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Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland update consumer advice for CBD

Food regulators recommend healthy adults do not consume more than 10mg of Cannabidiol CBD per day.

Last updated: 12 October 2023
Last updated: 12 October 2023

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has today issued new precautionary advice on CBD, recommending healthy adults should limit their consumption of CBD from food to 10mg per day, which is about 4-5 drops of 5% CBD oil. 

This change in advice is based on new evidence from the industry and updated advice from our independent scientific committee published today

We continue to advise that CBD is not taken by people in vulnerable groups, including children, people taking medication (who have not consulted a medical professional) and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding and those trying to conceive.

The updated advice has been based on the average lifetime exposure to food products containing CBD, such as drinks, oils, sweets, bakery items or drops. Some products available on the market will have a higher dose of CBD per serving than 10mg a day, therefore consumers should check labels and consider their daily intake in light of this updated advice.

The novel food status of CBD extracts was confirmed in January 2019 and all CBD food products must apply for authorisation before they can be sold legally in Great Britain (GB).

All products awaiting authorisation, which have a credible application in with the FSA, can be viewed on the FSA's public list. There are currently no authorised CBD extracts or isolates on the market. 

Professor Robin May, Chief Scientific Advisor at the Food Standards Agency said:

“Our independent advisory committees have reviewed the safety assessments submitted by the industry as part of their novel food applications and we are advising that healthy adults should take no more than 10mg of CBD a day.

“The more CBD you consume over your lifetime, the more likely you are to develop long-term adverse effects, like liver damage or thyroid issues. The level of risk is related to how much you take, in the same way it is with some other potentially harmful products such as alcoholic drinks.

“We encourage consumers to check the CBD content on the product label to monitor their overall daily consumption of CBD and consider if they wish to make changes to how much they take based on this updated advice.”

Emily Miles, CEO of the Food Standards Agency said: 

“We have always advised the public to think carefully about taking edible CBD products and as with all foods, we continue to review our advice based on the evidence we gather from industry.

“We understand that this change to our advice will have implications for products currently on the market that contain more than 10mg of CBD per serving. We will be working closely with industry to minimise the risk, to ensure consumers are not exposed to potentially harmful levels of CBD.” 

Why we have updated our advice 

The FSA published consumer advice in February 2020 which recommended healthy adults not to take more than 70mg of CBD per day. This level was based on limited evidence where CBD was studied as a medicine, and where the dosage is determined by balancing the benefit of the drug with the potential side-effects.  

Since this initial advice, we have asked the CBD industry through the public list and our novel foods process to provide data specific to CBD use in food as part of the safety assessment the FSA and FSS are conducting on these products. Our updated advice is based on the review of this evidence by our independent scientific committees. Our proactive work with the CBD industry has allowed us to carry out this assessment. 

A Joint subgroup of the Committee on Toxicity (COT) and the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes, two independent science committees that advise the FSA (and FSS), have been reviewing the safety evidence submitted by the CBD industry as part of their novel foods applications. With this new evidence, they have recommended an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 0.15mg/kg/ per day or 10mg of 98% pure CBD per day for an average weight adult.

Based on this scientific advice, the FSA has concluded that a healthy adult should not consume more than 10mg of CBD per day. While the ACNFP/COT advice is based on a specific subset of CBD products, the FSA has taken the view that it is appropriate to make a recommendation on all CBD products as a precaution, to give maximum clarity to the public.  

What this means for consumers

There are currently a range of CBD food products, including drops, supplements and beverages, available on the market. None of these have been authorised as novel foods, but in England and Wales, the FSA has introduced the public list as a public record of products linked to credible applications going through the novel food authorisation process. 

There is no acute safety risk with consuming more than 10mg of CBD a day, based on the data we have assessed to date. However, above this level and over a period of time, there is evidence of some adverse impacts on the liver and thyroid. The higher the dose that is consumed and the more often higher doses are consumed will increase the risks of experiencing an adverse health effect.  

Some food products currently on the market contain more than 10mg of CBD per serving. We will work with industry to agree a way forward on these products. In the meantime, we are releasing updated consumer advice to allow the public to make informed decisions about their intake of products containing CBD.  

We encourage consumers to monitor their daily consumption of CBD by checking the CBD content of the product and consider if they wish to change it in light of this updated advice. 

The FSA will continue to keep our consumer advice under review as we receive further assessments of the impacts of CBD. We will update our advice if new evidence indicates a change is needed.