MHRA gives notice on CBD regulation
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) of the United Kingdom has issued letters to CBD manufacturers and retailers that the substance will be classified as a medicine. For manufacturers, the CBD ban means that any future products they produce must be approved by the MHRA. Retailers have been given 28 days to clear current inventory, after which they’ll only be able to sell MHRA-approved products. The letters are dated as early as October 4, 2016.
CBD ban first, regulation to follow
The CBD ban and regulation will make the manufacturing of products more expensive and more difficult for companies that want their goods sold in the UK. Companies will be required to get MHRA approval for cannabidiol products in the near future. While that process will certainly add to their costs, companies with large stock will also have to pay for repackaging and relabeling if their products are approved. If not, they’ll have to be exported or destroyed.
We have come to the opinion that products containing cannabidiol (CBD) used for medical purposes are a medicine. Medicinal products must have a product licence (marketing authorisation) before they can be legally sold, supplied or advertised in the UK, unless exempt. Licensed medicinal products have to meet safety, quality and efficacy standards to protect public health.
On the positive side, consumers will potentially have more protection when the CBD regulations and approval process go into effect. The best case scenario is that CBD users in the UK can be assured that the products they buy aren’t snake oil. Of course the worst case scenario is that the cost for a product license (marketing authorization) will be too much for UK CBD companies to bear. Time will tell as the CBD ban becomes CBD regulation.
Longterm hope, short term concern
On the advocacy side, the reaction has been mixed. Professor Mike Barnes, neurologist, scientific and medical advisor to CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform is hopeful for the longterm prospects of cannabidiol in the UK, but concerned about the short term CBD ban.
It is encouraging that the MHRA is recognizing that CBD has medicinal value, but it is concerning that many people benefitting from CBD now will suffer in the shorter term, as good quality manufacturers have to stop production, pending MHRA approval.
While there are certainly people in the UK that use CBD to improve the quality of their life, there are also shady companies that sell products that are low quality or have negligible amounts of cannabidiol. Perhaps I’m being naive, but it appears that the MHRA made a fairly reasonable choice. While it starts regulating CBD products in the UK, customers have a short time to stock up on products while it’s all sorted out. Hopefully for people that rely on CBD, the MHRA approval process is handled quickly.