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A green wind has filled the sails of Europe’s wellness market over the past 12 months, with the UK steering the ship.

The Cannabis Trade Association revealed exclusively to HBW Insight that Europe’s cannabidiol market currently is worth around £480m. The UK commands the biggest share at around £110m.

CTA estimated that just over half of European CBD products are dietary supplements in the form of oils, a third are vapes and the remainder are cosmetics and edibles, as well as and other products that had questionable legal status within the European Union.

CTA predicts CBD would continue to rise in popularity, with cosmetics a particularly fertile growth area within the market, alongside edibles and drinks

Business-As-Usual As FSA Decides

UK industry is awaiting legal clarification on the regulatory status of CBD supplements after the European Commission decided to reclassify the ingredient as a novel food, meaning products must gain authorization from the authority before being sold as a foodstuff within the EU.  (Also see "With CBD Poised To Become A Novel Food In Europe, Industry Must Think Ahead To Gain Advantage" - HBW Insight, 7 Feb, 2019.)

CTA has initiated a legal challenge against the Commission’s decision, insisting its members' products will not be removed from sale.

It has joined forces with the European Industrial Hemp Association. The trade groups recently presented to the Commission 14 examples of pre-1997 traditional use of hemp across the EU.  (Also see "Cannabis Industry Taking Legal Action Against EU Regulators Over CBD Novel Food Classification " - HBW Insight, 20 Mar, 2019.)

Meanwhile in the UK, trade association Cannabis Professionals (CannaPro) has threatened legal action against national regulator the Food Standards Agency (FSA) for its handling of the CBD quandary.

FSA says it “accepts” the Commission’s view of CBD as a novel food and is currently working to “clarify how to achieve compliance in the marketplace.”  (Also see "Cannabis Trade Group Threatens FSA With Legal Action As CBD Novel Food Row Intensifies" - HBW Insight, 9 Apr, 2019.)

CBD firms operating in the UK are no doubt hoping that the country will go the way of Bulgaria, where the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, in conjunction with the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency, issued US-based Medical Marijuana Inc. a Free Certificate of Sale for a “series of products” containing CBD.  (Also see "Medical Marijuana Inc. Claims First CBD Supplement Approval In EU" - HBW Insight, 6 Jun, 2019.)

Major Retailers Enter CBD Space

Examining the UK’s CBD market in more detail, CTA lists 177 manufacturers as members, the majority of which specialise in CBD products.

While the UK market currently is flooded with smaller companies selling their products directly online, major retailers also recently have stepped into this rapidly expanding wellness category.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., for example, has started selling CTA member Healthspan’s CBD supplements in its UK pharmacies and online, as well as Vitality CBD and Dragonfly brands.

Healthspan’s High Strength CBD Oil (6.4mg) capsules are “legal, safe and batch tested,” the firm said, and contained olive to “help absorption in the body.”

In July, a new “dropper” version of Healthspan’s High Strength CBD Oil will be available, a format the company claims is “ideal for those who dislike swallowing capsules.”


Natural health specialists Holland & Barrett are selling a range of own-brand CBD cosmetics with a traditional pharmacy design, as well as a Jacob Hooy CBD Oil 5% and a basket of CBD combination supplements from Naturopathica.

Explaining the benefits of its new private-label range of CBD cosmetics, Holland & Barrett pointed to “emerging research” showing the ingredient’s “positive effect on a number of skin conditions including acne, dermatitis and psoriasis.”

“CBD skin care is the latest beauty trend that’s taking off both here and in the US – even Gwyneth Paltrow is a big fan – but that doesn’t mean it’s just another fad,” the retailer says. “There’s some solid science behind the boom in CBD skin care.”

McKesson Corp.’s Lloydspharmacy chain, by contrast, is stocking only CBD supplements manufactured by Celtic Wind Crops, which is not a member of CTA.

Celtic Wind’s CBD Multi Complex Hemp Oil products are unique, according to the firm, because they are made from a hemp concentrate, rather than an extract.

“This means that all of the natural compounds and essential oils contained in our Irish grown hemp are retained in their mother oil,” Celtic Wind explained on its website.

“We don’t tamper with, compromise or ‘extract’ any element of our oil,” the Irish manufacturer added. “We use a unique process to protect the components of the oil, enabling us to produce the wonderful and natural product that our customers love.”

Whole-hemp manufacturing is the philosophy behind another notable UK CBD brand: Garden of Life’s Dr Formulated range, available directly from the website.


Products in Garden of Life’s Whole Hemp Extract CBD range contain a “full spectrum” of terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and fatty acids found in the hemp plant – all working together to create “synergies” known as the “entourage effect” – but without the “unwanted risk” of the psycho-active substance found naturally in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

“Garden of Life is taking CBD formulation to the next level,” commented neurologist and Garden of Life industry partner David Perlmutter. “These products will set the standard in the field.”




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