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Cannabidiol (CBD) guidance for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland specific

Guidance on cannabidiol (CBD) as a novel food for businesses in Northern Ireland.

Last updated: 12 October 2023
Last updated: 12 October 2023
This guidance applies to Northern Ireland. Go to CBD guidance for England and Wales.

CBD is one of many chemicals called cannabinoids. It is found within hemp and cannabis and can be produced synthetically.

CBD extracts can be derived from most parts of hemp or cannabis plants. They can be selectively extracted, which can concentrate CBD. Some processes can alter other chemical components.

Hemp seeds, hemp seed oil, ground hemp seeds, (partially) defatted hemp seeds and other hemp seed-derived food are not novel, water infusion of hemp leaves (when not accompanied by the flowering and fruiting tops), are also considered not novel. This is because there is evidence to show a history of consumption before May 1997. This is not the case for CBD extracts themselves and any products to which they are added as an ingredient (such as hemp seed oil). This also applies to extracts of other plants containing cannabinoids as outlined in the EU Novel Food Catalogue.

CBD status as a novel food

In Northern Ireland, CBD food products are unauthorised novel foods. CBD food products require authorisation under EU law, specifically in line with EU Regulation 2015/2283, before being placed on the market.

The European Commission have not yet authorised any CBD food products as novel foods for the EU market. Therefore, there are currently no authorised CBD food products in the Northern Ireland market.

Retail agri-food goods moving through the Northern Ireland (NI) Retail Movement Scheme will be able to meet Great Britain public health requirements as set out in legislation, including in relation to novel foods. Any cannabidiol (CBD) product that is authorised in England, Wales or Scotland will therefore be able to move into NI via the NI Retail Movement Scheme. However, no authorisations have yet been issued for any CBD products anywhere in GB. Consequently, no CBD products are currently permitted to move into NI.

Applying for authorisation

Businesses seeking to place their products on the Northern Ireland market, should follow EU rules and the European Commission’s authorisation process before placing products on the market in Northern Ireland. 

For guidance on starting this process, visit Novel food applications: regulations and guidance page on EFSA website.

You can apply for authorisation of your CBD products using the European Commission application procedure.

Safety of CBD products

We have issued consumer advice on the consumption of CBD for healthy adults and vulnerable groups.

As a precaution, we do not recommend CBD for people in vulnerable groups, unless under medical direction. This includes children (those under the age of 18), people taking any medication, those trying to conceive and those who are pregnant or breast feeding.