The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has today released a statement advising consumers to take no more than 10mg of CBD per day, stating concerns that high daily doses could lead to liver damage.
CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid extracted from the cannabis plant believed to have numerous health benefits such as decreasing anxiety, reducing pain and inflammation and aiding with sleep. It can be found in a wide range of consumable products such as oils, tinctures, drinks and gummies. Previous FSA advice, issued in 2020, suggested that adults consume no more than 70mg of CBD a day.
The surprise announcement follows the submission of toxicology reports by three members of the industry as part of the ongoing validation of CBD as a novel food by the FSA in 2020. However, the recommendation of 10mg is only advisory at this stage, and is based on studies in rodents, not humans, with the FSA stating that there is “no acute safety risk” when consuming more than 10mg of CBD a day.
Numerous clinical studies have been conducted to find a safe level of CBD in humans following concerns that high doses could lead to liver toxicity. One review of 18 different randomised controlled trials analysed the results from studies involving a total of 1,127 people. The authors concluded that “no serious adverse effects were observed in the studies with healthy volunteers.” The results of this review were cited by the Australian Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) when setting a recommended maximum daily dose of CBD of up to 150mg per day.
Many products currently on the market, such as drinks and gummies already contain more than 10mg in a single serving, leading to concerns that the recent guidance could leave consumers confused or concerned about CBD consumption. Marika Graham-Woods, executive director of the Cannabis Trades Association, an industry group that represents many CBD brands, said the decision to set such a low recommended dose was unfair. “All this does is frighten consumers and retailers and it stops the industry going forward again. I don’t see any benefit in what they have done.”
In a statement posted on LinkedIn, Prof David Nutt of scientific research group Drug Science questioned the announcement saying, “We need to point out that this daily dose of cannabidiol is more than 100 times lower than the safe dose found in the rodent studies. Bizarrely, the FSA justify it based on a comparison with alcohol, because chronic use leads to harms. However, if they applied the same 100-fold safety limit to alcohol then the maximum dose per day would be less than one drop of beer!”