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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: 31 March 2022
Last updated: 31 March 2022

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 are selectively extracted, concentrating CBD and removing or reducing other chemical components. This process means the final product is different from hemp.

Hemp and related products, such as cold-pressed oils, are not novel because there is evidence to show a history of consumption before May 1997. This is not the case for CBD extracts.

CBD status as a novel food

CBD extract products are considered across the UK and the EU as novel foods. In Northern Ireland, CBD extracts require authorisation under EU law, specifically in line with EU Regulation 2015/2283, before being placed on the market. Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 applies in Northern Ireland under Annex II of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

There are currently no authorised CBD extracts or isolates on the market.

Applying for authorisation

CBD extract products require authorisation before they are placed on the Northern Ireland market, in line with Regulation (EU) 2015/2283. You need to follow EU rules and the European Commission’s authorisation process, including validation, to market your products 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.

Sellers of CBD should be aware of this information and be able to inform consumers on the recommended maximum daily limit for healthy adults We advise that those who are pregnant, breast-feeding or taking medication should refrain from taking CBD as a precaution.