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Cannabidiol (CBD) products have rapidly entered the UK market in a variety of forms, including food and cosmetics. Laboratories across the UK need to be able to accurately measure the CBD content as well as the controlled cannabinoid content in commercially available products. CBD and cannabinoids have been highlighted as difficult compounds to analyse. The aim of the ring trial was to share and compare methods for quantifying CBD and controlled cannabinoids in food and cosmetics among testing laboratories

CBD and controlled cannabinoids – Ring trial report

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Thirty-four national and international laboratories participated in the ring trial. The results have shown that there is good agreement of results between most laboratories. The data includes instrument types and limits of detection which helped assess the capability of testing laboratories and which will be invaluable information to determine the UK capability in analysing CBD products and controlled cannabinoids.

The project has been funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the Home Office and the Office for Product Safety & Standards (OPSS) and has been carried out in collaboration with Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).

FDA can take action if it has information that an ingredient or cosmetic product is unsafe to consumers. Consumers can report adverse events associated with cosmetic products via the FDA’s MedWatch reporting system, either online or by phone at 1-800-FDA-1088, or by contacting your nearest FDA district office consumer complaint coordinator. For more information, please see the FDA’s webpage on how to report a cosmetic-related complaint.

A. The FDA has approved Epidiolex, which contains a purified form of the drug substance CBD, for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome in patients 1 years of age and older. It has also approved Epidiolex for the treatment of seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex in patients 1 year of age or older. That means the FDA has concluded that this particular drug product is safe and effective for its intended use. Controlled clinical trials testing the safety and efficacy of a drug, along with careful review through the FDA’s drug approval process, is the most appropriate way to bring cannabis-derived treatments to patients. Because of the adequate and well-controlled clinical studies that supported this approval, and the assurance of manufacturing quality standards, prescribers can have confidence in the drug’s uniform strength and consistent delivery that support appropriate dosing needed for treating patients with these complex and serious epilepsy syndromes.

In addition, under 21 CFR 530.20, extralabel use of an approved human drug in a food-producing animal is not permitted if an animal drug approved for use in food-producing animals can be used in an extralabel manner for the use. In addition, under 21 CFR 530.20(b)(2), if scientific information on the human food safety aspect of the use of the approved human drug in food-producing animals is not available, the veterinarian must take appropriate measures to ensure that the animal and its food products will not enter the human food supply.
For more information on extralabel use of FDA approved drugs in animals, see Extralabel Use of FDA Approved Drugs In Animals.

Questions and Answers

While the agency is aware of reports of pets consuming various forms of cannabis, to date, FDA has not directly received any reports of adverse events associated with animals given cannabis products. However, adverse events from accidental ingestion are well-documented in scientific literature. If you feel your animal has suffered from ingesting cannabis, we encourage you to report the adverse event to the FDA. Please visit Reporting Information about Animal Drugs and Devices to learn more about how to report an adverse event related to an animal drug or for how to report an adverse event or problem with a pet food.

21. Does the FDA have concerns about administering a cannabis product to pregnant and lactating women?

There is an exception to section 201(ff)(3)(B) if the substance was “marketed as” a dietary supplement or as a conventional food before the drug was approved or before the new drug investigations were authorized, as applicable. However, based on available evidence, FDA has concluded that this is not the case for THC or CBD.

1. What are cannabis and marijuana?

A retrospective study from Israel of 50 pediatric oncology patients who were prescribed medicinal Cannabis over an 8-year period reported that the most common indications include the following:[24]

Another investigation into the antitumor effects of CBD examined the role of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1).[12] ICAM-1 expression in tumor cells has been reported to be negatively correlated with cancer metastasis. In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to decreased cancer cell invasiveness.

Appetite Stimulation

CBD may also enhance uptake of cytotoxic drugs into malignant cells. Activation of transient receptor potential vanilloid type 2 (TRPV2) has been shown to inhibit proliferation of human glioblastoma multiforme cells and overcome resistance to the chemotherapy agent carmustine. [31] One study showed that coadministration of THC and CBD over single-agent usage had greater antiproliferative activity in an in vitro study with multiple human glioblastoma multiforme cell lines.[32] In an in vitro model, CBD increased TRPV2 activation and increased uptake of cytotoxic drugs, leading to apoptosis of glioma cells without affecting normal human astrocytes. This suggests that coadministration of CBD with cytotoxic agents may increase drug uptake and potentiate cell death in human glioma cells. Also, CBD together with THC may enhance the antitumor activity of classic chemotherapeutic drugs such as temozolomide in some mouse models of cancer.[13,33] A meta-analysis of 34 in vitro and in vivo studies of cannabinoids in glioma reported that all but one study confirmed that cannabinoids selectively kill tumor cells.[34]

An Israeli retrospective observational study assessed the impact of Cannabis use during nivolumab immunotherapy.[10] One hundred forty patients with advanced melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and renal cell carcinoma received the checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab (89 patients received nivolumab alone and 51 patients received nivolumab plus Cannabis). In a multivariate model, Cannabis was the only significant factor that reduced the response rate to immunotherapy (37.5% in patients who received nivolumab alone compared with 15.9% in patients who received nivolumab plus Cannabis [odds ratio, 3.13; 95% confidence interval, 1.24–8.1; P = .016]). There was no difference in progression-free survival or overall survival. A subsequent prospective observational study from the same investigators followed 102 patients with metastatic cancers initiating immunotherapy.[11][Level of evidence: 2Dii] Sixty-eight patients received immunotherapy alone while 34 patients used Cannabis during immunotherapy. Over half of the patients in each group had stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. Cannabis users were less likely to receive immunotherapy as a first-line intervention (24%) compared with nonusers (46%) (P = .03). Cannabis users showed a significantly lower percentage of clinical benefit (39% of Cannabis users with complete or partial responses or stable disease compared with 59% of nonusers [P = .035]). In this analysis, the median time to tumor progression was 3.4 months in Cannabis users compared with 13.1 months in nonusers and the overall survival was 6.4 months in Cannabis users compared with 28.5 months in nonusers. The investigators also noted that Cannabis users reported a lower rate of overall treatment-related adverse experiences compared with nonusers, with fewer immune-related adverse events (P = .057). The investigators postulated that this finding may be related to the possible immunosuppressive effects of Cannabis and concluded that Cannabis consumption should be carefully considered in patients with advanced malignancies who are treated with immunotherapy.

A large, retrospective cohort study of 64,855 men aged 15 to 49 years from the United States found that Cannabis use was not associated with tobacco-related cancers and a number of other common malignancies. However, the study did find that, among nonsmokers of tobacco, ever having used Cannabis was associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.[9]