Since becoming legal in the UK last year, there has been a nationwide outbreak of food and drinks laced with cannabidiol (CBD) thanks to its rumoured therapeutic qualities.
And, in the past year, new CBD-infused food and drink items – including sweets, cakes, vapes and even products for pets – have been released as the popularity of CBD, which comes from the hemp plant, continues to grow.
A derivative of the marijuana plant, CBD oil contains less than 0.2% THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
But now producers that sell cannabis-infused products in the UK claim they have seen demand “rise significantly” as customers bulk buy in case they are taken off the shelves as a result of an FSA proposed ruling.
Serge Davies, CEO of Green Monkey, the first carbonated CBD drink in the UK, claims he has seen orders shoot up by over 8,000% in the past week and believes it is because customers are stocking up.
“CBD is perfectly safe, the World Health Organisation has said that themselves, so the lack of information from the FSA is quite disappointing,” Davies explained.
“We need direction from them in order to stop people panicking and so that we can continue to build our brand.
“From our perspective, the FSA’s regulatory change does not affect the operational ability, or legal status, of Green Monkey CBD’s business and we will continue to produce, distribute and sell the range of Green Monkey CBD products in the UK and abroad.”
Davies added that he is out to educate people about the “many benefits” of CBD oil.
“CBD oil is not a fad, it has demonstrable benefits that consumers are waking up to,” exclaimed Davies.
“The feedback we have had from the on-trade already has been really promising and lots of bars and restaurants are approaching us, asking how they get hold of our product.
“The plan is for Green Monkey to become the market leader in CBD products so that we can continue to identify the needs and demands of customers seeking an alternative to the norm.”
Cannabis-based companies have since been lobbying the FSA to make their decision about banning the products as quickly as possible.
An FSA spokesperson said they are yet to make a decision on whether or not to ban CBD products in the UK.
A recent survey from the Cannabis Trades Association discovered that the number of CBD users in Britain rose from 125,000 in 2016 compared to 250,000 last year.
Staggeringly, the global CBD market has been projected to reach $2.2bn (£1.68bn) by 2020 with some analysts suggesting it could even be as high as $55bn (£42bn) by 2029.
The market has also led to some of the biggest drinks companies in the world jumping on board the CBD oil market with AB InBev recently acquiring a cannabis producer in the US for $80m (£61m) and in the UK, drinks giants Molson Coors and Diageo have also begun to develop their own CBD products.
In the US, it has also been reported that 120,000 full-time jobs have been created in the legal cannabis markets and it is predicted the UK’s cannabis employment will follow suit as companies invest further into research, distribution and sales.