What is CBD?

CBD or cannabidiol is an active ingredient in cannabis that is derived from the hemp plant. 

How does CBD work?

CBD interacts with receptors in the central nervous system to have a calming effect on the human body.  

What types of product contain CBD?

These days a range of commonly available products contain CBD, from oils, balms and sprays, to capsules, gummies and drinks.

Is it safe to consume CBD?

Overwhelmingly, CBD is not harmful to humans, has psychoactive effects and it is not addictive. That does not mean the consumption of CBD is always free from potential side effects, such as nausea and fatigue. Many consumables commonly available in the UK can have similar or worse side effects than this, notably alcohol.

How is CBD extracted from hemp?

There are a variety of ways that CBD can be extracted from the hemp plant. One method involves using CO2 extraction which divides the CBD molecule from other compounds that are found in hemp. Another method is cold-pressing, whereby pressure is applied to all parts of the hemp stalks, flowers and leaves at a low temperature, thereby producing a resin that contains CBD. 

How well-established is cold-pressing as a technique?

Cold-pressing plants in order to extract their nutrients is a technique that dates back at least as far as Roman times and probably further. Nowadays hydraulic machinery has replaced hands and feet as the primary way of pressing plants.

What is a novel food?

A novel food is defined in Article 3(2)(a) of Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 as a food that has not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU prior to 15th May 1997 and which falls into one of the categories in Articles 3(2)(a)(i) – (x) of the Regulations. Following Brexit, if a food is a novel food then in order for it to be sold in the UK, it will need authorisation from the Foods Standards Agency, also known as the FSA.  

Is cold-pressed CBD a novel food?

There is a strong argument that cold-pressed CBD is not a novel food because it has a history of safe food use within the EU which means that it does not fall into any of the categories in Articles 3(2)(a)(i) – (x) of the 2015 EU Regulations referred to in Question 7 above.   

Where are cold-pressed CBD products sold in the EU?

In the Republic of Ireland, for example, cold-pressed CBD products have been widely available, including as a foodstuff, for a number of years.

By way of illustration, Celtic Wind Crops (www.celticwindcrops.com), an Irish company, has been trading in CBD products for more than a decade.

It produces cold-pressed CBD oils and capsules that are available for sale as a foodstuff in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Similarly, Vixen (www.vixen.com) is another Irish company that sell cold-pressed CBD oils as a foodstuff and has done so for years.

Its website advertises oils for sale and states that the European Food Standards Agency has indicated that its CBD products are not novel foods.

As well as consumable capsules and oils, other Irish companies have created drinks and gummies that contain cold-pressed CBD.

They include Parachute (www.drinkparachute.com), which sell three different flavours of drink infused with cold-pressed CBD.  

Are there examples of governmental authorities within the EU addressing cold-pressed CBD?

In the Republic of Ireland, on 14 July 2021, and during the course of a debate in the Houses of Oireachtas (the bicameral Parliament of the Republic of Ireland) the Minister of Health, Stephen Donnelly, stated that: “Ireland does not consider CBD derived from legally-cultivated hemp by cold pressing as a novel food”. The prevalent manufacture and sale of cold-pressed CBD products as foodstuffs without authorisation in the Republic of Ireland bears that statement out.   

What is THC?

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a chemical compound found inside the hemp plant. It is the chemical that gives cannabis its psychoactive effect.   

Is there THC in cold-pressed CBD?

There can be, but in minute amounts. The process of cold-pressing can never eliminate the possibility that the extracted CBD will contain trace amounts of THC.   

Does this mean cold-pressed CBD is illegal?

No. Provided the amount of THC in cold-pressed CBD products is below 0.2% then in practice it will not be unlawful to sell those products. Our testing shows that the quantity of THC in Mola Chill is below this level.   

Does this mean that people could get high from consuming cold-pressed CBD?

There is very little chance that a person would get high from consuming a cold-pressed CBD product because the calming effects of the CBD will counter balance the psychoactive effects if there are any – of the very small amount of THC that could be present in the product.   

These FAQs have been prepared with the assistance of Clintons Solicitors and Paul Jarvis of 6KBW College Hill Chambers. You will however need to rely on your own legal advice with respect to this matter.