Regulatory pathway for the use of CBD in non-prescription health products?

Consultations are underway as science-based evidence is sought from stakeholders and the general public

By Sean Tarry

July 28, 2022, may not yet seem like a very important date. However, allowing for the passing of some time, it will continue to gain significance. On that mid-summer’s day, the Canadian federal government announced its decision to commence consultations and elicit stakeholder insights and feedback in order to begin developing a consensus concerning the creation of a regulatory pathway to permit the use of cannabidiol (CBD) in products.

The government’s decision arrives on the heels of a Report of the Science Advisory Committee on Health Products Containing Cannabis, which highlighted a number of research-driven recommendations meant to guide and inform Health Canada on this issue, facilitating the development of regulations that would permit the sale of non-prescription CBD products in certain over the counter settings.

Significant impact?
It’s a move that could very well pose far-reaching ramifications for those involved in the Canadian health food industry, including its manufacturers, purveyors, and consumers, substantially changing its landscape and future trajectory. However, Health Canada is quick to point out that there have not yet been any decisions made concerning the issue beyond that of commencing consultation with stakeholders.

“Health Canada is exploring a potential framework for non-prescription health products containing CBD,” reads a statement from Health Canada. “The Committee’s final report is one of many sources of input that Health Canada is considering as it continues to develop a potential framework for these types of products, including feedback from interested stakeholders and the public. The Department has not approved any non-prescription health products containing CBD and has not made any decisions pertaining to the Committee’s advice, including the Committee’s recommended doses for potential products.”

Booming market
According to a report recently developed and published by Data Bridge Market Research, the world’s CBD market is expected to rise significantly over the next half decade, showing a potential growth rate of an astounding 27.8% by 2029. It’s certainly an impressive rate of growth for an industry that has yet to even be given the opportunity to blossom in North America. However, given the regulated oversight that the product receives throughout most of Europe, as well as in other countries around the world, its popularity is noticeably gaining. And with good reason.

In addition to offering a prognostication concerning future growth of the CBD market, the report also provides analyses of the potential drivers influencing its rapid rise. Among them, the report suggests that advancements in technology related to state-of-the-art CBD drug treatments and a broader recognition within the healthcare sector of the range of possible benefits that CBD presents is helping to enhance awareness around, and interest in, the product.

In addition, an increased focus among many people around the world paid toward their own health and fitness, as well as the well-being of family members and loved ones, is also creating a positive impact for the product.

What’s next?
With respect to next steps, government is currently seeking updated information on the types of health products containing CBD for which industry may wish to manufacture and market, and consumers may wish to purchase and use, should a legal pathway for these products be established. This can include the types of products, the intended uses, formats, dosages and any other considerations regarding the potential market for such products.

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