Inside Europe’s booming and chaotic CBD market –

“We can’t meet the demand we have at the moment and there are many other producers with the same status,” ​Slovenia-based Pharmahemp’s chief regulatory affairs officer, Dr Marjeta Česen, said from the show.

Eight-year-old Pharmahemp is one of the oldest and biggest European CBD players – and one highly concerned about the potentially damaging effects of a gung-ho, grey market.

“The market is full of CBD products that fall into ‘grey zone’ and it is obvious the demand is so high that authorities cannot follow all the companies selling such products,”​ Dr Česen said, adding pharma-style registrations could be one way to clean up the market.

Also at the show was Matthias Schedl, from AnnaBlume in Austria, which prides itself on full-spectrum, organic CBD extracts. He agreed. “There are a lot of quality problems.There are too many manufacturers. Some making good quality, some making bad quality.”

Other products spotted at the expo included cannabis energy drinks and hemp protein powder.

The classification quagmire

Cannabis Energy drink

As it stands, most CBD sources are classed as unauthorised Novel Foods in the EU as there has yet to be a successful CBD application to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). (The whole industry is watching and waiting for EFSA’s verdict on one major pending application from Czech firm Cannabis Pharma.)

The EU Novel Foods stance has proven open to interpretation by Member States – along with interplay with other legal realms like cosmetics and pharmaceuticals – and thus creating a state-by-state legal quagmire.