclamations have not gone down well in the commercial CBD world. The Wall Street Journal reports on the uncertainty it has caused, saying the likes of PepsiCo, Starbucks, Kellogg and Red Bull have all put CBD plans on hold.

It quotes Mike Luce, co-founder of consultancy High Yield Insights, as saying it has gone from ‘all gas on, one foot from the consumers’ to ‘now there’s a very strong foot on the brakes from the FDA’.

FDA Says CBD ’Not Safe’

The WSJ says it approached Kellogg and was told that it doesn’t have any plans to use CBD in its food ‘because the FDA doesn’t recognize it as safe’.While it also quoted a spokeswoman for Ben & Jerry’s saying the company would work on a CBD ice cream, ‘only if the FDA approved the compound’.

This uncertainty is spreading north of the border, too. In its most recent earnings call in on January 14, Irwin Simon, CEO of Canadian cannabis firm Aphria, said its plans to expand into the the U.S., for now, ‘would not include CBD’.

Fellow Canadian firms Tilray and Canopy Growth have said retailers have been reluctant to sell CBD in the U.S. as they await firmer guidelines from the FDA.

Former Head Of The FDA Says CBD Is ‘Not Safe’

Fightback Underway

However, a fightback, of sorts, against the FDA’s tin-eared stance is underway . Just last week a cross-party bill was brought before Congress by Republican  Collin Peterson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. This calls for the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to include CBD in its definition of dietary supplements.

In a letter to Congress last month some major trade bodies, including the American Herbal Products Association, Consumer Healthcare Products Association, and United Natural Products Alliance all pressed for intervention.

They called on Senators ‘to pass legislation to clarify that CBD derived from the hemp plant is a lawful dietary ingredient if the dietary supplement containing the CBD meets established product safety and quality criteria’. 

2018 Farm Bill

The Farm Bill has set many things in motion for the hemp and cannabis industries

This whole furore over the sale of CBD products follows the passing of the Farm Bill in late 2018. This removed cannabis, with less than 0.3% THC, from Schedule 1 of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, effectively turbo-charging the U.S. CBD market.

The law change is acknowledged in this month’s FDA announcement, which also goes on to suggest it is exploring alternative routes to market approval for CBD food supplements. This FDA statement says it is committed to encouraging the development of cannabis-related drug products, including CBD. 

‘Streamlined ‘Approval

Then a few paragraphs later – referring to the Farm Bill – it states: “This change in the law may result in a more streamlined process for researchers to study cannabis and its derivatives, including CBD, that fall under the definition of hemp, a result which could speed the development of new drugs containing hemp.”  

In a Congress hearing earlier this month Dr. Douglas Throckmorton, deputy director for regulatory programs at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation of Research, said it was currently evaluating research to determine CBD’s safety and efficacy.

And he went on to say it was considering ‘non-drug pathways for compounds derived from federally legal hemp, and creating avenues for new drug development involving cannabis compounds’, reports CNN.

This three-and-half-hour hearing is, in itself is noteworthy, as it is the first time the Health Subcommittee of the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce has delved into cannabis and highlights its growing acceptance in the political sphere.

It is important to mention at this point that the FDA’s deliberations are generally concerned with the addition of CBD to food and drinks, it should have little impact on other CBD-containing products such as oils and  topicals.

And, it’s also correct to say consumer-facing businesses want CBD to be treated as a food supplement, and not as a drug.

It’s Time The FDA Regulated CBD As A Food – Not As A Drug

Massive Growth

Over the last year the CBD industry has recorded phenomenal growth in the U.S. as the Farm Bill provided some legal clarity for investors and businesses – something the federally-illegal THC cannabis business lacks.

The CBD industry had an estimated worth of $ 1 billion in 2019, and prior to the FDA warning, some analysts saw CBD market as set to grow to $20 billion in five years. However, analysts are now are now saying the FDA’s warnings could curtail activity.

Nic Balzer, co-founder of Cincinnati-based Queen City Hemp beverages, sees ‘big brands’ hesitation with CBD consumer products as an opening for his start-up to capture more of the nascent market’, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Corporate Coyness

The market in North America is mainly one for the independent start-ups, such as Queen City Hemp, and small and medium-sized companies in the process of building their reputations and profits.

That is certainly not the case for the major brands concerned with reputational longevity and shareholder value. And, it is this corporate caution that is deterring the major brands and Big Box retailers from engaging with the massive opportunities in the U.S. CBD sector.

At least for now, this corporate coyness is a welcome boon for the industry’s  ‘little guys’.

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Climate Change Puts Spotlight on the Drought Resistance of Marijuana

Zambia just became the latest country to legalize cannabis cultivation, but there’s a catch: the southern African country is struggling with an unusual weather event that’s making farming difficult.

Zambia is experiencing its worst drought in a century. As world leaders gathered in Madrid for the UN Climate Summit last month, southern Africa was already experiencing some of the harshest impacts of global warming — with some 45 million people in need of food aid amid crop failures. However, in December, Zambia became the fifth nation in Africa to permit cannabis cultivation, and so cannabis farmers there will now have to grapple with the drought.

The leader of Zambia’s Green Party, Peter Sinkamba, applauded the decision. He was quoted by pan-African news site Sahara Reporters saying the move could earn Zambia up to $36 billion annually. “Depending on how properly this is done, this could just change the face of Zambia’s economy,” Sinkamba said.

The conflict between cannabis and climate is a story that is all too likely to become commonplace in the face of climate change. It raises the question about how drought resistant cannabis actually is — and if there are methods of cultivating cannabis with less water that truly work.

How Drought-Resistant Is Cannabis Really? 

An interesting irony is that, because of cannabis prohibition, even the DEA believes that the cannabis plant can survive without much water.

“Marijuana is a very drought-tolerant plant. It’s a weed, and they grow anywhere,” DEA agent Bill Weinman told Denver’s Rocky Mountain News during a dry spell in 2002. “Drought has little effect on pot crops. Plants prove hearty, surpassing yields of state’s other crops.”

This attitude has been mirrored in the hemp industry, which farms a plant that is functionally the same as high-THC varieties of cannabis — except for the fact that they don’t have THC. In the lead up to the passage of the Farm Bill in December 2018, which legalized hemp (defined as the cannabis sativa plant with less than 0.3% THC), many advocates touted the low-water needs of the plant. Advocates boasted that a hemp field can be grown to harvest on about half as much water as needed by an equivalent plot of corn.

“It uses more water at the very beginning of its growth,” Geoff Whaling, chairman of the National Hemp Association, told the Pacific Standard in May 2018. “But once it kind of passes its early development stage — about three weeks — it becomes one of the most drought-tolerant crops on the planet.”

But there’s a trade-off. While it appears that the cannabis plant can survive without much water supply, limiting water intake too much appears to limit harvests.

In a May 2018 report, Hemp Industry Daily reported on the findings of a Colorado State University study, which found that irrigated hemp produced nearly three times more seed than non-irrigated hemp.

Brian Campbell, a doctoral student in soil and crop sciences, grew two test plots at a northern Colorado site — one irrigated consistently, the other receiving only some eight inches of rainfall throughout the growing season. The irrigated plot produced an average of 1,100 pounds of seed per acre, while the non-irrigated one produced about 400 pounds per acre. Campbell’s research led him to conclude that hemp’s water use is actually high compared to other crops.

“There are a lot of myths about this crop, and one of them is that it doesn’t need much water,” Campbell told Hemp Industry Daily. “It’s not that the plant won’t grow,” he elaborated. “But it’s a no-brainer — you should irrigate your hemp plants if you want them to do well in Colorado.”

Dry-Farming Cannabis

However, marijuana growers have also found a way to grow cannabis without additional water through a technique called “dry farming” — that is, cultivation without irrigation. Dry farming is increasingly practiced in Mediterranean climates, with wet winters and dry summers. Farmers work to trap moisture in the soil that continues to supply the plant on its own, rather than needing additional water from irrigation. (In climes that get rain year-round, irrigation is not an issue — though mold might be.)

Mediterranean climates include California, and dry-farming of cannabis is catching on in the Emerald Triangle as a part of the general trend toward sun-grown and organic product. For example, the cultivators at Sunboldt Grown, which began dry-farming a year earlier on its lands in Holmes Flat, Humboldt County, told Cannabis Now in 2018 that they’ve seen success growing cannabis with the innovative method.

“Dry farming is not for the faint of heart,” admitted Sunboldt Grown’s Sunshine Johnston, recalling her fears as she saw her plants suffering under the hot summer sun. But she resisted the temptation to water them, and the results were very satisfactory — high-resin yields with up to 30% THC.  

“I think what I learned last year is that plants actually prefer less water and no fertilizer,” she said. “They really prefer to be on their own.” 

Also, cultivators of both hemp (cannabis without THC) and marijuana (cannabis with THC) have long maintained that some strains are more drought-resistant than others. The website of Barcelona-based Royal Queen Seeds particularly names the indica-sativa hybrid known as “Critical,” popular across the Mediterranean, as sought among outdoor growers for being “very tolerant of high temperatures and dry weather conditions.” 

Diversion of water for illicit cannabis cultivation has long been a strain on Northern California’s watersheds, threatening the survival of salmon and other local wildlife. This is also now an issue for the legal cannabis sector, and if California has another drought like it did in the 2010s, legal cannabis growers will have to adapt.

In the coming years, it will certainly be a challenge for cultivators worldwide to figure out new ways to grow cannabis with less water. 

TELL US, have you ever tried dry farming cannabis?

The post Climate Change Puts Spotlight on the Drought Resistance of Marijuana appeared first on Cannabis Now.

U.K. Regulator Slams Leading Trade Group In CBD Spat

Angry CBD regulators have slammed Europe’s largest trade body in a feisty retort over the thorny Novel Food issue.

In a response to questions posed by CBD Testers the Food Standards Agency (FSA) strongly countered claims made by the Cannabis Trades Association (CTA) over its approach to the U.K. CBD market.

The FSA’s uncharacteristically muscular rebuttal follows a CTA press release summarising events at a meeting between the two parties concerning European Novel Food authorisation, in November, last year.

The CTA’s statement can be found here:https://britishcannabis.org/cannabis-trades-association-gains-clarity-from-fsa-on-novel-status-of-cbd-products/

The FSA has told CBD Testers it finds this summary a ‘misrepresentation’, ‘disappointing’ and ‘inaccurate’. With the U.K. and European CBD industry currently in a regulatory limbo the CTA & FSA spat will not go un-noticed.

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A Brief Novel Food Summary

Over the last few years the rapidly-growing British CBD industry has developed a self-regulatory framework which, in the main, has been led by the CTA. The CTA is by far the largest world-wide CBD trade organisation with around 1,000 member businesses in around 30 countries. 

However, a regulatory hand grenade was lobbed at the European CBD industry when the European Commission (E.C.) designated CBD a Novel Food, in January 2019. New – or Novel – food products have to undergo pre-market safety tests and secure approval from the E.C. before they can be sold; a process which can take up to five years and cost up to £500,000.

One massive issue for the CBD industry, here, is that once a submission has been made then a product must be removed from sale until approval is secured – effectively, a terminal event for most. The Novel Food Catalogue has no legal weight but sets an enforcement benchmark for authorities in the 28 member states.

In practice there has been little enforcement in both the U.K. and the rest of Europe, and the CTA and other European trade groups are fighting back. They argue that CBD has been around in a plant extract form for hundreds of years and have provided evidence to that effect.

And, they are pursuing an Article 4 submission with the EC which they hope will secure recognition of this historical data and determine that CBD plant extracts  – but not isolates – are not new, or Novel.

FSA Responses to CBD Testers

1. Has the FSA acknowledged the legitimacy of the Article 4 challenge on Novel Food, and agreed to allow CTA members to continue to make and sell CBD products, unfettered by enforcement action, while this progresses.

FSA: To date the FSA has not received an Article 4 submission from the CTA, although these may be made to any relevant Member State within the EU. An article 4 submission is something that any business or relevant party may do where they are not certain if a food is novel or not, and should always be submitted before placing any foods on the market. 

As such the submission of an Article 4 does not in any way remove responsibility to comply with novel foods legislation, and no agreement has been made with the CTA (or any other organisation/business) in relation to enforcement actions. CBD extracts have been confirmed as novel foods, and any potential submission of an Article 4 request does not alter this position, nor enforcement options available.

2. Is it right to say there will be no ‘grace period’ for firms making Novel Food application, so in effect they will not be able to make and sell CBD products for sale in the UK while these applications are processed and considered by the EC?

FSA: CBD extracts were confirmed as novel foods in January 2019. As no relevant products have so far gained authorisation, all CBD extracts being sold as food or food supplements are doing so in contravention of the novel foods legislation. 

This position is the same, whether or not any application for authorisation has been made. All novel foods should gain the appropriate authorisation before being sold or marketed, and this means all CBD extracts are subject to potential enforcement action irrespective of if they have made an application or not.

An article 4 request will not alter any enforcement position and offers no further protection against enforcement.

3. Has the FSA concluded ‘CBD does not produce adverse effects and consequently there will be on enforcement action’.

FSA: We are continuing to monitor food safety aspects of CBD. The information available on CBD does not suggest any significant safety concerns related to CBD, but as part of the novel foods authorisation process they do need to be evaluated for safety. If we find evidence to say that CBD extracts in general, or specific products containing CBD, risk harm to the public, they will be removed from sale.

4. And finally is it waiting for a further submission from the CTA. As the statement concludes: “The CTA…(will be) submitting data around the safety of CBD to be assessed at the next toxicology meeting in a few weeks’ time. Based on data that calls into question the reliability of their supportive evidence, this could result in there being no safety concerns around cannabis extracts and all enforcement action being cancelled moving forwards”.

FSA: The CTA has told us that they intend to send us data on the safety of CBD, but so far no information has been received. We will review any information we’re sent as part of our ongoing considerations of CBD safety. This is not specifically part of the application process, and any such safety information should also be included in an application for authorisation.

And, Finally ‘Incorrect’ ‘Misinterpreted’ and ‘Disappointing’

A spokesperson for the FSA provided this additional information to CBD Testers: “For clarification, CTA shared a draft of this news story with us in December. 

“We made it clear to them via email before publication that their interpretation of our discussion in November 2019 was incorrect. We addressed each of their points and explained clearly how they had misinterpreted what was said at the meeting.

‘We have written to the CTA expressing our disappointment at their conduct and urged them to correct the article to avoid misleading their members and disadvantaging them in working towards compliance for their products.”

EU Novel Food and The Legal Status of CBD Oil

FSA: CBD is ‘Safe’

This spat will once more provoke uncertainty amongst Europe’s booming CBD industry but there are some rays of hope in the FSA’s answer to the questions posed by CBD Testers.

As for the first time, the FSA has aired towards the widespread industry view over the safety of CBD products. In its response to CBD Testers, the FSA says: “We are continuing to monitor food safety aspects of CBD. The information available on CBD does not suggest any significant safety concerns related to CBD…”

While the FSA say it will look to enforce the Novel Food regulations this newly-stated position on the safety of CBD is unlikely to lead to any concerted enforcement action in the U.K.

FSA’s Current Position

For many months the FSA has maintained the following public-facing position on Novel Food, and it has re-stated this, as its current position, to CBD Testers: 

“CBD extracts are considered novel foods under food law and we expect companies to comply with the novel foods process, which includes submitting safety information about their products. 

“The FSA is considering the best way to ensure CBD food-related products currently on the market move towards compliance. We will be providing an update on this process and our position when we have completed those considerations.”

Industry Reaction

We will be gauging the CBD industry’s re-action to these latest developments and will be publishing these views over the coming week.

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