The Big Debate

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The Big Debate #3: Would you recommend CBD products to your customers?

Started 8 months ago

Thank you for joining us this afternoon for our third Big Debate. It's a point of contention in the sector: would you offer CBD products to your customers in certain circumstances or do you steer clear? Is there enough evidence or is more research needed? Finally, what are the legal points you need to be aware of?

To share your views, simply comment underneath this post.

According to pharmacy legal expert Noel Wardle in this C+D article, there are many legal points to consider when stocking CBD products in your pharmacy.

'Pharmacists need to take care how they advise patients about cannabis product benefits. Mr Wardle says: “If you are marketing CBD oil, which isn’t licensed for medicinal use, then you can’t make medicinal claims about it.”

“What is and what is not a medicinal claim is a bit of grey area. But generally, there are a list of words that you would avoid – ‘treat’ is an obvious example, and ‘cure’.”'

You can read the full article here 

Do pharmacists feel comfortable recommending CBD products OTC when there is not much evidence available to support their use?

I would steer clear of this. There is very little in terms of evidence of efficacy and safety. I remember in February of this year, the Food Standards Agency, appearing to be very inpatient of manufacturers of CBD products and their willingness to submit information for THEIR OWN products. 

Interesting Nahim. Do you think you would change your mind if there was more evidence around the products?

@Nahim I'm inclined to agree with you - although if it has been as a registered medicinal product - and although there is little evidence, if the patient perceives that there is benefit and have had no adverse effects, should we be recommending these products for the placebo effect?

I would like to see more evidence, licensing and quality control . I feel its been the wild west when it comes to CBD products and some parallels to novel psychoactive substances. For example, the rise of CBD shops in town centres.

@Nahim good point. I've heard that the regulations are tightening significantly, which can only be a good thing

Businesses need to submit, and have fully validated, novel food authorisation applications by 31 March 2021. After this date, only products for which the FSA has a valid application and were on the market at the time of our announcement on CBD (13 February 2020) will be allowed to remain on the market.

During a recent blind test of CBD products on the market, over a third had illegal levels of THC, one had zero CBD in it and another could've been classified as an alcoholic beverage.

Advice for retailers/pharmacists is currently available via the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry...

  • Regulatory Framework – make sure CBD companies are not misleading you about their CBD products.

  • Controlled Substances – ensure you do not fall foul of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

  • Food Safety – avoid food scare scandals.

That's really useful information, thanks Rob