Derived from hemp, CBD, or cannabidiol, is legal, unlike cannabis. But its regulations are still rather vague, as is the information on the products found in commerce. A report from the last issue of 60 Million de consommateurs: “Cannabidiol products, we must get out of the blur” lights up our lantern. Benjamin Douriez, deputy editor-in-chief of the magazine is our guest.
France info: First, for people who have never heard of this CBD, what is it? What are its effects? How is it different from cannabis?
Benjamin Douriez: CBD is cannabidiol, a substance found in hemp that has relaxing effects. But it does not have a psychoactive effect – in short, let’s say it’s not a drug – unlike THC. THC, which is THE substance responsible for the main effects of cannabis, is prohibited. So CBD can be found over the counter – manufacturers sell it for its effects on sleep or relaxation, for example.
Does CBD, therefore, have virtues, and it is found in a wide variety of products?
There is something of a buzz around CBD products. They are sold on the web or in specialty shops, which are popping up in some large cities. These are extremely varied products. These include CBD e-cigarette liquids, dried flowers, herbal teas, and even cosmetics – CBD skin creams. You can purchase all these CBD products from buymarijuanastrains.com.
And the current regulations on these products are too vague today, according to your survey?
Yes, it is almost non-existent. The regulations only say that cannabidiol, CBD, must come from a hemp plant that does not contain THC or only traces of no more than 0.2%. But when it comes to CBD itself, there’s no real framing. There is no maximum level – so there are products that can provide the same dose of CBD as in a drug – which is a problem!
Is it expected to evolve?
We cannot do without regulatory changes. The public authorities are aware of this. All the more so as a recent judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in November opens the way for the importation into France of products from other Europeans. To protect consumers, we, at 60 million consumers, it is estimated that there is a need to regulate in particular the CBD content of products and their labeling – not currently regulated either.
In any case, for the moment this regulation is so vague that you notice that some producers display the mention “100% legal cannabis”, which does not have to be?
There are still manufacturers who surf on this confusion with THC vape oil – no doubt to take advantage of a sulfurous image that may attract some customers. But no, CBD is not legal cannabis, it is not cannabis at all, because there is no THC.
One of the added values of your file are the trials, 28 CBD products tested. What did your tests show?
This great vagueness precisely. The CBD content was measured. And there, a lot of surprises! Because what we found does not always correspond to the content indicated. It is the big nonsense because we have products in which the measured rate is higher than the advertised rate. And others, where it is lower, up to two times lower in some CBD flowers and teas, despite the sometimes high selling price.
There are quite a few food products
Indeed, there is also another regulatory vagueness at the European level, which is whether we can use CBD in food products. It’s not clear! Despite this, there are oils or capsules sold as food supplements, which are among the products we have studied.
And what makes you a little wary is that there is very often a lack of information on the composition of the products, on the labels?
Yes, the buyer of this type of product is very poorly informed. We have mentioned the content displayed (when it is posted because it is not systematic), is unreliable. Another concern: manufacturers do not always say at what dose to use their product; however, at certain doses, these products can be toxic! And the warnings are often missing: for example about the risks of interaction between CBD and certain drugs. These are information gaps that imply a lack of security.