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CannaPro racks up £30,000 in legal fees fighting FSA novel food regulations

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CannaPro has spent thousands seeking legal advice on the novel food regulations.

The trade association for cannabis companies in the UK says it has spent more seeking legal advice around the novel food regulations than its entire income history.

CannaPro revealed in October that it was taking legal advice in an effort to stand up to the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) “pointless” regulations.

Three months on, the trade association continues to report difficulties raising its concerns with the FSA and now reports it has spent almost £30,000 seeking legal advice.

The agency announced in Autumn 2020 that Novel Food applications must include toxicology safety data, costing companies hundreds of thousands of pounds to produce and potentially putting smaller companies out of business.

Speaking to Cannabis Health, Peter Reynolds of CannaPro says he has made dozens of requests to the FSA to address the sector’s issues with the Novel Food applications.

“I’ve been in constant correspondence with the FSA about what they’re up to, but the evasiveness they engage in is just disgraceful,” Reynolds says.

Although the hemp plant, from which CBD is extracted, is not deemed to be a novel food supplement, ‘selective’ extracts of the plant are categorised as ‘novel’. In these extracts, the proportion of components in the end product are adjusted from the original proportions found in the plant.

Reynolds asserts that CannaPro “accepts this”, however he believes it is unfair to treat non-selective extracts

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in the same fashion.

Reynolds says: “If you have a non-selective extract, it is molecularly identical to the hemp plant. So, if the hemp isn’t novel, how can the extract be? It can’t be.

“The FSA makes it very clear in its statements that selective extracts are novel. What I’ve been seeking from the FSA for months now is a clear statement that non-selective extracts are not novel. They simply evade the question.

“What the FSA keeps saying is, ‘we’ve already stated clearly that cold pressed extracts are not novel because they are non-selective’.

“That’s correct, but there are other methods of achieving non-selective extracts and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be classified as ‘not novel’.”

Citing the lack of evidence for CBD causing significant harm, Reynolds describes the Novel Foods applications as “completely pointless”, accusing the FSA of “persecuting people in the industry” and creating a false sense of distrust surrounding CBD.

“The FSA has completely contrived the idea of toxicity with the Committee on Toxicity Report,” Reynolds adds. “I’m not saying it’s been made up, but it’s been marshalled and organised to try and create this sense of fear for which there’s no justification at all.

“The evidence is all based on dosages which are between 100 and 10,000 times the 200 milligramme per day limits that we, the industry, have been recommending since 2016.”

Reynolds also points to the fact that a significant portion of the data which the Committee on Toxicity Report is based on comes from GW Pharmaceuticals’ clinical trial of Epidiolex – the only approved CBD medicine on the market.

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“Ninety percent of the data comes from GW Pharmaceuticals, which has a vested interest in restricting other companies trading in CBD,” Reynolds says.

Despite his issues with the FSA’s treatment of the CBD industry, Reynolds agrees that the supplement does require better regulation, such as ensuring CBD levels claimed on product labels are accurate and guaranteeing products are free of heavy metals and contaminants.

Company’s producing whole-extract CBD products are likely to face a difficult situation when the deadline for Novel Food applications arrives on the 31 March, however Reynolds believes the sub-sector will not disappear.

“All the multiple-extract products [CBD containing multiple cannabis plant extracts] are going to be comprehensively shut out by this because they’re going to have to evade the FSA,” Reynolds says.

“The market for whole plant extracts is going to be online or through small retailers, it’s not going away.”

“The environmental health and trading standards departments at local councils haven’t got a hope in hell of being able to enforce the FSA’s wishes because they don’t have the resources.”

He adds: “Having said that, I’m sure there will be some people of whom examples will be made and there will be people who suffer as a result of this.”

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British footballer sentenced to 25 years in Dubai jail over CBD

The footballer said he was unaware that the CBD e-liquids were in the boot of his car

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Dubai: An image of a man with red hair sitting in the sun

A British football coach has been sentenced to 25 years in jail in Dubai after police seized four bottles of CBD e-liquid from his car.

Billy Hood, a semi-professional football for Kensington and Ealing Borough FC, was sentenced earlier this month for trafficking, selling and possessing drugs, following his arrest on 31 January, 2o21.

The vape liquids contained CBD which is illegal in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as it may contain a trace amount of THC. The oils, which had been found in the boot of his car, had been bought in from the UK which amounted to a trafficking charge.

Hood maintains that he was forced to confess in Arabic which he does not speak.

In a statement, he said he was “shocked, scared and confused” but told the police he was “not in possession of any drugs or substances.”

He said he was unaware the oils had been in the boot as they left there by a friend travelling from England.

“I had just moved to a new home in Dubai and a friend of mine came around to see my new place,” he said.

“I ordered a food delivery then went to my car to get a second phone charger for him to use when I was suddenly approached by police. They jumped out to arrest me, handcuffed me. One officer jumped out and pointed a taser at me, threatening to use it if I didn’t cooperate.”

He added: “They demanded I show them where the drugs are. I was shocked, scared and confused. I told them I wasn’t aware or in possession of any drugs or substances.”

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Dubai arrest

The police were reported to have become interested in speaking with Hood after viewing his social media pages.

They then asked to search his home and car for drugs, leading to the discovery of the 5ml oils and vape pen. They also reportedly discovered a sum of money in the apartment as his new employer had paid him in cash while his bank account was being set up. His friend, who was in the apartment, was also arrested.

Hood said he was then detained in isolation for 14 days before being informed that he would face a second prosecution. The possession of the CBD oils and vape pen would have been a small sentence, however, the trafficking charge contributed to a 25-year sentence.

“I coach football six to seven days a week. I am always working with kids and in schools all over Dubai. From age 16, I played football at a professional level for more than 2 years. I have always had a zero-tolerance on any drugs or illegal substances,” Hood said.

“For me to be accused of promoting and selling drugs in a country that has the same beliefs and values as me, is very upsetting as it affects my future.

“One of the main reasons I moved to the UAE was to pursue my coaching career. I have spent six years collecting my coaching badges and would never let something such as drugs ruin everything.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said they are providing “consular support to a British man who has been imprisoned in the UAE.”

Billy’s mother, 55-year-old Breda said: “I have hidden away, crying and crying when I imagine what our sweet boy is going through. It is the worst stress I’ve ever been through and I feel helpless. He’s always been such a good boy and has never been troublesome. He helps out children, coaches and volunteers. He’s never been into drugs, ever. It is impossible that he is guilty of the allegations against him.”

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Meanwhile, Hood’s family are working with the group, Detained in Dubai and lawyers on an appeal. They have launched a campaign for funding through a GoFundMe page that has raised over £13,752.

In a statement on their website, Detained in Dubai said: “The UAE has arrested dozens of foreigners for ‘crimes’ like having a poppyseed on the bottom of one’s shoe, having prescription medicine, residual hashish from marijuana smoked abroad, a glass of wine on a plane and so on. Tourists and ex-pats are at great risk of police setups and sting operations. The FCDO has been asked to increase travel warnings to citizens.”

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CBD brand teams up with Welsh artist to highlight emotions of lockdown

CiiTECH has commissioned Welsh artist Nathan Wyburn to create a bespoke piece of art.

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Art of Provacan

Leading cannabis and CBD company CiiTECH, has commissioned Welsh artist Nathan Wyburn to create a bespoke, crowd-sourced piece of art entitled ‘The Journey to Calm’.

The pieces are part of a larger campaign called ‘The Art of Provacan,’ launched by CiiTECH flagship CBD health and wellness brand, Provacan, which is also encouraging people to send in their own artwork.

Nathan has created four pieces of art that show how people feel and what they associate with those feelings by using multiple colours and textures.

The feelings portrayed were recorded in the Art of Provacan survey of over 1,000 people. Members of the public were asked to vote on what colours and textures represented the change in their emotions from unease to calm.

The work took hours to complete and incorporates traditional and non-traditional materials.

Art: four pieces of art created by the artist who sits to the top centre of all four

Lockdown was a difficult time for many so it is no surprise that this was reflected in the results.

The survey found that seven in 10 participants experienced heightened levels of unease of the past 18 months with two-third struggling to describe how they feel to family and friends.

The Art of Provacan campaign was launched to make these feelings more visible and accessible to help anyone experiencing unrest to feel they have a support network they can turn to.

 

In a video about the art campaign, Nathan said: “At the height of unease, many people said the sound of scratching was a very common thing. I decided to use the inside of the tape and also nails within this artwork. Red was widely associated with heightened feelings of stress. Navy blue, interestingly, caused mixed reactions from the public.”

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He added: “Some related it to a feeling of unrest while others found comfort in it. For this, I decided to use a scourer to blur the artwork to help that feeling of unease and loneliness.”

Nathan, who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, specialises in creating iconic celebrity portraits and pop culture imagery with non-traditional mediums such as Food. Previous portraits have included Marmite on toast, sauces, sugar and Chocolate. He also combines these with other everyday items such as newspaper cut-outs, soil, glitter, toothpaste fake tan or motor oil.

The art of Provacan

Provacan is the flagship CBD brand of cannabis healthcare company, CiiTECH.

CiiTECH CEO Clifton Flack said:  “Teaming up with Nathan for this special project has taught us a lot about the visual expression of stress, unease and worry and we love the fact that he used Provacan while creating the art and also used some of the products in the artworks themselves.”

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Breast milk of THC-positive mothers not harmful to short-term health of infants – study

Researchers reported no differences in short-term health impacts such as breathing difficulties or feeding issues.

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Breast milk: A bottle of milk for an infant

According to a new study, the breast milk of THC-positive mothers was not found to be harmful to the short-term health of premature infants.

Researchers compared early pre-term infants who were breast-fed from mothers who consumed THC to those who were fed formula or breast milk from non-THC consuming mothers.

They reported that breast milk caused no differences in short-term health impacts such as breathing difficulties, lung development or feeding issues.

The study analysed the medical records of 763 early pre-term babies from 2014 to 2020. Researchers discovered that 17 per cent of the mothers tested positive for THC at the time of giving birth. They also examined post-natal exposure through breast milk.

Researchers found that overall the babies born to mothers who tested positive for cannabis were similarly healthy at the time of their discharge when fed their mothers breast milk in comparison to those who did not receive their mother’s breast milk.

The authors wrote in the abstract: “In our study, we found no evidence that providing [mother’s milk] MM from THC-positive mothers was detrimental to the health of this early preterm population through hospital discharge. A better understanding of longer-term perinatal outcomes associated with THC exposure both in-utero and postnatally via MM would inform appropriate interventions to improve clinical outcomes and safely encourage MM provision for early preterm infants.”

Breast milk from mothers who consume THC is often restricted by neonatal intensive care units because the effects on early preterm infants are unknown. It is thought that the active ingredient can pass through breast milk. Studies have shown that breast milk is a good way to improve pre-term baby outcomes and reduce infection risk along with intestinal issues.

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Researchers cautioned women to abstain as the long term effects are still unknown.

THC-positive breast milk

Natalie L. Davis, associate professor of paediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine said: “Providing breast milk from THC-positive women to preterm infants remains controversial since long-term effects of this exposure are unknown.”

She added: “For this reason, we continue to strongly recommend that women avoid cannabis use while pregnant and while nursing their babies. Our study, however, did provide some reassuring news in terms of short-term health effects. It definitely indicates that more research is needed in this area to help provide women and doctors with further guidance.”

“Teasing out the effects of THC can be very difficult to study,” Dr Davis concluded. “We found that women who screened positive for THC were frequently late to obtain prenatal care, which can have a detrimental effect on their baby separate from cannabis use. This is important to note for future public health interventions.”

The study abstract will be presented at the virtual American Academy of Paediatrics National Conference and Exhibition.

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Cannabis Health is a journalist-led news site. Any views expressed by interviewees or commentators do not reflect our own. All content on this site is intended for educational purposes, please seek professional medical advice if you are concerned about any of the issues raised.

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