CBDiablo Responds To CBD Consumer Advice From Food Standards Agency (FSA)
Over the years of working with CBD, we can never be too sure that the sands will move beneath our feet. Before we directly respond to the FSA’s new updated advice, we’d like to supply some context.
Our industry, and the supplements we sell, have always been under scrutiny and we have regularly encountered barriers; our bank accounts have been cancelled, we are regularly stopped from accessing services (social media accounts, email marketing platforms, and payment gateways) and constantly changing guidance from the FSA. There have also always been two camps in our industry; corporate interests and grassroots advocates for cannabis-based medicines. Each with a different perspective on how best to utilise the potential for cannabinoids.
Millions of pounds (and dollars in the USA) have been poured into the research and development of cannabinoid-based therapeutics and in the UK there are many medical companies set to launch medical cannabinoid products off the back of this research. There is no doubt, that cannabis-based medicines have a very promising future.
In the UK, the industry is split in two: the medical cannabinoid industry (which contains high doses of cannabinoids, including THC to treat conditions, most notably epilepsy) and the well-being ‘food supplement‘ industry (lower doses designed for well-being purposes, and not backed by enough research to make *medical claims). We exist in the latter of the two.
Over the last two years, we have been subject to a ‘novel food’ process which understands whether a ‘novel’ (new) food substance is safe to eat in the long term – it is also a way to regulate an industry from a governmental point of view and ensure that the food supplements being sold are ‘safe’.
It is also safe to say that the FSA’s novel food process has not been without controversy within the industry.
The grassroots advocates for cannabinoid-based medicines have suggested that there are corporate (big pharma) interests at play, and they are lobbying the government and putting government apparatus to work in order to curtail the cottage ‘well-being’ industry. The purpose of this is to ringfence ‘effective whole plant extracts’ and profit from them as ‘medicines’ which require a license (granted by the government) to sell.
Many actors suggest that there is a fundamental lack of understanding of the products, and others go further with their accusations and suggest that the FSA is subject to a powerful lobby; therefore, restricting the ‘well-being’ industry to the less effective isolate CBD extracts.
The counterargument is that cannabinoids are not fully understood and they need to be regulated and standardised so they can be used to treat patients effectively. This requires a huge body of research and products created to certain specifications.
Unfortunately, the situation being the scenes is increasingly complex and political. We know that during the novel food process, studies have shown the bioaccumulation of ‘Isolated CBD‘ in the liver. There are studies into full spectrum whole plant extract which display differing results.
The cannabinoid industry is increasingly complex and fast-moving, so it is understandable that consumers are not aware of the full context of ongoing studies, regulation and compliance, and warring factions with vested interests.
We understand that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are now recommending a daily limit of 10mg of Cannabidiol (CBD) for adults influenced by potential risk factors. Our thoughts are that the current update is that it is ‘advice‘, and therefore, there will not be an immediate change in any of the supplements that we supply. We are, however, taking this very seriously as we wish to put our customer’s health and well-being first.
It is worth noting that the study which led to the updated guidance uses a study looking at the impact of ‘ 98% Isolate CBD‘, with no context of studies looking at the impact of broad-spectrum distillates or whole plant extracts which are very different to a single-molecule substance. Thankfully, most of our products are still using full-spectrum whole-plant extracts and broad-spectrum distillates. The products affected by this guidance are our CBD gummies, CBD Capsules and liposomal Cthulhu.
The study shows that while there is bioaccumulation, the toxicity does not come from the CBD, but from contamination of the extract within the study. To create an Isolated CBD requires significantly more processing which leaves room for contamination of the extract itself. This is not the case for cold-pressed or raw hemp extracts.
This is not helpful for us as a seller of CBD and does not help us understand how we can innovate to better serve consumers. This advice does not help us protect our customers, nor does it help customers make informed decisions about the supplements they take.
It has also been a very strange situation to watch the way this advice has been misrepresented in the media to spark fear and concern for CBD products in general. It is certainly an unfair narrative and does not reflect the reality of ongoing studies and warring vested interests; the situation surrounding cannabinoids is significantly more complex than it has been represented in the media.
We will continue to keep an eye on any updates and try to adapt to best serve those who are important; the people who get so much benefit from our Cannabinoid supplements.