The European Commission (EC) has added natural hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) to its cosmetic ingredient database CosIng, Hemp Today reported on 2 February.

The EC’s inclusion of CBD derived from extracts, tinctures or resin from Cannabis sativa L (hemp) in the database meant that naturally-derived CBD could now be used in cosmetics in the EU, Hemp Today said.

The ruling followed a French case that went before the European Union Court of Justice in October 2020 in which the high court had ruled that CBD could not be regarded as a narcotic and that CBD products should enjoy the same free movement of goods between and among member states as other legal products. That case had led the EC to reset its position and establish that CBD should not be considered a drug, Hemp Today said.

The latest ruling was welcomed by the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA), which had been pushing for the change.

In a statement on 2 February, the EIHA said the ruling meant that, in the EU, natural CBD would be allowed for cosmetic use as well as leaf extracts.

“I feel like the legal clarity we are meticulously asking for is about to come. Of course, there is still a long way to go, but it is a good thing that our constant efforts can be measured by tangible results”, EIHA managing director Lorenza Romanese said in the statement.

The EC’s CosIng database provides information on cosmetics substances and ingredients for member states and operators and its aim is to harmonise the marketing of cosmetics products across Europe.

The EIHA represents the interests of hemp farmers, producers and traders and its aim is to represent the hemp sector in the EU and influence international policy-making.

EIHA covers different areas for the application of hemp, including its use for construction materials, textiles, cosmetics, feed, food and supplements.

An article published in The Guardian on 19 November 2020, quoted the World Health Organization as saying that CBD was “generally well tolerated with a good safety profile” and that there was no evidence “of any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD”.

The article noted that in recent years there had been a marked growth in the use of CBD oils, tinctures, lotions and other products by people seeking to relieve stress and anxiety and to reduce inflammation.

A study in the European Journal of Pain had suggested that skin-applied CBD could help lower arthritic pain, however, there was a lack of clinical evidence for its overall efficacy, and concern over the unregulated nature of the CBD market.

CBD is one of the two most common compounds found in cannabis, the other being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD does not contain any psychoactive properties, unlike THC, and demand for CBD products for food, health and cosmetic applications has soared in recent years.