Health Canada Blog Post

Canadians are going crazy for CBD. According to Forbes, the Canadian CBD market is set to generate over $1 billion a year by 2023. However, the legal and provincial frameworks for legal cannabis are wholly unprepared for this much growth, especially this quickly.

As the CBD market seems ready to explode, legislators are desperately trying to catch up. Recently, Health Canada has proposed categorizing CBD as a natural health product as a way to better handle the massive amount of demand for the cannabinoid.

Could CBD Soon Be Labeled As A Natural Health Product?

During a media call last week, a Health Canada representative indicated that the organization was “committed to conducting further consultations” about the possibility of CBD being categorized as a Natural Health Product (NHP).

In order to get a better understanding of how Canadians feel about the proposal, and CBD in general, Health Canada has set up an online consultation process. The ‘Consultation on Potential Market For Cannabis Health Products that would not require Practitioner Oversight’ can be found here, and is accepting comments until September 3, 2019.

Health Canada is also considering alternatives. Specifically, they have proposed a new designation for cannabis-based health products altogether. Instead of classifying CBD as an NHP, Health Canada may actually choose to designate it as a ‘Cannabis Health Product’ (CHP).

Cannabis Health Products would represent a whole new class of health products in Canada. Under this designation, non-intoxicating cannabis products like CBD would be sold over-the-counter in retail locations such as pharmacies and even pet stores. However, the proposed system would likely not go into effect before 2020.

Should CBD Be Labeled As A Natural Health Product?

Much of the pressure being placed on Health Canada is coming from medical patients who regularly use CBD, and from consultants and companies in the natural health industry. Both of these groups have correctly pointed out that many Canadians seek out cannabis products like CBD for medical relief, not to get high. Therefore, they argue, that CBD should be available over-the-counter as other herbal medicines are.

However, several concerns have been raised over the plan. One of the main ones is that this change will lead to increased access to CBD by minors. While some experts are wary of allowing minors to use CBD without further research on its long-term effects, others are not as anxious. Especially considering that CBD is already prescribed to minors for medical conditions such as rare forms of epilepsy.

Nevertheless, there could be some clear advantages to the plan. Apart from increased access to CBD, a designation such as this will lead to a more regulated CBD market with expected improvements to labeling, product testing, and public education.

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