Health Canada Advisory Board Provides CBD Recommendations

A report from the Canadian Government’s Science Advisory Committee on health products containing cannabis has provide recommendations on the use of non-prescription CBD.

Health Canada tasked the Committee to provide advice that would help inform development of regulations.

The Committee noted the volume of scientific publications has increased exponentially over the last twenty years, providing it a large body of research to draw upon in making its recommendations. It’s a very lengthy and detailed report that can be found here.

The Committee found CBD (cannabidiol) is not habit-forming and unanimously agreed CBD is safe and tolerable  for short-term use  – being a maximum of 30 days – without oversight from a doctor or nurse practitioner and at an orally administered dosage range of 20 milligrams per day to 200 mg/day. However, this advice is based on consumption by healthy adults and on the proviso they discuss the use of all other medications and substances used with their pharmacist.

The committee made a strong recommendation that all health products containing CBD should carry statements on potential interactions between cannabidiol and other drugs or alcohol, and warnings they should not be used by those who are or have:

  • pregnant or considering pregnancy
  • lactating/breastfeeding
  • allergies or hypersensitivity to cannabis, cannabinoids, or other components of the manufacturing process.

The Committee also recommended CBD health products should have clear dosing instructions and warnings of potential side effects. It also wants to see public education to explain possible benefits and potential risks, and on gaps in research knowledge around the non-prescription use of CBD.

A large section of the report also addressed considerations for cannabidiol use in animals. It indicates there was only sufficient safety evidence for CBD use in dogs; and when administered at very low doses between 0.2-2mg/kg orally twice daily. The Committee has recommended owners should consult a veterinarian prior to administering CBD to their pet until more safety and efficacy information becomes available.

Commenting generally on its recommendations, the Committee said:

“We recognize that while these recommendations may not meet the perceived needs of all stakeholders, we feel that our recommendations strike a balance between safety and accessibility (which are not mutually exclusive of each other).”

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