U.K. regulatory agency warns CBD users about possible ‘adverse drug reactions’

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The U.K.’s Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is cautioning people who CBD products, reporting that individuals who suffered harmful side effects following consumption ballooned to 56 in 2019 from just four in 2017.

According to the Daily Mail, the agency cites individuals between the ages of 50 and 59 as reporting a big chunk of the “adverse drug reactions”, numbering 28 since 2007.

The article does not specify the specific types of adverse reactions, but WebMD notes that reported side effects of using CBD have included dry mouth, low blood pressure, lightheadedness and drowsiness. Though less common, signs of liver injury have also been reported in some patients, the information adds.

Although a study last year in Case Reports in Ophthalmological Medicine has raised plenty of questions, researchers explored an incident involving a 56-year-old woman in the U.S. who died after experiencing drug-induced Stevens-Johnson Syndrome after consuming a commercial CBD product that had not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“The use of a commercial CBD product should be cautioned due to potential for a series of drug reactions to the cannabis product and the risk for reaction to other unregulated other pharmacological components,” study authors wrote.

In June of 2019, the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) called on U.K. politicians, policymakers, regulators, producers and retailers to each play their part to help ensure the CBD sector is innovative, responsible and high-quality.

“The wave of popularity around CBD, which offers huge opportunity for the U.K. itself, now needs to be grounded on a strong foundation of research, proportionate regulation and quality standards,” CMC founder and strategic counsel Steve Moore said at the time.

CMC-commissioned market research estimated “the CBD market is currently one of the fastest growing well-being product categories in the U.K.” / PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES

CMC-commissioned market research estimated “the CBD market is currently one of the fastest growing well-being product categories in the U.K. At the current rate it will be worth almost £1 billion per annum by 2025, equivalent in size to the current entire U.K. herbal supplement market,” a statement from the centre noted.

You.gov reported a few months later, in October of 2019, that almost one in 10 respondents in the U.K. already use products with legal cannabis extracts. Additionally, 28 per cent of those polled reported they would consider using products containing CBD, although 47 per cent noted they wouldn’t touch them.

In the fall of 2019, the most popular type of CBD products with Britons were pure oil, cited by 58 per cent of respondents; CBD vape juice or e-cigarettes, noted by 21 per cent of those polled; and creams, mentioned by 11 per cent.

U.K.’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) points out that despite the availability of CBD in products, “there is still a lot we don’t know about CBD extracts, and there has been very little research about the effects they may have.”

Unless under medical direction, the FSA notes that it does not recommend CBD for pregnant and breastfeeding women, or for people who are taking any medication.

For health adults, the agency’s recommendation is to not “take more than 70 mg a day, unless a doctor agrees.”

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