Cannabidiol and Cannabinoids now clearly considered as Novel Food

The Novel food Catalogue entries for Cannabis sativa L. and Cannabidiol / Cannabinoids have been updated in January 2019 and now indicate that :

  • “Some products derived from the Cannabis sativa plant or plant parts such as seeds, seed oil, hemp seed flour, defatted hemp seed have a history of consumption in the EU and therefore, are not novel. Other specific national legislation may restrict the placing on the market of this product as a food or food ingredient in some Member States.” Only ingredients derived from hemp seed are now cited as having a history of consumption in the EU.
  • “Extracts of Cannabis sativa L. and derived products containing cannabinoids are considered novel foods as a history of consumption has not been demonstrated. This applies to both the extracts themselves and any products to which they are added as an ingredient (such as hemp seed oil). This also applies to extracts of other plants containing cannabinoids. Synthetically obtained cannabinoids are considered as novel.”

This modification clarifies that the European Authorities consider that it is forbidden to market food or food supplements containing cannabidiol in all the European Union (considered as novel according to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283). For information a novel food application for trans-cannabidiol (for a use in food supplements) is under assessment by EFSA and the opinion is expected to be published in March 2019.

For example in UK where some cannabidiol products were already marketed because of an unclear legal context, it is now indicated on the website of the FSA: There has been a recent change to the EU Novel Food Catalogue which affects some cannabidiol (CBD) products. Food businesses have not been able to show there was a significant history of consumption of these products in food and food supplements prior to May 1997 in the EU. The FSA are considering the way forward in light of this clarification at EU level (meeting with relevant industry representative bodies, local authorities and other stakeholders to clarify how to achieve compliance in the marketplace in a proportionate manner).