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Cannabidiol (CBD)

Consumer advice on cannabidiol (CBD) extracts.

Last updated: 31 March 2022

CBD is one of many chemicals called cannabinoids. It is found within hemp and cannabis.

CBD extracts are being sold as a food, often as food supplements in the UK. They are widely available in shops, cafés and for sale online.

CBD sold as food, or as a food supplement, includes:

  • oils 
  • drops or tinctures 
  • gel capsules 
  • sweets and confectionery 
  • bread and other bakery products 
  • drinks 

Although CBD is a chemical found naturally within the cannabis plant it has only very recently been extracted and sold as a separate product. There is still a lot we don’t know about CBD extracts, and there has been very little research about the effects they may have. We will get more information as businesses apply for novel food authorisation for their CBD products.

England and Wales

List of CBD products

We published a list of CBD food products to help consumers make informed choices about the products they buy. Products on this list are not formally authorised for sale. They have not yet been fully assessed for safety, but they are linked to applications which are moving through the novel foods process. The FSA is not endorsing these products and inclusion on the list is no guarantee that they will be authorised. Products not on the list will not go through any safety assessment and will not be authorised for sale. The list applies to England and Wales only.

Advice for vulnerable groups

Based on the information we have we advise consumers to think carefully before taking any CBD products. As a precaution, we do not recommend CBD for people in vulnerable groups, unless under medical direction.

These include:

  • pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • people taking any medication 

If you have any health concerns, please contact a healthcare professional.  

Advice for healthy adults

Some scientific studies suggest CBD can affect the liver if taken at higher doses, but there have been very few studies relevant to levels found in food. As a precaution, we recommend that healthy adults do not take more than 70mg a day, unless a doctor agrees more. This is about 28 drops of 5% CBD.

This doesn’t mean that these levels are definitely safe, but that the evidence we have suggests adverse health effects could potentially be seen above this.

Research

The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) have published the latest detailed scientific report on CBD. We are reviewing new safety information on CBD as it becomes available.

Our advice is based on the latest scientific information we have available to us and levels given are for an average 70kg adult. We want to support consumer choice but must balance this alongside protecting the health of the public.