CBD has been growing its popularity among consumers in the last few years. However, we don’t see many products on the market containing it, especially in the food supplements industry. Primož hosted Nejc Rusjan, co-founder and CEO at Essentia Pura, who spoke about the challenges of working with CBDs and what the future (might) hold for this industry.
CBD, as an ingredient rather than an oil, comes under Novel Food Regulation. Novel Food is defined as food that had not been consumed significantly by humans in the EU before 15 May 1997, when the first Regulation on Novel Food came into force. Such ingredients need to be proven safe for consumption. This applies to CBD as well.
CBD is technically not allowed to be used as an ingestible, i.e., in food supplements, anywhere in the EU. However, there are different regulations outside of the EU. In The States, for example, it depends from state to state. In some states, it can be used as a food supplement, while in others, it is prohibited. Furthermore, CBD can be sold as a food supplement in the UK, if the product has been on the market before February 2021. UK is out of the EU, and the market is regulated by FSA (Food Standard Agency) and not by EFSA (The European Food Safety Authority). The entire UK CBD market, including all CBD products, is estimated to be 2 billion EUR. And it is expected to grow at a CAGR of almost 30 % by 2027. It is a promising market. However, because of the current Novel Food Regulations, the prominent market players working in the nutraceutical and nutricosmetics world are still held back. They are waiting for some regulations to be more precise before entering the market.
Regulatory: a wall or just an obstacle?
These regulatory changes are expected to happen within 2 to 3 years. Nejc expects the majority of Novel Food Applications to be validated and approved. Products with CBD will be easily sold as cosmetics and food supplements once the EU member states adopt such approvals.
Speaking of the EU countries, they are very similar to one another regarding general regulations and CBD regulations because they follow the EU guideline. However, some countries allow a bit more, some a little less, and some have zero presence of CBD in the final product. In Slovenia, for example, the THC level of everything produced and shipped out of the country, cosmetics or food supplements, must be below 0,2 %. This is the final product’s most common amount of legally allowed CBD.
Because of the differences in the markets, it is tough for a third-party manufacturer to cope with all the regulations, needing to follow all of them. Exceeding the allowed amount of THC in the final product is translated into possessing a drug. Therefore, paying much attention to the regulatory, compliance, quality, control, and analysis is crucial. After all, if the amount is exceeded, the producer is blamed for it, not the client who put it on the market.
As mentioned before, different countries have different regulations. In some, for example, the allowed amount of CBD is 0,4 %. Being a Slovenian company, Essentia Pura could export to countries allowing a presence of higher amounts. However, the quantity of CBD a producer can use is also regulated. To be allowed to produce such products, a producer must possess a specific “drug license.”
What is the future holding for CBD products?
Looking into the future, Nejc believes the mass market will very well accept CBD products. According to him, these products will enjoy similar status as, for example, Omega 3 soft gels. Not everyone will be consuming them, but they will be adapted by consumers and widely available. The changes will, according to Nejc, happen primarily because of its promising general health and wellbeing contribution and health benefits. There are 3 main health benefits: pain relief, stress management, and sleep aid. And all three influence our skin. It has been scientifically proven that CBD can help to manage and reduce stress and anxiety, which break down collagen. This is very beneficial for the beauty industry and skin. It is called beauty sleep for a reason. A good sleep cycle is essential for general wellbeing. A lack of sleep is stressful, influencing how we look and age. CBD’s promising application is that it can improve your sleep quality.
However challenging the industry is at the moment, it is also promising.