The coronavirus pandemic in the UK has created a boon for Cannabis Cannabidiol CBD products becoming the second biggest market after the United States, as consumers rush to alleviate Covid linked symptoms, industry experts say.
Cannabidiol or CBD Oil, which is most commonly sold as oil at high street retailers, is one of the active ingredients of non-psychoactive cannabis. CBD is touted as have relaxing and anti-inflammatory properties, but experts argue the market has long suffered from questions about its efficacy and a lack of regulation.
Britain’s Food Standards Agency now regulates the sector and its marketing, after the European Union classified CBD as food in 2019.
CBD products will generate sales of pound sterling690 million ($856 million, 811 million euros) in 2021, according to the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI).
That was almost a third higher than the UK trade group’s pre-pandemic 2019 projection.
Sale of hemp products
The state-run National Health Service warns there is “no guarantee” that products claiming to be medical cannabis and sold in health stores as food supplements, such as CBD oil, are of “good quality or provide any health benefits”.
The UK allows the sale of hemp products that can be made only from the cannabis plant’s fibers or seeds, but not the buds they are still illegal and so it smoking it for recreational use.
Aside from Covid, such products have also experienced strong demand for CBD products from Britons seeking to ease pain from chronic illnesses such as severe arthritis.
From supplements and skincare, to infused chocolates and even pet products, global sales of cannabidiol (CBD) products are soaring. Despite the UK’s CBD market being at a relatively nascent stage compared to that of the US and Canada, it is still one of the largest in Europe with an estimated.
Cannabinoid CBD cannot be made in UK
Britain’s CBD industry is currently forced to import oil from Europe, Canada and the United States.
Under UK drugs law, it is not possible for British companies to produce CBD because they are compelled to destroy the CBD-rich flower or bud of the hemp plant.
That has sparked an outcry from the farming community, which argues that profits could be boosted massively if they were allowed to use all of the plant.
“It is hard to comprehend, especially in a post-Brexit era, why it is legal to import CBD into the UK, yet British businesses are not permitted to produce CBD commercially,” said Louise Motala, who runs Bridge Farm in eastern England.
“We have real expertise in cultivation and extraction in this country,” she added in a report published by drug reform group Volteface.
“A change in policy to open up this valuable market and allow production will enable UK businesses to make the most of this global opportunity.”