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Cannabidiol (CBD)

Consumer advice on cannabidiol (CBD) extracts.
Last updated

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

CBD extracts are being sold as a food and 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.

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. 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. We want to support consumer choice but must balance this alongside protecting the health of the public.