The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) is the medical cannabis industry body for businesses involved in both cannabis-based medicinal products and cannabidiol (CBD) wellness products. The CMC have released a report called “CBD in the UK” in which they call upon politicians, regulators, producers, retailers and the medical industry for better regulation within the CBD industry.
The CMC’s main focus is the health and wellbeing of potential consumers of CBD products following the current “hype” which has caused CBD to become a major player in the health and wellness market. The CMC themselves say that CBD is “not a passing fad” and is “likely to endure” well into the future. However, due to the industry being relatively new, it is currently unregulated, and the CMC have therefore proposed guidelines for the regulations they believe should exist.
The grey area surrounding the legality of CBD is also a major focus for the CMC, who believe the current misinterpretations of legislation are a major and widespread problem for businesses within the UK CBD sector, as well as the police who try to enforce it and consumers purchasing the products.
The regulations governing CBD aren’t specific to CBD but are generalised for compounds with medicinal value as well as separate regulations for their use as a health and wellness supplement. The idea is to draft a completely separate framework of legislation that is specific to CBD products.
These regulations should have clear and defined guidelines for whether the product is meant for food, cosmetics or medicines and if it falls into one category, it should not fall into another e.g. a CBD food should not be a CBD medicine. These guidelines should determine how these CBD products should be produced, distributed and marketed.
A regulatory body specific for CBD should be appointed to ensure that the guidelines are met and to enforce action against any companies who are in breach of the law. The idea is to create a CBD industry which can be trusted throughout and following recent reports that approximately 50% of CBD products contain less than the advertised amount of CBD, this is essential for the industry.
The basis for the report by the CMC was founded upon lots of market analysis plus laboratory testing of the contents of CBD products. The research shows that CBD has now entered the mainstream supplement market with around 10% or 6 million people within the UK having tried CBD products and their main purpose for using CBD regularly was because of perceived medicinal benefits.
They discovered that consumers would prioritise the quality and purity of their CBD products over whether the product was legal or not, but there was a tendency within the UK to lean toward British produced CBD products.
The overall value of the CBD market was a tricky one to quantify for the CMC, but they decided that previous estimates of £100M from the Brightfield report and 250K regular users from the CTA were vastly underestimated, with their independent insight deciding that there are 1.3 million regular users creating a £300M UK industry. Interestingly, this is greater than the UK Vitamin C and Vitamin D industries combined.
Regular users of CBD products spend on average £55 each per month and despite the availability of CBD products on the high street in pharmacies and health food stores, the majority of consumers are purchasing their CBD online. The CMC issued a study to test the quality of these CBD products and found: –
These results show a clear need for regulations into how these CBD products are being produced. It shows that within the extraction of the cannabinoids from the cannabis plants, the purification of CBD and the creation of the final product, there needs to be clear and defined industry guidelines that companies should follow in order to guarantee products that don’t tarnish the CBD industry’s reputation.
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So, although the future of the CBD industry is bright and the rising demand for the product is strong, it has shown that there are plenty of challenges ahead for everybody involved from the politicians to the retailers to ensure the industry remains a credible one. In order to do this, there are key challenges to overcome in the years ahead.
Challenges such as the correct education of the consumers, which would involve providing no misleading information; defining a proportionate regulatory pathway and calling out any bad practices in order the ensure that consumers are always getting the best product and also incentivising clinical research to better understand the full medical benefits of CBD products.
In order to do this, the CMC has requested that the government revise the law in order to devise regulations that work for UK businesses in allowing the CBD wholesale isolates industry to grow. Also, for regulators to provide clarity and certainty to all levels of industry and to raise awareness of harmful practices. They ask that the industry itself should undertake voluntary and robust self-regulation in order to be socially responsible for their products.
The CMC has also proposed that the medical industry take CBD products seriously by supporting new research into CBD as well as preparing to provide CBD medicines. Overall, this could be quite a long and arduous process for those involved, but the industry will reap the benefits in the long run.
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