Cannabidiol (CBD)

Information for businesses about using CBD in food products

 What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid which can be extracted from the cannabis plant and added to foods, but which has no psychoactive properties.

The last few years have seen a growth in food products containing CBD and in January 2019, the EU Commission classified food products and supplements containing cannabidiol (CBD) extracts as ‘novel foods’.

In law, novel foods are classified as foods or ingredients which do not have a significant history of consumption before May 1997 in the EU.

Safety of CBD

Like all novel foods and ingredients, CBD products have to be safety evaluated, authorised and approved as a novel food before they can be sold.

Food Standards Scotland is working with local authorities and other partners to keep the safety of CBD food products currently on the market under review, and to ensure that products stating they contain this ingredient do so.

Currently there are no CBD extract products authorised as novel foods (under Regulation (EU) 2015/2283) and those products currently on the market are in contravention of the novel food regulations. It is important, therefore, that you take immediate action to gain authorisation as a novel food in relation to any CBD extract products you sell, or plan to sell in the future. Otherwise, you should seek assurances from your suppliers / manufacturers that they have done so.

Updates for businesses and Scottish local authorities will be available on this webpage.  

Who is responsible for regulating CBD?

Food Standards Scotland has regulatory responsibility for CBD used in food products.

Products containing the psychoactive substance Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), with limited exemptions, are classed as controlled drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act and for Police Scotland and the Home Office. The Home Office have provided a factsheet on Cannabis, CBD and other cannabinoids.

Medicinal use of CBD is the remit of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and most other uses of CBD such as for vaping are for Trading Standards. Please refer to MHRA Guidance Note 8, Appendix 10, which provides guidance regarding CBD.