CBD ‘safe’ for mainstream retail, Health Canada advisory panel says
The expert panel of nine-member formally called the Science Advisory Committee on Health Products Containing Cannabis speculated that CBD is “safe and tolerable for short-term use (a maximum of 30 days) at doses from 20 milligrams per day to a maximum dose of 200 mg/day.”
The approval comes three years after Health Canada first assigned a team of professionals to contemplate whether CBD should be sold by mainstream retailers and not limited to adult-use cannabis stores or by doctor’s advice.
But the proposal could open a tremendous new market for CBD.
Paul Pedersen, CEO of Vancouver, British Columbia-based Nextleaf, which makes CBD and THC extracts for other manufacturers, estimates Canada’s current illicit CBD market to be worth about $4 billion a year.
He envisions such agreements shifting into Canadian grocery and drug stores alongside other dietary supplements.
“Anywhere that sells vitamins, we’re excited to be able to sell CBD in those environments,” Pedersen told MJBizDaily.
The board remarked “the desire of Canadians to access health products containing cannabis without practitioner oversight (such as from a physician or nurse practitioner)” but also called for CBD products to carry warning tags.
The board members also noted that CBD won’t get most adults high.
“If an individual took up to the maximum dose of 200mg/day, the maximum amount of THC that is absorbed into the blood stream and reaches the brain would potentially be too low to cause appreciable psychotropic effects for most people,” they concluded.
The suggestion did not distinguish whether CBD comes from hemp or marijuana. It also did not finalize that CBD is influential.
Health Canada, an agency analogous to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will make the final decision on whether CBD could be sold in grocery and convenience stores and other mainstream outlets.
Though CBD is generally sold outside dispensaries in the United States, the FDA has yet to sign off on its safety, limiting adoption by major nationwide retailers such as Target and Walmart.
The FDA has been considering CBD regulations ever since the agency was directed by Congress in 2018 to oversee how hemp products could be sold.
But the agency has constantly said it can’t set any ordinances for over-the-counter hemp products because it doesn’t have sufficiently data to say they’re safe.
The panel recommended that over-the-counter CBD products:
- Ask patients to first consult a doctor if they’re also taking other medications.
- Carry statements on potential interactions between CBD and other drugs or alcohol.
- Bear “prominently placed” warnings recommending CBD should not be used by individuals who are pregnant or nursing, or by people with allergies or hypersensitivity to cannabis.
- Carry dosing instructions and warnings of potential side effects, especially at high doses.
The panel recommended the Canadian health authorities take the lead on educating the public about safe CBD use.
“There is a wide range of misinformation about CBD, which poses a risk to public health,” the panelists wrote.
“To counter that, public education about non-prescription health products containing CBD would be necessary to support informed decisions by consumers.”