For some time now, this beloved hemp flower, which includes cannabidiol (CBD), has been found in more and more markets (cosmetics, food products, furniture, etc.). CBD, also called “Cannabis light”, is seeing its success grow mainly thanks to its positive impact on well-being. But also because it is completely legal to want and be able to obtain products <0.2% THC Since 2018 in France for example, shops have flourished in most major French metropolises (Paris, Lille, Besançon, Bethune, etc.), as well as less densely populated regions. A phenomenon which is not ready to stop thanks to the legal decision last November. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has indeed ruled the ban on the marketing of CBD in France illegal. An opinion and a decision that the French Court of Cassation then followed, in June 2021.

In some other countries, CBD is even starting to be found in all levels of food and catering. Indeed, in the United States (California for example), the ice cream brand Mellow Ice Cream, based in Los Angeles, offers delicious tasting ice creams in its product range, while adding the therapeutic benefits of hemp flower. (CBD ice cream). A pioneering company of its kind, it stands out in a rapidly expanding food consumption market, and in a region where cannabis has an important part in society and morals.


Between January 2019 and November 2020, around a hundred notifications concerning foods containing CBD classified as unauthorized (“unauthorized novel food ingredient cannabidiol (CBD)”) were published in the food alert portal RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) in particular by several European countries such as Sweden, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, but also Belgium, Finland, Italy, Greece, Lithuania, and Poland. These notifications mainly concern food supplements and oils, but also other foods such as chocolate, chewing gum, coffee with hemp flowers, honey, or drinks.

On French soil, the DGCCRF (Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control) applies the interpretation of the Novel Food catalog (from the European Commission). CBD and CBD oil are considered unauthorized, whether in food or as a dietary supplement. Only hemp seed or oil from the same seed (obtained by cold pressing) without THC and without CBD are considered food in France and can be used in food supplements. We can add to this the fact that, in France, there is a national restriction which goes further than European regulations: the Order of August 22, 1990 only authorizes cultivation, import, export and industrial use and commercialization of fibers and seeds of the varieties of C Mango Skunk annabis sativa L authorized at European level.

To date, three applications for authorization of CBD as a novel food have been sent by the European Commission for evaluation by the EFSA: Synthetic trans-cannabidiol, Cannabidiol derived by chemical synthesis and finally synthetic cannabidiol. Files concerning only synthetic Canabidiol therefore. Several authorization requests have also been submitted to the European Commission. But they were blocked in July 2020 due to a preliminary opinion from the Commission according to which CBD extracted from hemp flowers would be covered by Annex I of the Convention on Narcotic Drugs (“extracts and tinctures of cannabis”). Total nonsense.

On November 19, 2020, the CJEU concluded that CBD (cannabidiol) extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant does not constitute a “narcotic drug” because it does not appear to have a psychotropic effect and no harmful effect on human health. decision follows a preliminary ruling concerning French legislation limiting the industrialization and marketing of hemp to fibers and seeds only (Order of August 22, 1990). This judgment is not specific to foods and does not change the fact that CBD ( Cannabis sativa extract or synthetic) is considered a novel food according to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283, and that CBD could only be used in food with specific authorization granted in accordance with this previous regulation. However, this opinion from the Court of Justice of the European Union should influence the European Commission to review its preliminary opinion and agree to send Novel food applications concerning CBD to EFSA for further evaluation.

To conclude, we may find more and more hemp-based foods in our diet. Good or bad thing? Help with environmental problems? Those are the questions. To be continued...

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