The Evolution of CBD Regulations: Anticipated Changes in The Next Five Years

CBD, or Cannabidiol, has seen massive growth and a surge in popularity over the past decade. Originally taken from ‘Industrial hemp’, also known by its very Latin name, Cannabis sativa L, CBD’s growth has also brought with it the need for clear and very concise regulations. This article is trying to look into the current state of CBD regulations and anticipates the many changes that may be witnessed over the next five years or so.

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Anticipated Changes in Regulations

Given the current situation and trends in the CBD market, there are several anticipated changes in regulations:

  • Refinement of UK CBD Laws: There is high anticipation for a very serious revision of existing CBD regulations in the UK. A very significant topic of discussion centers on the lawful content of THC for CBD products.
  • FDA’s Recommendations: There are many reports which suggest that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will release guidelines on regulating CBD in food and supplement in the year 2023. This will have very significant implications for product formulation, marketing, and sales strategies of the product in the market.
  • The EU Developments and Portugal: Portugal is likely to introduce some clarity on the hemp extracts and finished products to be able to align with the latest developments at the European Union level, even though no bills have been proposed at the moment yet.

The Condition of The CBD Market in The US

In the US, the 2018 Farm Bill has opened the way for a booming CBD market by removing hemp and hemp seeds from the DEA schedule of controlled substances, and effectively legalizing hemp CBD for its use in non-food items at the federal level. This, along with the pandemic-induced health consciousness in the UK, has led to a very massive demand for CBD-infused products, starting from personal care items to vitamins, supplements, and household products.

However, it is not all that smooth sailing at all. In the year 2023, inflation and high product prices led to a high decline in CBD sales in traditional retail channels.

Even though this happened, specific categories of products like hemp-infused soft drinks, seltzers, and sparkling water saw a serious surge, indicating a potential shift in the consumer’s preferences and behaviors toward the product.

Current CBD Laws in The UK

As of the year 2023, CBD is legal in the UK, provided the controlled cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), do not exceed 1 mg per container. In addition, since the year 2020, CBD foods and beverages have always required a Novel Food authorization issued by the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA). This process can take upwards of a year and can be very costly, sometimes reaching more than £50,000.

Most importantly, there is a misconception about the legal THC limit in the UK is 0.2%. This is very incorrect, and the actual requirements vary differently depending on the type of product. The current laws were mainly crafted before the CBD market boom began and are now seen as very outdated laws, creating a very strong case for the revision of these regulations in the future.

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The growth in the CBD industry needs a very agile regulatory framework that can cater for the evolving needs of businesses and consumers while ensuring safety and compliance for them as well.

It is very important that stakeholders stay innovative, agile and are regularly informed of any regulatory changes that are coming and adapt their strategies perfectly and accordingly.