Regulators slash CBD recommended intake
The FSA and the FSS have made changes to their CBD intake guidance, dropping the recommended amount to 10mg of cannabidiol CBD per day.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS), have updated their guidance on cannabidiol (CBD) and now recommended healthy adults should limit their consumption of CBD from food to 10mg per day.
This is the equivalent of about four or five drops of five percent CBD oil, a considerably smaller amount than the 70mg recommended in advice published by the Agency in 2020.
“We have always advised the public to think carefully about taking edible CBD products and as with all foods, we continue to review our advice based on the evidence we gather from industry,” said Emily Miles, CEO of the FSA.
“We understand that this change to our advice will have implications for products currently on the market that contain more than 10mg of CBD per serving. We will be working closely with industry to minimise the risk, to ensure consumers are not exposed to potentially harmful levels of CBD,” Miles continued.
However some advice has remained the same, including that CBD should not be consumed by people in vulnerable groups, including children, people taking medication (who have not consulted a medical professional) and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding and those trying to conceive.
But what has this change been made? According to the FSA, the new guidance is based on scientific research looking at the average lifetime exposure to food products containing CBD, such as drinks, oils, sweets, bakery items or drops.
Two independent science committees, the Committee on Toxicity (COT) and the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes, that advise that the FSA and FSS, have been reviewing the safety evidence submitted by the CBD industry as part of their novel foods applications. New evidence then allowed them to advise the regulators to change the guidance for the acceptable daily intake to 0.15mg/kg/ per day or 10mg of 98 percent pure CBD per day for an average weight adult.
While the update only acts as guidance for consumers, the FSA has encouraged adults to check labels on products as some that are available on the market may still have a dose that is higher than 10mg a day.
Sharing his stance on the alterations, Professor Robin May, Chief Scientific Advisor at the Food Standards Agency said: “Considering the impact the consumption of CBD can have on the human body, May explained: “The more CBD you consume over your lifetime, the more likely you are to develop long-term adverse effects, like liver damage or thyroid issues.
“The level of risk is related to how much you take, in the same way it is with some other potentially harmful products such as alcoholic drinks.”
“We encourage consumers to check the CBD content on the product label to monitor their overall daily consumption of CBD and consider if they wish to make changes to how much they take based on this updated advice.”
But what has the industry had to say in response? The Association of the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) has explained that it “understands the importance of evidence-based recommendations to protect public health” but are taking time to let its scientific panel examine the scientific evidence released “to better understand how the FSA have come to their conclusion”.
“We will make further comments once our experts have completed their review,” continued the ACI.
However it has “urged retailers” to take the update “as guidance” and believes that “nothing will change immediately in terms of products included on the FSA’s public list”.
“We highlight to consumers that this guidance demonstrates the FSA still considers CBD to be safe and their advice relates to lifetime consumption of daily high doses of CBD. In light of this updated advice, the ACI trusts that the FSA, after considering the implications of their announcement, will find a suitable solution for companies that have invested heavily to submit Novel Foods authorisation applications for their products. We remain committed to engage with the FSA to support our members who have acted in good faith throughout the Novel Foods process so far,” concluded the ACI.
Meanwhile, Caroline Coen, Founder of CBD brand Pureis, said: “At Pureis, we welcome this recommendation from the UK Food Standards Agency. Pureis’ optimum and established dose of CBD has been 10mg daily for many years. This announcement represents a crucial step toward ensuring that consumers have access to safe CBD products in the market.
“We sincerely appreciate and welcome the valuable advice provided by the UK Food Standards Agency, and we will work collaboratively with them to ensure that our product continues to align with the highest standards of safety.”
With the popularity of CBD products soaring since the novel food status of CBD extracts was confirmed in January 2019 by the FSA, the updated guidance may cause consumers to pause and rethink their CBD intake. However, as the ACI has recognised, the guidance remains just as advice for now, leaving implementation to the discretion of the consumer.