Cannabis oil products could be pulled from the shelves after the first Food Standards Agency review has warned of its potential dangers.
The regulator warned that pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and people taking medication are among those who should avoid ingesting the supplement, which comes from the cannabis plant.
It has told retailers that they must print new warnings on edible products containing CBD or face having them pulled from shelves by next Spring.
In its first ever safety advice to consumers on products, the authority also cautions others who might eat such foods not to have more than 70mg a day.
Extracts of CBD, a chemical found naturally within the cannabis plant, are contained in a range of products including oils, confectionery, and drinks.
Around four to six million Britons have tried it, often to relieve chronic pain or anxiety, since it was made legal to buy on the high street in 2016.
Emily Miles, the chief executive of the FSA warned that these products are “widely available on the high street” but not properly regulated.
Ms Miles explained: “The CBD industry must provide more information about the safety and contents of these products to the regulator before 31 March 2021, or the products will be taken off the shelves.
“The actions that we’re taking today are a pragmatic and proportionate step in balancing the protection of public health with consumer choice. It’s now up to industry to supply this information so that the public can be reassured that CBD is safe and what it says it is.”
Professor Alan Boobis, chairman of the committee on toxicity – which advises the FSA and department of health, reviewed the evidence and found the ingredient may be harmful to pregnant women.
This will be a blow for some suppliers, who have advertised that the product can stimulate breast milk production and reduce anxiety during pregnancy.
These claims, which are not backed up by any peer-reviewed studies, have become so prevalent that internet star Kim Kardashian had a CBD themed baby shower last year.
The attendees made their own CBD-infused bath salts, took part in meditations and sound baths and tried various forms of CBD.
Mr Boobis said: “My committee has reviewed the evidence on CBD food products and found evidence there are potential adverse health effects from the consumption of these products.
“We are particularly concerned about pregnant or breast-feeding women and people on medication.
“We don’t know enough to be sure about such a risk but I am pleased with the sensible and pragmatic approach the FSA is taking. The committee will continue to keep these products under review in the months ahead.”
Cannabis oil has been a controversial product since it hit the market; research in 2019, analysing 30 products on the market, found almost two-thirds contained less than 90 per cent of the declared CBD; many contained more. Almost half had traces of THC, so they were technically illegal, while one £90 item contained no CBD.
A spokesperson for Holland & Barrett,a major retailer of CBD products, said they would be re-labelling products.
She said: “As a responsible retailer, we have disseminated advice on various CBD topics via in-store leaflets supported by the Industry (European Industrial Hemp Association). As part of our due diligence, with all brands we sell, we hold independent Certificates of Analysis on all CBD products.
“The FSA has previously stated that there is no evidence to suggest consumption of CBD poses a food safety risk to consumers, so we are confident that a sensible and pragmatic approach to these issues should continue. However, the safety of our customers is of primary importance to us so we will be working with the FSA to ensure all products we sell meet these new regulatory and labelling requirements.”
The announcement does not affect people who take medically prescribed CBD or cannabis, the FSA said.