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CBD challenge

With so much hype around CBD products, a battle over who gets to sell them is brewing

Shutterstock/ElRoiShutterstock/ElRoi

It would be natural for Canadians to be able to legally purchase cannabidiol (CBD) products in natural health food stores and grocery stores, says Helen Long, president of the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA). But that won’t be happening under current Health Canada regulations that will limit their sales to provincially-licensed recreational cannabis retailers.

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CBD, a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis, “does not give users a high” and is associated with a number of promising health benefits, minimal side effects and no apparent potential for abuse, Long says. A growing body of literature touts the therapeutic benefits of CBD in reducing stress, pain, inflammation and improving sleep, she says. (Although some say more research is needed to back all the claims being made about CBD.) “Since there is nothing recreational about CBD, it doesn’t make sense to only sell it at a recreational cannabis store.”

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Long says CBD should be regulated under Natural Health Products Regulations, and her organization recently launched a “CBD is Natural” campaign to mobilize Canadians to push the Feds to update the CBD rules.

Opening up the CBD market to others outside of licensed cannabis retailers would improve access to the products, and would also create an incentive for businesses to provide evidence that substantiates the products’ therapeutic health claims.

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Some Canadians, however, are opting to purchase unregulated CBD products online. “If CBD was permitted as an ingredient in natural health products, it would allow Health Canada to protect the health and safety of Canadians while dispelling the illegal market and allowing Canadian industry to thrive,” she says.

This article appeared in Canadian Grocer’September/October issue.

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