CBD News Roundup: High-Level EU Court Defends CBD as a Non-Narcotic Substance

Here’s the latest CBD News:

  • A European Union court has excluded cannabidiol from their legal definition of a narcotic substance.
  • In a bid to prepare cannabidiol for eventual regulation, high-ranking officials at the FDA called a virtual public meeting on November 19th to share the “sex and gender differences in use and responses.” 
  • The first study to assess the long-term effects of CBD consumption was published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research on November 20th.

High-Level EU Court Defends CBD as a Non-Narcotic Substance 

On November 19th, the Court of Justice of the European Union officially clarified its stance on CBD’s legal classification while settling a case related to the sale and distribution of CBD between two EU countries.

In the case, a Czech CBD oil e-cigarette company that marketed and distributed their products in France was charged with the violation of a French law that states “only the fibre and seeds of hemp may be put to commercial use.” 

In order to arrive at their ruling that the Czech company didn’t violate the provision in question—or rather, that EU law precluded the French law in this case—the judges had to exclude cannabidiol from the definition of a narcotic drug.

They did so by noting its exclusion from two UN conventions: the Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

In defense of their decision, the judges stated, “While it is true that a literal interpretation of the (Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs) might lead to its being classified as a drug, in so far as it is a cannabis extract, such an interpretation would be contrary to the general spirit of that convention and to its objective of protecting ‘the health and welfare of mankind’ … the CBD at issue does not appear to have any psychotropic effect or any harmful effect on human health.” 

The ruling marks an important turning point in the ongoing struggle between pro-CBD advocates and prohibitive European legislation, paving the way for a regulatory path in the near future.

FDA Pours More Resources Into Pre-Regulatory CBD Evaluation

Dr. Amy Abernethy, Principal Deputy Commissioner of Food and Drugs for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), commented on the FDA’s prioritization of CBD research and regulation last Thursday, November 19th.

“We are committed to advancing hemp products with available regulatory pathways, and we are further exploring what additional steps may be appropriate for hemp products,” said Commissioner Abernethy.

The comments were made in reference to a landmark public meeting held by the FDA (virtually) on the 19th, entitled “CBD and Other Cannabinoids: Sex and Gender Differences in Use and Responses.”

Per the FDA’s Women’s Health Research information portal, the meeting sought to “discuss potential sex (biological) and gender (psychosocial) differences in use and responses to cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids.”

The day-long series of four panels were hosted by a team of high-ranking FDA officials, including Women’s Health Director Kaveeta Vasisht, MD, PharmD; Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Toxicologist David Carbone, Ph.D.; and Dr. Abernethy herself.

The meeting covered perspectives from patients and healthcare professionals, known sex differences in CBD’s effects, how CBD use affects pregnant women, and the government agency perspectives on CBD research and evaluation.

The last panel is especially indicative of the FDA’s intentions to move forward with CBD research and regulation, as the learning objectives included identifying “current federal efforts to address scientific data gaps” and the “scientific and ethical considerations affecting CBD research and evaluation.” 

The First Long-Term CBD Exposure Study Was Just Published

A Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research study authored by Canopy Growth Corporation and published on November 20th is the first to officially investigate “lifelong toxicity” associated with CBD use.

The study used a type of roundworm (Caenorhabditis elegans) regarded by researchers as the ideal non-human model for its strikingly similar genetic makeup and short life span.

To assess lifelong toxicity, researchers exposed “day 1 adults to 10, 40, and 100 μM until all animals perished,” which is about 2-3 weeks for this particular species.

Compared to control, roundworms in the experimental groups demonstrated a “maximum life extension of 18% observed at 40 μM” and an “increase in late-stage life activity by up to 206%.”

Most importantly for the purposes of this study and the CBD industry at large, the roundworms at all three dosage levels failed to demonstrate any signs of long-term toxicity.