Hemp-derived CBD ingredients, including plant extracts or isolates, have become extremely popular for use in foods, beverages, and food supplements because of their very low levels of THC (the psychoactive compound of theplant) and the claimed health benefits related to stress relief, mood enhancement, and soon. CBD ingredients can be found in a range of products such as oils, confectionery, baked products, beverages, food supplements.

The hemp and CBD market is reported to be one of the fastest growing product categories in the world. Among the reasons for this rapid growth are that hemp has been categorized as a legal agricultural commodity; it has been promoted because of the environmental benefits of its cultivation; and recent changes in food policy now consider CBD a suitable ingredient for use in food.

However, the regulatory status of hemp and CBD as a food ingredient is a recent development in several markets around the world. In some cases, there are specific regulations and guidelines with clear conditions of use of CBD in food and food supplements. In other cases, safety assessments still need to be performed before products containing hemp-derived CBD ingredients can be legally marketed. In many other countries, however, CBD ingredients are still not permitted, or are highly restricted, for use in foods and beverages.

Concerns about CBD as an ingredient relate to food safety and public health, mainly due to the presence of THC. There are also concerns around the marketing of CBD products, whose claimed health benefits have to be scientifically substantiated before obtaining an authorized health claim. In this sense, the result of the safety evaluations could contribute to the further commercialization of foods containing hemp-derived CBD ingredients and encourage other countries to follow suit in also regulating their use.

Given current regulatory status and trends regarding CBD as a food ingredient, companies need to be aware of the critical requirements and conditions to identify challenges and opportunities when planning marketing strategies.

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