According to the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance and Canadian Health Food Association, if the federal rules around CBD (cannabidiol) don't change, Canada's supplement makers, farmers, and food manufacturers will miss out on the latest health and beauty craze to hit North America.
A whitepaper jointly released by the two organizations on May 8th, 2019 calls on the federal government to remove CBD from the list of prescription drugs and reclassify it as an NHP (natural health product).
In Canada, CBD, which is a non-intoxicating cousin of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is currently being treated in the same way as marijuana products. It's sold legally with a prescription through the medical marijuana system, and since October 17, as a recreational product through licensed cannabis dispensaries.
The confusion created by legalizing recreational cannabis in this way has paved the way for a thriving black market with regards to unregulated CBD.
CBD reform advocates want to see the substance treated like Omega-3 fatty acids or Vitamin D: produced under Canadian NHP regulations and sold in the country's health food stores.
According to Ted Haney, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance executive director, only allowing products to be sold in the medical marijuana and other provincially regulated retail channels (which are use restricted and age-restricted) really narrows the product's demand base.
Where farmers previously grew hemp only for its seeds, fibres, and oils, leaving the CBD-rich flowers to rot in the fields, now they are allowed to harvest them to sell to licensed cannabis producers who then extract CBD. A larger portion of the hemp crop is expected to be harvested for extracting CBD, but this figure largely depends on creating a domestic CBD market.
Alongside the farmers, Canadian health food manufacturers and supplement makers are extremely eager to liberalize CBD sales, since this product has become a trendy additive in all kinds of things from cosmetics to dietary supplements.
According to Ms. Helen Long, Canadian Health Food Association President, those who aren't able to access CBD through natural-health-product pathways are forced to take the black market path. She went on to state that many Canadians are already buying these products from the US online, whereas that business should be growing in Canada.
This push from the industry groups to remove CBD from the Canadian prescription drug list comes ahead of new cannabis regulations that are expected to be released in the fall to permit cannabis-infused edibles, topicals, and concentrates.
Food manufacturers, in particular, are eager to see CBD-infused foodstuff considered as ‘supplemental foods' - a separate, but related category to NHPs which would allow wider distribution in health-food stores.