A new national committee is to be set up in Canada to study all aspects of non-prescription cannabis health products, including CBD products.

The Science Advisory Committee for Health Products Containing Cannabis will be tasked with providing independent scientific and clinical advice by studying available evidence on the safety, efficacy and quality of cannabis products, including THC and CBD for therapeutic purposes.

At present, Health Canada is looking for experts with a background in areas such as cannabis research, medicine and pharmacology as well as people with first-hand experience of using cannabis-based health products. Applications and nominations are being accepted by email at hc.sac-hpcc.ccs-pscc.sc@canada.ca until 11th May.

The original idea was to create a new category called “cannabis health products” for over-the-counter (OTC) sales. However, it has yet to be decided whether to follow through with this course.

Among other policy aspects, the committee will consider whether products of this type would be suitable for use without practitioner oversight, and propose a solution to fill the information gap.

It is not yet certain how cannabis-based health products would be dosed. Health Canada will seek evidence-based limits.

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    Given that the Final regulations for new cannabis products limits THC to 10 mg per package in solid edibles and to 1000 mg per package in ingestible products, one can assume that the dosage limit will not be lower than is set for edibles.

    The committee will also study conditions of use, possibly even for high-risk groups such as children and breastfeeding women, before the government issues a final proposal, which could happen in mid-2021.

    The establishment of the expert committee follows a consultation launched in summer 2019 by Health Canada, the government’s health agency. The consultation closed in September; the move to set up a committee represents the next step in the process.

     

    What This Means: Non-prescription cannabis products remain a gap in the Canadian market. Thus far the country has been fairly even-handed – though perhaps a bit over-deliberate in its implementation of cannabis-related regulation. In all likelihood the government will permit some form of product to occupy this space in the market. But it is in no hurry to rush through the regulations guiding it.

    Marija Obradovic CBD-Intel staff

    Photo: Dennis Larsen

    Marija Obradovic

    Senior legal analyst
    Marija is responsible for legal analysis in the UK and the Balkans. Marija is an international regulatory specialist. She has worked in Spain and Serbia on a broad range of national and cross-border policy issues, dispute resolution and rule of law. She holds an LLB law degree from the University of Belgrade and a Master’s in International Security from Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals.