The move is part of a Europe-wide ban after the EU's European Commission reclassified the oils—derived from cannabis and hemp—as 'novel foods.' Acting on the ruling, the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) is instructing local trading standards officers to seize supplies being sold in stores. An FSA spokesman said it was "putting in transition measures to aid enforcement."
Under EU rules, a 'novel food' is any food that was not being widely consumed before 1997. Chia seeds, krill oil and vitamin K have also been hit by the same ruling, which could see these products disappear from the shelves.
The ban could last for 18 months as the FSA determines whether CBD (cannabidiol) oils—also known as medical marijuana—are safe and effective. However, the World Health Organization has already declared CBD oils are well tolerated and safe, and the US's National Institutes of Health has reported an "explosion of research" into CBD oil, demonstrating in animal tests and human studies that it can help with a range of health problems, from epilepsy, pain and inflammation.
Sales of CBD oil products have exploded in the past 18 months as people have found they help ease pain and inflammation, and this has hit sales of painkilling drugs.
CBD oil contains just 0.2 per cent of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the element that makes the user 'high'.
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