Safety evaluation of cannabidiol (CBD) in food supplement suspended
Given the numerous questions regarding the use of cannabidiol (CBD) in foods and in particular in food supplements, EFSA has published the statement on the safety of cannabidiol (CBD), in which it states that its safety of use, as a novel food, cannot be demonstrated due to the lack of available data.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a substance that can be obtained and chemically synthesized from Cannabis Sativa L. plants.
In the pharmacological field, CBD has been approved for use as a drug to treat certain forms of epilepsy that do not respond to standard drug treatments. In this context, adverse effects are tolerated since the benefits from its use outweigh its adverse effects. However, adverse effects resulting, on the other hand, from its use in food supplements or foods are not tolerated.
The European Commission considers that cannabidiol (CBD) qualifies as a novel food under European legislation, therefore, it has asked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to give an opinion on the safety of CBD and its use in food supplements.
On referral, EFSA instructed its Panel on Nutrition, Novel Foods and Food Allergens (NDA) to review the available data for the safety of its use as a food supplement.
The Panel analyzed the available data from animal and human studies, including, in addition, a systematic review of the aforementioned human studies to verify any safety issues for the use of CBD as a food supplement.
Analyzing the data made available by EFSA and the scientific literature, the Panel (NDA) identified several adverse effects related to the intake of cannabidiol (CBD); in particular, studies in animals showed adverse effects on reproductive function. Therefore, it is, therefore, important to verify whether these effects are also attributable to humans.
The NDA also pointed out that data on the effect of cannabidiol (CBD) on the liver, endocrine system, gastrointestinal tract, nervous system, and psychological function are insufficient and, therefore, need to be filled.
The recovered animal studies, were performed with cannabidiol (CBD) that was not chemically pure; and therefore, could misrepresent or obscure the real effects of the substance. The human studies, on the other hand, were performed on patients treated simultaneously with other drug therapies and with high therapeutic doses, which, again, may have biased the data.
The Panel on Nutrition, Novel Foods and Food Allergens (NDA) concluded that there are still too many gaps and uncertainties in the available data, therefore, the safety of cannabidiol (CBD) use in food supplements cannot be guaranteed. Operations are therefore suspended until new data on the matter is updated and, as a result, it will not be possible to market cannabidiol (CBD)-containing dietary supplements in the European Union market and in countries where the presence of the substance in the same is still tolerated.
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