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Will new ACMD THC recommendations impact FSA CBD list?

Products that appear on the list exceed new THC level recommendations from ACMD.

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Will new ACMD THC recommendations impact FSA CBD list?
Home » News » CBD » Will new ACMD THC recommendations impact FSA CBD list?

Industry experts have raised questions about the credibility of the FSA Novel Food list after a number of featured CBD products appear to have levels of THC above recommended limits.

The new Food Standards Agency (FSA) list features CBD products linked to what it describes as “credible” applications. These products may remain on sale in the UK as they pass through the next phase of the process, whilst those not on the list must be removed from shelves.

Featuring more than 3,500 ingestible CBD products, the list applications will now move into the risk assessment stage before final authorisation as a safe product for human consumption.

In December 2021, a report from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) outlined its recommendations to the UK Government on establishing guidelines for the CBD industry. The report suggested that the dose of each controlled phytocannabinoid ‘should not exceed 50 micrograms per unit of consumption’. 

Previously, the limit was set at 0.2 or 0.3 per cent of THC per serving of CBD. The FSA has recommended consumers have a maximum daily limit 70mg per day of CBD.

Read more: ACMD releases new advice on THC levels in consumer CBD products

Kyle Esplin of the Scottish Hemp Association and member of the Cannabis Industry Council has pointed out that the Novel Foods authorisation process was triggered by reports of CBD products containing four times the recommended amount of THC. Esplin states that the FSA has not followed its own criteria after CBD food products have appeared the list with well above the FSA’s criteria and the ACMD’s recommendations. 

In a comment to Cannabis Wealth, Esplin commented: “The novel foods update highlights that in addition to being a massive waste of time and money, the process now lacks any credibility. 

“The FSA have not even followed their own criteria for submissions, and while many products on the list may be removed before the end of the process, we aim to overturn the entire novel foods requirement for hemp based products before it comes to that. 

“Here in Scotland, the FSA list does not apply anyway and will not be referenced. We are continuing our negotiations with Food Standards Scotland to facilitate the growth of a domestic industry, one where whole plant hemp extracts are treated like any other Hemp food supplement. 

“The FSA has also been slack on labelling specifics, for example if a product is made from two isolates with added terpenes it should not be called ‘full spectrum’. In Scotland we want a more comprehensive labelling requirement so that consumers can make an informed choice. If a product contains synthetically produced CBD, then the consumer should be informed of this. 

“The FSA has accepted products onto the list that contain more than 200mg THC per container. Considering the negative headlines that the industry received about the average 4mg THC per product found in the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis’s (CMC) blind trials leading to calls for tighter regulation, either the 1mg THC limit no longer applies, or the FSA is not fit to conduct its own process.

“While I expected the Novel Foods process to be a disaster for the hemp industry, I didn’t expect it to be so erratic and listing products with an even higher THC content than has been reported prior.”

In a personal blog, he stated: “…you can imagine my surprise to scan through the updated Novel Foods list (which is only valid for England and Wales) and find there are products listed with over 200mg THC in a single consumer product…

“So, 50x more THC than the newspapers headlines which led to the CBD industry getting a negative reputation about THC content and the need for stricter regulation…”

Responding to Cannabis Wealth, the FSA stated: “The ACMD recommendations are proposals and do not have a legal basis. We are monitoring developments on this. 

“Unless and until any legislation on exemption levels is in place we will continue to act by removing products from the list if the Police take action against them on the basis of them being a narcotic and therefore not a food. Concerns whether a CBD product is a narcotic should be raised with the relevant Police force.”

Read more: Mixed response from CBD industry to publication of FSA product list

Dr Parveen Bhatarah, director of regulatory and compliance unit at the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry Association of the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI), who has worked closely with the ACMD on its THC recommendations, told Cannabis Wealth: “The application/products appeared on FSA’s published list have not been through the Risk Assessment stage of the novel food application process yet. Therefore, the impact of the ACMD’s recommendations is not relevant here. In addtion, ACMD’s recommendations are just guidance at present.

“All the Novel Food applications submitted to the FSA should contain the sufficient data to prove that their products meet the UK’s current regulatory limits for the psychoactive phytocannabinoids, along with the validated methodology to support the results as per their CoA (certificate of analysis). 

“Therefore, risk of exceeding the ACMD’s recommendations are very low. However, this  can only be evaluated once applications have been through the Risk Assessment process.”

The process has already been described as a “monumental waste of time and money” given the World Health Organization (WHO) has already decided that CBD is safe. However, others believe the moment is a milestone for the industry that will now have the certainty it needs for innovation and investment. 

Professor Mike Barnes, founder of the Cannabis Industry Council, commented: “This whole thing is a mess as the Novel Foods process does not impact on the legality of the products which are still subject to the 1mg per container rule. This whole thing is a total incomprehensible mess.”

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Tenacious Labs acquires CBD pet company Rover’s Wellness 

The acquisition is part of Tenacious Labs buy-and-build strategy.

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Tenacious Labs acquires CBD pet company Rover’s Wellness 
Home » News » CBD » Will new ACMD THC recommendations impact FSA CBD list?

Tenacious Labs has diversified into the pet care market with the acquisition of Rover’s Wellness, which specialises in THC-free CBD.

Tenacious Labs has stated that the acquisition of Rover’s Wellness represents an important milestone in its strategy to become a leading consumer products group globally.

The acquisition sees the group diversify into the high-growth pet care market for the first time. CBD pet care, according to Prohibition Partners, is expected to see global sales of products reach $424.4m (~£350.83) by 2024, representing a CAGR of 18.6 per cent.

Read more: Tenacious Labs to move headquarters to Jersey

As part of the acquisition, RaChelle Baca-Lobre will join Tenacious Labs as global director of sales – pet division and CPG wholesale and private label. Tenacious has stated that Baca-Lobre’s personal passion for CBD-enriched pet care, as well as her experience in managing a fast-growing brand, will prove invaluable for the Group as it looks to scale up its pet care division over the coming months.

Read more: Tenacious Labs CEO discusses its acquisition of Press Pause

 CEO and co-founder of Tenacious Labs, Nicholas Morland, commented: “We are delighted to welcome RaChelle and her team to Tenacious Labs. 

“Since launching in 2018, Rover’s Wellness has grown rapidly, launching genuinely market-leading products which have been well received by customers across the US. This acquisition will enable us to kick-start our pet care division, while combining RaChelle’s expertise and Tenacious Labs’ high quality manufacturing capabilities to significantly scale up Rover’s Wellness. 

“We look forward to working with her closely over the coming months and years.

Tennessee-based Rover’s Wellness creates high quality products containing all natural, non-GMO ingredients including 100 per cent certified organically grown hemp. The company was founded by Baca-Lobre in 2018 after her own pet was diagnosed with cancer. Rover’s Wellness offers a range of oils, topical salves and treats which use CBD to support joint flexibility and mobility, ease anxiety and promote positive long-term health for dogs, cats and equine.

A core part of the brand’s approach is its commitment to testing and transparency. Leveraging a “seed to sale” approach, Rover’s Wellness works directly with growers and uses state-of-the-art nano technology to extract CBD before purity testing. 

Each batch is tested by a certified industrial hemp laboratory, both before and after production, with all lab-results published on its website. This process ensures that none of Rover’s Wellness products contain THC – the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis which is harmful to animals.

Baca-Lobre said: “I am excited to join Tenacious Labs, a group which reflects my desire to create safe, natural and quality products, underpinned by third-party laboratory testing. 

“We have enjoyed great success to date, and I believe that by harnessing Tenacious Labs’ best-in-class manufacturing facilities, marketing expertise, and operational support, we can unlock more exciting growth opportunities for Rover’s Wellness and the group’s broader pet care division.”

Tenacious Labs has now completed three acquisitions since launching 12 months ago, including female-focused CBD brand Press Pause and high-quality white-label manufacturer SZM LLC — now operating as TL Manufacturing. The group has also continued to expand, now employing 35 people around the world as it looks to scale up.

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SEED Innovations ramps up investment in South West Brands

The company has now invested a total of £500,000 in South West Brands.

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SEED Innovations ramps up investment in South West Brands
Home » News » CBD » Will new ACMD THC recommendations impact FSA CBD list?

SEED Innovations has invested a further £50,000 in CBD company South West Brands Limited.

The investment by SEED Innovations has been made as part of a funding round by London-based South West Brands to raise up to £1m. 

Focusing on making investments in the medical cannabis, health and wellness spaces, Guernsey-based SEED Innovations made its last investment in South West Brands of £150,000 in 2021, bringing its toady investment in South West Brands to £450,000.

Read more: All female-led South West Brands to list on London Stock Exchange

South West Brands, which recently saw its Botanic Lab drinks and supplements added to the UK Food Standard Agency list of CBD products permitted to stay on sale in England and Wales, has recently had two of its products listed in major UK retailers. 

Its LoveMeMeMe brand is now stocked in Asos and its FEWE brand will be stocked in Superdrug from September.

CEO of SEED, Ed McDermott, commented: “We have seen some considerable progress made by the team at South West Brands over recent weeks with the launch of their two brands for sale in to Superdrug stores and online at ASOS. 

“The products have received a fantastic reception by consumers in what is fast becoming a burgeoning FemTech sector where South West Brands are leading the charge.

“Generating early revenues, with the products now increasingly available, we anticipate seeing a fast uptick in wholesale sales which will further lead to additional product development and hopefully support for the products availability outside of the UK.

“We are pleased to continue to support Rebekah Hall and her team as they build a credible, sustainable and scalable wellness business developing and commercialising their brands.”

CEO of South West Brands, Rebekah Hall, said: “The progress SWB has made in the short time since launch is just the beginning of where we believe our brands can reach. In particular, we are at an exciting juncture in the provision of female wellness solutions with increased awareness infiltrating mainstream audiences and building commercial traction with mainstream retailers. 

“With further funding in place, including the support from SEED, we look ahead to continued growth in the UK as well as commercial opportunities in other markets, including the US. “

The investment is by way of a three year, 8 per cent Convertible Loan Note (CLN), and SEED has agreed to convert £50,000 of the 12 month, 8 per cent CLN subscribed for in July 2021 into this three year, 8 per cent CLN.

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B3 Labs discusses the future of the consumer cannabis industry

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B3 Labs discusses the future of the consumer cannabis industry
B3 Labs CEO Marc Burbidge delves into Novel Foods, the future of CBD products and innovation in the sector.
Home » News » CBD » Will new ACMD THC recommendations impact FSA CBD list?

CEO of UK-based B3 Labs, Marc Burbidge, speaks to Cannabis Wealth about the UK’s Novel Foods process and shares his outlook for the future of the consumer cannabis industry.

B3 Labs recently had 525 of its products included on the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) CBD Novel Foods list.

The country’s move to be one of the first in the world with a regulated CBD market has seen companies wishing to sell their CBD products having to submit Novel Foods applications to ensure all products that go on sale are safe for human consumption. 

Read more: Marc Burbidge on entering the CBD industry and predictions for 2022

B3 Labs has described the publication of the list as a landmark moment for the UK cannabis market, providing greater transparency and assurance over CBD products for both consumers and retailers.

B3 was founded by ex-Asda store manager Marc Burbidge, who left over 15 years of experience in the traditional FMCG sector to move to the fast-growing cannabis market. Marc set up B3 after suffering from severe shoulder pain and realising the side effects that came from taking traditional pain medication. 

Read more: B3 Labs receives Novel Foods accreditation

Since founding B3, which is currently based in Manchester, Burbidge has turned the business into Europe’s leading CBD manufacturer and the first of its kind to become BRCGS certified, producing a range of white-labelled CBD oils and gummies and driving change in the market by providing consumers and brands with greater assurance and transparency over the safety, transparency and quality of its CBD products.

Novel Foods in the UK

Burbidge says that the UK’s Novel Foods process is a major positive step for the industry as a whole, giving more confidence to retailers to open up conversations with companies. 

“As more and more data comes to pass moving over to the validation phase, this is only going to legitimise CBD as a product,” said Burbidge. “We’re seeing more and more adoption from consumers all around the world as it is now.”

Whilst consumers have been quick to take up CBD, said Burbidge, retailers have fallen behind and will now have to keep up with regulatory changes.

“I really sympathise with the regulators for what they’ve had to go through over the last year. Novel Foods as a process is very much ingredient-led, as opposed to finished product-led, and the UK has taken more of an approach of a finished product-led way of working, which has obviously created a number of challenges for brands. 

B3 Labs discusses the future of the consumer cannabis industry

“At the same time, those challenges – overcoming them, getting the list out there, seeing the number of products and brands that are now able to really push forward in terms of their plans – it’s a fantastic thing.”

This development has been positive for B3 Labs, Burbidge highlighted, which is the first CBD company in Europe to gain a BRCGS certification for finished products.

Burbidge commented: “We see novel foods as a regulatory hurdle that everybody needs to go through. It means an awful lot to get through that hurdle, especially the first stage, but there’s still a long way to go. Currently, it’s ultimately it’s a list – there’s no validation or authorization yet.

“For us, we focus on product safety and product quality. Hopefully, in the future, we’ll see more of a cannabis-related certification for everybody that won’t just encompass food but also the vape industry and the cosmetics industry, for example.

“Novel Foods really did change the mindset of people to legitimise CBD and that’s always been my mission – the legitimisation of CBD and cannabis as a widely consumed product. By having something like Novel Foods, by having a food certification and by businesses having to reach those quality standards, people believe in the product a lot more, whether it be the retailer or the consumer. 

“Everybody talks about vertical integration in cannabis but vertical integration of regulatory steps and compliance in cannabis is equally as important.”

The future of the industry

The rise of the cannabis and CBD industry is harkening back to the days of herbal medicine, said Burbidge, who has been studying herbal medicine for many years. 

However, Burbidge highlights that for the industry to progress, innovation is a key element, and Novel Foods may play a part in hampering this innovation.

“We’ve seen a tincture market has grown out of CBD, oil-based tinctures. It’s going back to making herbal medicine products and using dropper bottles in the early 1900s, which is great,” said Burbidge. “It’s really good to see that unique application from coming back and you’re seeing it more and more with other kinds of herbal wellness products that are coming out. 

“We are seeing less innovation now because of Novel Foods because of what we are and aren’t allowed to do in terms of bringing new finished products onto the market. I think once we reach validation, and ultimately authorization of products, the product categories will begin to change more.”

The market will move more towards products that are familiar to people such as tablets, lozenges and slow-release formulas, said Burbidge, with a focus on aspects such as bioavailability.   

“Drinks have been a major growth sector, tinctures are another major growth sector and the biggest growth sector has probably been gummies as it is easy for people to use these.

“We need to get to full authorization of products before we can really start innovating new exciting products. But I do see that’s where it’ll eventually go.”

Whilst the UK has been very slow to adopt both medical and recreational cannabis, Burbidge says that as more patients find the benefit of using medicinal cannabis there will be more discussion around the benefits of CBD.

“I think we’re seeing more and more people – whether they’re taking certain pain relief medications that might be more addictive or costly – getting cannabis privately prescribed,” said Burbidge. “I think you’ll see people looking to get more medical products and this is similar to Novel Foods regarding generating data.”

Pointing to more mature medical and recreational markets such as Canada and Israel, Burbidge notes that the benefits of cannabis are becoming more evident through the reduction in the use of medications such as morphine. 

“People seem to be getting more quality of life based on just the verbal data,” said Burbidge. “And it’s really good to see as far as recreational is concerned. I don’t think that’s anything close to an agenda point as yet for a discussion, but once the safety of cannabis is more established, and it’s used more as a medicinal product, I think I think we might get there.”

The future of B3 Labs: an engine room of innovation

B3 Labs has been focusing on compliance through the Novel Foods process, but the lab will be an “engine room of innovation”, said Burbidge, and the company will be focusing on areas outside of CBD as interest in herbal medicine rises.

“The reason that B3 was created was all around innovation. We’re looking at building partnerships with equally as compliant manufacturers as ourselves to widen our brand’s portfolios, building a wide network of companies that we can work with to develop and create amazing products for the future and eventually build an engine room of innovation with wonderful ideas, ways of working, methodologies and applications of products.

 B3 Labs discusses the future of the consumer cannabis industry

“CBD and cannabis are, and have always been, a huge part of my life. But there are so many other compounds that are out there which provide benefits to people. We’ve seen a huge rise in awareness of medicinal mushrooms, and there are so many plant extracts whether you look at Vedic medicine, Chinese medicine, African health.

“People looking at the nutrition and people are changing their diets. There is a realisation from people that good health is a combination of how you eat, how you sleep, how you live your life, how much stress you have, and then, having the right herbs and vitamins around that give you the most benefit. 

“That’s where I see B3 focusing more and more on that rounded wellness for people – being able to support them with that and tying that in with innovation.”

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