UK Government Chemist provides summary of CBD related activities

Correspondence between the Government Chemist, the Chair of the ACMD and the Minister of State for Crime and Policing

Published 14 June 2021

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa L) along with many other cannabinoids that may either exhibit psychoactive or non-psychoactive properties.

CBD plant extract or plant isolates have gained salience as an ingredient in food supplements and in some cosmetic products, and there has been a proliferation of such products, available online and on the high street.

As an isolated substance, CBD is not a controlled drug. However the process of extracting or isolating CBD from the cannabis plant may co-extract other cannabinoids and products could unintentionally include other non-psychoactive or, more significantly, psychoactive cannabinoid substances.

Kit Malthouse MP, Minister of State for Crime and Policing, wrote to the Chair of Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), to seek advice on the issue of CBD products which are not medicines; specifically on the controlled cannabinoids that could be present and the concentrations that they could be present at.

In response to this letter, the Government Chemist wrote to the Chair of the ACMD, (Letter to Chair of ACMD (PDF195KB3 pages)) explaining the role and remit of the Government Chemist and highlighting the work being undertaken on CBD and controlled cannabinoids by the Government Chemist. This letter was copied to Kit Malthouse MP for information.

Subsequently, Kit Malthouse MP wrote back to the Government Chemist (Letter from Kit Malthouse to Government Chemist (PDF147KB2 pages)), thanking him for the information. Following this correspondence, the Government Chemist was invited to present the results of its cross-government funded international ring trial on CBD and controlled cannabinoids in consumer products in April 2021, as evidence to the ACMD’s consumer cannabidiol (CBD) products: call for evidence.

The report on the international ring trial on CBD and controlled cannabinoids in consumer products will be published on the Government Chemist website later this month.

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