CBD firm Pure Sport aims to be first government accredited
A SCOTS firm set up by two rugby players is aiming to be one of the first in the UK to be accredited under a new regulatory system for the CBD industry that aims to clamp down on rogue firms.
The government-run Food Standards Agency (FSA) is bringing in new rules next year which could result in brands that manufacture products being taken off the market if they do not meet strict safety and quality standards.
It comes after research found ten out of 31 brands of the oil sold in stores and online had levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the psychoactive compound found in the Cannabis plant - that exceeded the legal limit of 0.05 per cent. One had almost 24mg.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is another compound found in cannabis which does not alone provide a 'high'. According to manufacturers lower quality extraction methods lead to products having higher than legal amounts of THC while there is wide variation in quality.
The oil is increasingly being used by professional rugby and football players to manage injury pain, while those suffering from chronic conditions are reporting being able to come off medication after taking the tincture, which is available on prescription in countries including Australia.
Market research from Brightfield Group estimates the European CBD market will grow to nearly £1.4 billion by 2023.
Companies which manufacture CBD have been given a deadline of March 31 2021 to submit applications to the FSA. After this time, only products which have registered a valid application will be allowed to remain on the market.
While research is fairly limited in the UK, a report by the World Health Organization found there was no evidence of health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD or any "dependence potential." However, the FSA has advised that certain groups including those who are pregnant should not take it.
Grayson Hart, 32 launched Pure Sport two years ago in Glasgow with Scottish International rugby player Adam Ashe. He says he is confident their firm will meet the government's criteria because it is used by professional athletes who are subject to rigorous drug testing and said the new system is good news for consumers and the industry.
He said: "It's a massively positive step for the CBD industry.
"The FSA application is going to eradicate a lot of the companies that are not up to standard.
"In our eyes, it's about time because there are brands out there that are providing poor quality products, which is not good for the consumer - they aren't going to have a good experience and they are paying good money - and it is tarnishing the industry.
"Our brand was founded upon providing the most transparent and certified CBD products available in order for athletes to be able to take it. We already have the most stringent lab reports you can find."
CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but according to one study by Harvard University the strongest scientific evidence for its effectiveness was found to be in treating childhood epilepsy. Other studies suggest that it may help with anxiety and insomnia.
The former Glasgow Warriors player, who is originally from New Zealand, said he started exploring the use of CBD to manage a degenerative knee condition after being told by three specialists at 25 that it was likely he would require a knee replacement by the time he was 40.
He said: "Adam and I were both athletes, we were both Glasgow Warriors and we had both had our Scotland debuts and we had always been interested in natural alternatives.
"The reality of professional sport is you know that it's a very short career.
"It's pretty cut-throat and if you don't perform or you are not playing then you are not going to have a job so you need to prove your value by playing.
"So the mentality is, you do what it takes to play and part of what comes from that is that painkillers are accepted as the norm. I became heavily reliant on pain killers.
"One of the challenges I learned very quickly was that as drug tested athletes it's important we know exactly what is in the product and we couldn't find CBD that we could trust.
"We realised there was an opportunity there."
While the company has rugby players and Scottish Premier League footballers on their client list, Mr Hart says the majority are people using CBD to manage medical conditions. He said they had supplied CBD to the family of a 7-year-old with arthritis and says their email inbox is full of positive testimonies from the public.
"There was one that practically moved me to tears from the son of a woman with Motor Neurone Disease, who said she had been able to sleep for the first time in months."