Join

or

Existing user? Login

Controlled drugs

RPS asks Home Office for guidance on THC levels in cannabidiol oil

Confusion around the legal threshold for tetrahydrocannabidol in cannabidiol oil has led the Royal Electronicjuice to request “clear guidance” on the matter from the home secretary.

cannabis oil

Source: Shutterstock.com

An analysis of 30 cannabidiol oil products available in the UK market showed that 45% of the products tested had “measurable levels of THC”, making them technically illegal at present

The Royal Electronicjuice (RPS) has written to the home secretary calling for “clear guidance” on the permissable level of psychoactive tetrahydrocannabidol (THC) in cannabidiol (CBD) oils.

In the letter to Sajid Javid, Ash Soni and Gino Martini, president and chief scientist of the RPS, respectively, wrote that the Society “is keen to advise its members on the steps they should take” to ensure that they do not inadvertently breach the law when handling CBD oil products.

 by industry trade body  (CMC) found that almost half of the commercially-available CBD oil it tested contained detectable amounts of THC, making them “technically illegal within the UK”.

The CMC commissioned analytical company PhytoVista to test 30 CBD oil products available in the UK market, both online and on the high street. In a summary of the findings, the CMC said that 45% of products tested had “measurable levels of THC”, with a mean content 0.04%.

There has been confusion around the legality of trace levels of THC in CBD oil products.

CBD is not psychoactive and so is not a controlled substance. It may be sold through retail outlets as long as no medical claims are made for a product. 

But the RPS letter raised the issue of reports that suggest CBD oil products with THC content of less than 0.2% would be legal.

  states that licences may be issued for the cultivation of plants from approved seed types with a THC content not exceeding 0.2%. But this permitted limit of 0.2% in plant matter does not relate to the THC content of the final product to be consumed, explained Martini.

The RPS letter says pharmacists in hospitals and the community want clear guidance on the legal position when handling CBD oil products that contain trace levels of THC.

In its report, the CMC also called on the government to clarify the law around CBD oils, and amend what it calls “ambiguous, out-dated” legislation.

Citation: Electronicjuice DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206419

Readers' comments (3)

  • It's a popular myth that the law on this is unclear. It isn't, it's crystal clear, in black and white and there are no grey areas.

    It's astonishing that the RPS or its lawyers can't simply read the law. But there's no point asking the Home Office. It regularly gets the law wrong and frequently gives what can only be deliberately incorrect advice such as in its drug licensing factsheet which is incorrect.

    CBD products are 'exempt products' under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 2(1)(a)(b)(c). Thus the maximum amount of THC permitted is 1mg per container.

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2001/3998/regulation/2/made

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • It doesn't appear that clear to my reading. All three elements must apply for 'exempt product' status and the CBD preparations marketed are designed for use by human beings thus the lack of recoverability or the very low content are irrelevant:

    “exempt product” means a preparation or other product consisting of one or more component parts, any of which contains a controlled drug, where—
    (a)
    the preparation or other product is not designed for administration of the controlled drug to a human being or animal;
    (b)
    the controlled drug in any component part is packaged in such a form, or in combination with other active or inert substances in such a manner, that it cannot be recovered by readily applicable means or in a yield which constitutes a risk to health; and
    (c)
    no one component part of the product or preparation contains more than one milligram of the controlled drug or one microgram in the case of lysergide or any other N-alkyl derivative of lysergamide;

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • @Alexander, CBD is not a controlled drug. The two controlled drugs that are likely to be present in a cannabis extract, which is what all lawful CBD products are as isolate is unlawful, are THC and CBN, to both of which the 1mg limit applies.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Pharmaceutical Statistics

    This book on basic statistics has been specifically written for pharmacy students.

    £33.00
  • Patient Care in Community Practice

    Patient Care in Community Practice is a unique, practical guide for healthcare professionals or carers. Covers a range of non-medicinal products suitable for use at home.

    £22.00
  • Pharmaceutical Isolators

    £27.00
  • Pharmaceutical Toxicology

    Explains the methodology and requirements of pre-clinical safety assessments of new medicines. Includes registration requirements and pharmacovigilance.

    £40.00
  • Pharmaceutical Calculations Workbook

    Pharmaceutical Calculations Workbook contains practice calculations and answers, similar to those in pharmacy exams and in practice.

    £27.00

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save

Jobs you might like

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.