Cannabidiol Concerns Reach the UK

At this point, the FSA has established rules against health claims on supplements, including CBD, while leaving ingredients and CBD quantity unregulated. The UK has recently allowed for the sale of non-medicated CBD to the general public. This short period has already brought on an impressive boom in sells and popularity of the products.
Written by 
Trista Best, Registered Dietitian.
|Last Updated:

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is the United Kingdom’s version of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. Their most prominent slogan is to use their, “expertise and influence so that people can trust that the food they buy and eat is safe and what it says it is.” Much like the FDA the FSA has made statements regarding CBD use and safety, without much regulation.

What is Behind the Change?

As the CBD industry grows in the UK, pharmacists are taking note of its use and popularity, even limited research regarding the safety and efficacy of CBD products. They are beginning to stock their shelves with popular CBD products, but understandably, want more strict regulations to ensure they are providing their customers and patients with safe and effective products.

With the growth of any industry, there will arise manufacturers who are less concerned with developing a good product as making a profit. This has happened in the CBD industry, which makes regulations all the more necessary.

What is Now Required By the FSA?

The type of growth has gotten the attention of the FSA and the National Pharmacy Association. According to the BBC, manufacturer sells have reached £300m. Their concerns are geared towards CBD products giving their consumers clearer information and ensuring ingredient and formulation content safety.

Pharmacists would like more in-depth guidance for both consumers and healthcare professionals to make informed decisions when integrating CBD.

The FSA will require manufacturers to provide specifics based on scientific research regarding ingredients, manufacturing practices, purity levels, and details regarding consuming the product safely. This information will protect both the consumer and manufacturer as well as giving pharmacists the ability to make informed decisions on stocking their shelves with particular products.

Unlike supplements and the FDA, the FSA does regulate food supplements. Under the new FSA regulation, CBD will be classified as a novel food product. Manufacturers are given a grace period which allows them to be sold to the public before having to meet specific guidelines. However, FSA has stepped up and is requiring more specifics from manufacturers regarding their CBD products.

Are The New Rules Working?

The new regulations are still young in their enforcement, but the FSA has been requesting certain information from all CBD manufacturers. The FSA informed BBC that they have yet to receive all the sufficient information that has been requested in order to give them the full authority to sell to the public.

These rules have made some positive impacts with the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry(ACI). The ACI is a new group which represents 20+ CBD brands giving them support and resources to produce safe, legal, and sustainable CBD products. They recently released a statement to the BBC that their members are “…committed to achieving novel foods status via the Food Standards Agency.”

What Does the Future Hold?

This sort of transparency is necessary in all nations where CBD is sold to the public. It is hopeful that the FSA and pharmacist’s stance in the UK will encourage the FDA and governing agencies in America to place better standards on CBD products being sold to the general public.

Regulations of this nature are not meant to be restrictive, but to provide consumers’ confidence that the products they are purchasing will do what they claim and bring stability and longevity to the industry.


Trista Best
Trista Best
Registered Dietitian
Trista Best is a Registered Dietitian, Public Health Dietitian, and former college Nutrition Professor. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Health Science from Armstrong Atlantic State University in 2009, Masters of Public Health Nutrition from Liberty University in 2014, and Bachelors of Science in Food and Environmental Sciences from the University of Alabama in 2018. Her dietetic background is in Public Health, Medical Grade Supplements, and Childhood Nutrition.

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