Why does my CBD oil package say "not suitable for ingestion"?
12.January 2021 | Manuela
I treated myself to a Grünkraft CBD oil and now it says on the package that I should not take it? A misprint? Not at all.
CBD has been around for a long time, but CBD products like oils have not. Accordingly, it is difficult to navigate legislation that is not yet up to speed with a new industry and its developments. Come on, let's take a few steps in the maze called "current CBD legislation".
CBD - A by-product of a legislative change
Let's start from the beginning. Let's travel back to 2011, remember? Adele celebrates a world hit with "Rolling in the Deep", Japan is overrun by a tsunami, the Gotthard is richer by one hole, Alain Berset is elected Federal Councillor and the last part of the Harry Potter series dominates the cinemas. Switzerland makes a landmark decision for cannabis production this year. This unexpectedly kicks off a new industry in Switzerland, but also throughout Europe.
Until now, cannabis growers have always had to demonstrate that they are cultivating a useful plant and not a narcotic. Since cannabis is a naturally growing plant and not a synthetic product, compliance with the THC maximum became a legal monster for many growers. Starting in 2011, the increase of the THC maximum value from 0.3% to 1% was intended to better account for measurement uncertainty and biological variability in commercial hemp production. What was not foreseeable at the time of this legislative adjustment was the development of an entirely new industry.
CBD hit the market a few years later, and cannabis with a low THC content was put on sale as a tobacco substitute product. 2011, the initial spark for the pan-European CBD market.
Buying and selling CBD - Is it beyond the legal scope?
Let's pack our seven things and travel back to 2021. The CBD industry has grown, changed, and continues to bring forth new products. How useful CBD toilet paper, CBD coffee or CBD toothpicks are remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, the CBD industry is young and its dynamics are hard to beat. Oils in various forms have long been the dominant products in CBD retail. In the witches' kitchen, brewing and tinkering are allowed. But anyone who wants to sell a product must also face the question of the marketability of such a product.
Is CBD the homeless best seller?
The bicycle can remain parked; this "marketability" is about commercial traffic, not four-wheel drive. If a product is to go on sale, the question must be asked as to what precise legislation it is subject to. And here we find the crux of the whole story: What is CBD, anyway? Commodity? Chemical? Foodstuff? Medicine? CBD can be located in many places in today's legislation, but it's still not quite at home anywhere.
Like the cannabis plant itself, CBD is not just something, but many things. A one-size-fits-all categorization simply doesn't do justice to the range of products that emerge here, and so CBD finds itself between a chair and a bench when it comes to legal classification.
CBD can be a medicine. However, the scientific basis for promises of healing is still lacking. That doesn't mean CBD can't be prescribed by trained personnel in pharmacies or doctors' offices. Science has long neglected the subject of cannabis, but nevertheless interest on the part of the pharmaceutical industry is growing steadily.
CBD can be a food, but its approval keeps failing due to novel food regulations and THC content.
CBD feels at home in many places
CBD is not homeless. CBD is a libero and can feel at home in many places. CBD can be anything from medicine to commodity to chemical. In trying to do justice to all of these possible homes, to not offend anyone, and most importantly, to operate within legal guidelines, we end up somewhere in Absurdistan:
You buy a CBD oil that is commonly known to be ingested and we write on the packaging that it is not recommended for ingestion. After all, this is a, brace yourself: chemical.
Is your head spinning yet? Us too. Navigating a comparatively young industry and frankly sketchy legislation isn't easy, especially when it conflicts with market needs. So it happens that we advise you against taking our CBD oils and at the same time tell you about experiences people have had who have taken our CBD oil. First and foremost, we are trying to comply with the legislation and offer you safe and sustainable CBD products.
What's next for CBD legislation?
The moral of the story? There's no good solution (yet). The need for the natural healing plant cannabis is great and the CBD industry has grown rapidly. It poses challenges to legislation that could not have been imagined when the first directional decision was made in 2011. The challenge is to grow together and improve what there is to improve. We at Grünkraft are working on solutions to master the balancing act between the jungle of legal articles and customer needs. Cannabis should remain an issue in society and politics, because this is the only way we can find the appropriate place in legislation and finally enter into direct conversation with our customers.
Sources and further links
Federal Office of Public Health Switzerland FOPH. Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office Switzerland FSVO. Federal Office for Agriculture Switzerland FOAG. Products containing cannabidiol (CBD): Overview and implementation guide. 2021.
Notari, L. et al. Cannabidiol (CBD): Übersichtsstudie. 2019. Federal Office of Public Health Switzerland FOPH.
Zobel, Frank et al. Cannabidiol (CBD): analyse de situation. 2018. Addiction Suisse. Federal Office of Public Health Switzerland FOPH.