The Future of CBD in the UK

According to a recent report by the UK’s Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, approximately 6 million people in the UK have tried CBD, and 11% of the population have consumed a CBD product in the last year. The report also found that the CBD market is among the fastest-growing well-being product industries and if it continues to grow at the same rate could be worth almost £5 billion by 2025, which is the same size as the UK’s entire health supplement market. Sales of CBD already outpace those of vitamin C at £301 million compared to £119 million, which gives a clear indication of how swiftly CBD products are moving into the mainstream.

However, the CBD industry is currently facing challenges due to regulatory uncertainty. The industry faced criticism when it was discovered that over half of the most high-profile CBD oils didn’t contain the amount of CBD it claimed to have on the label. In February 2020, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) unveiled plans to better regulate the industry. The Centre for Medical Cannabis report found that one of the most important factors customers cited when choosing a CBD product was that it was made by a supplier that met quality standards. If the CBD industry wants to grow, consumer confidence is clearly very important.

How Will New Regulations Change the CBD Industry?

There has been some confusion over the current regulations for CBD products. Cannabis is listed as a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act in the UK, but CBD is not listed as a controlled substance under this act. This has led to some people believing they can grow their own cannabis or hemp, but this is not correct and regulations around the cultivation of hemp are strict:

  • CBD producers must receive a licence from the UK Home Office to do so
  • To sell CBD oil you must be a licensed medical distributor or sell the product as a nutritional supplement
  • CBD products must be properly labelled in accordance with The Food Supplements Regulations 2003
  • CBD cosmetics must have a Cosmetic Product Safety Report (CPSR)
  • CBD vape products must comply with non-nicotine e-liquid regulations.

In February 20202 the FSA unveiled plans to further regulate the industry by requiring new CBD food and food supplements to require a Novel Food application. By March 31st 2021, all CBD companies selling CBD food must have submitted an application, or their products will be withdrawn from the market. CBD foods that come under these regulations include:

  • CBD oils, capsules and oral sprays
  • CBD infused coffee, tea, alcohol and soft drinks
  • CBD gummies, mints and other confectionery
  • CBD snacks including energy bars

Emily Miles, Chief Executive of the Food Standards Agency, said of the regulations: “The actions that we’re taking are a pragmatic and proportionate step in balancing the protection of public health with consumer choice. It’s now up to the industry to supply this information so that the public can be reassured that CBD is safe and what it says it is.”

The application is likely to be an expensive and time consuming process, so CBD companies need to make sure they have the necessary resources and expertise to meet the deadline.

What New CBD Products Can We Expect?

As CBD moves from being a fringe product to being a mainstream well being product, CBD companies are launching more and more innovative new items. What might we expect to see hitting the shelves in the near future?

CBD Make-Up

The UK beauty industry is a huge market, generating around £30 billion a year. CBD companies have already started to tap into this lucrative market, with plenty of CBD skincare products already being available. Recently, CBD make-up has started to appear, with mascara, lipstick and even eyebrow serum all making their way onto the shelves. Innovative CBD companies will begin producing more make-up in the hopes of having a big slice of the cosmetics industry pie.

CBD Tampons

Another under the radar product that is guaranteed to gain in popularity is CBD tampons. The UK’s first clinically validated range was launched early in 2020, offering women who suffer from painful periods a natural alternative to taking analgesic medication. The CBD contained within the tampons reduces inflammation and, in turn, period pains. Though there are currently only one or two companies selling CBD tampons, it’s likely you’ll see them on the shelves of your local chemist or supermarket very soon.

CBD Candles

The UK’s candle economy is worth £1.9 billion so it’s no wonder CBD companies are tapping into this ever expanding market. Candles and CBD are natural bedfellows due to their association with wellness and well being, and various different brands are starting to appear. Cannabis candles are infused with CBD oil, which diffuses throughout a room when the candle is burned, offering gentle mood-elevating effects. They are usually designed to smell pleasant and fragrant, so you don’t have to worry about your house smelling of cannabis.

CBD Probiotics

Probiotics help to balance the friendly bacteria in your digestive system. Having an unhealthy balance in your gut has been linked to digestive issues, allergies, obesity, mental health problems and other issues, which probiotics can help to correct. CBD oil has also been found to have benefits to gut health, and is known to help with bloating and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Products are becoming available that combine the two, potentially offering huge benefits for your gut and therefore your overall health.

Conclusion

The CBD industry is maturing and going through the growing pains associated with regulation. Though this may be difficult in the short term, it’s a sign of how successful and well established the industry has become. With so many new products in the pipeline, the future looks very bright for CBD in the UK.

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