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Business says new rules threaten access to ‘life changing’ food supplement

West Lakes Hemp. Picture: Platinum Live / Mike McKenzie

A Cumbrian business says that new regulations threaten to deny people access to a ‘life changing’ food supplement which has been shown to help tackle a range of physical and mental health issues.

As of the March 31 the government will be implementing new regulations for the food supplement Cannabidiol (more commonly referred to as CBD) under EU Novel Food legislation.

The new rules will mean CBD suppliers like West Lakes Hemp, which is based in Cleator Moor, will have to obtain a licence to sell the products.

Studies have linked CBD to various mental and physical health benefits, with a study last year at the University of Calgary, in Canada, even suggesting CBD users are 70 per cent less likely to contract Covid-19.

Nic Hewitt, from West Lakes Hemp, said: “We’ve worked tirelessly for three years making sure we source the very best quality products for our customers.

“We are part of a large collective of manufacturers, wholesalers, resellers, industry experts and trade associations who all voluntarily self-regulate ourselves for the good of the industry and, more importantly, the customer.

“Our suppliers provide full traceability for all products, allowing them to be traced from seed to shelf.

“While applying for a novel foods licence is free, the testing that comes with it is quite costly – up to £80,000 – and can take up to 24 months to be approved, potentially longer due to COVID. The cost involved and slow turnaround is enough to essentially price small businesses like us out of the market.”

In 2017 the World Health Organisation said “CBD does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm” and officially recommended CBD should not be “internationally scheduled as a controlled substance”.

The most popular and effective type of CBD oil to consume is ‘full spectrum’ oil which is extracted using the CO2 extraction method in the same way that herbs, spices, dairy and essential oils are extracted. CO2 extraction is considered the safest way to extract food for human consumption.

A decision by the Home Office to class all products containing trace amounts of controlled cannabinoids illegal also renders all full spectrum oils illegal.

Nic began using CBD herself after she was left jobless, homeless and on the verge of suicide following the devastating Storm Desmond floods which struck Cumbria in 2015.

She said: “CBD has been deemed safe by the World Health organisation and CO2 extraction has been used for decades. The Novel Foods regulation of CBD is based on a flimsy technicality. I have used CBD for nearly four years and it really is a life-or-death situation for me, without it I probably wouldn’t be here and I, along with the rest of smaller CBD companies, intend to fight for our right to consume these products that, speaking from experience, can literally save lives. These new regulations make us feel extremely anxious and woefully let down.”