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Home » UK Food Regulators Slash Recommended Dose of CBD Over Health Risks

UK Food Regulators Slash Recommended Dose of CBD Over Health Risks

by Finley Hawkins
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UK food regulators have slashed the recommended safe daily dose of cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabis extract present in thousands of high street products from muffins to coffees, citing a risk of liver damage and thyroid issues.

In a surprise reversal of previous official guidance, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and its Scottish counterpart have updated their advice on what was once hailed as a wonder ingredient. They are now recommending healthy adults limit their intake of CBD from food to 10mg per day, which equates to four or five drops of 5% CBD oil.

Previous advice, dating from 2020, set the limit much higher at 70mg per day.

“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,” said professor Robin May, the FSA’s chief scientific advisor.

May suggested consumers check the labels of the products they use and consider heeding the new advice. “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.”

The gear change, the FSA said, was based on new evidence from the industry as well as input from its independent scientific committee.

It will cause shockwaves in the industry as there are products now on sale that contain more than 10mg of CBD per serving. However, the recommendation is only advisory, and regulators are not requesting that any products are taken off shelves.

CBD is one of the non-psychoactive chemicals found in the hemp plant – not the illegal mind-altering THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) that gets you high. During the 2010s sales of CBD took off with the ingredient added to everything from fizzy drinks to face cream.

More recently the industry has been in limbo after the FSA began to intervene. Classed as a “novel” food, CBD products must be approved before going on sale. As it played catch-up with the fast-growing industry the FSA created a list of products for consumers to consult, although it has not authorised any of them.

Marika Graham-Woods, executive director of the Cannabis Trades Association, which has 200 members, said the decision was an unfair one with the new guidance only advisory. “All this does is frighten consumers and retailers and it stops the industry going forward again. I don’t see any benefit in what they have done.”

The FSA said there was “no acute safety risk” with consuming more than 10mg of CBD a day based on the data it had assessed. However above this level, and over a period of time, “there is evidence of some adverse impacts on the liver and thyroid”.

It also reiterated that CBD should not be taken by people in vulnerable groups, including children, those on medication or women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive.

Emily Miles, the FSA’s chief executive, said it had always told the public to “think carefully” about taking edible CBD products and it would continue to review its advice based on the evidence.

“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,” she said. “We will be working closely with industry to minimise the risk that consumers are not exposed to potentially harmful levels of CBD.”

Source : The Guardian

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