Article by Mark Rendell, Global News
Canadian supplement makers, food manufacturers and farmers are set to miss out on North America’s latest health and beauty craze if federal rules around cannabidiol (CBD) don’t change..That’s according to the Canadian Health Food Association and Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, who jointly released a white paper on Wednesday calling on the federal government to reclassify CBD as a natural health product (NHP) and remove it from the prescription drug list..Currently CBD, the non-intoxicating cousin of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is treated as a marijuana product in Canada. It can be sold legally through the medical marijuana system with a prescription, and, since Oct. 17, through a licensed cannabis dispensary as a recreational product..A thriving black market for unregulated CBD has also emerged to take advantage of the confusion created by recreational cannabis legalization last October.Advocates for CBD reform would like to see the cannabinoid treated like Vitamin D or Omega-3 fatty acids: produced under Canada’s NHP regulations, stamped with efficacy claims and sold in health food stores..“Allowing products to only be sold within the medical marijuana and provincially regulated retail channels, those being age-restricted and use-restricted, really narrows the demand base for the product,” said Ted Haney, executive director of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance..Since last summer, Canadian hemp farmers have been allowed to harvest the flowering heads of their low-THC crops and sell them to licensed cannabis producers for CBD extraction. Previously farmers only grew hemp for seeds, oils and fibre; they were forced to leave the CBD-rich flowers rotting in the fields..Around a quarter of the total Canadian hemp crop in 2018 – roughly 20,000 acres out of 80,000 – was harvested for CBD extraction, Mr. Haney said. He envisions closer to 450,000 acres of hemp planted in Canada by 2023, which is comparable to the size of Canadian mustard or flax crops. But this depends largely on fostering a domestic market for CBD..Alongside farmers, Canadian supplement makers and health food manufacturers are eager to liberalize the sale of CBD, which has emerged as a trendy additive in everything from dietary supplements to cosmetics.