European Commission adds cannabidiol to database CosIng
CosIng is the European Commission database for information on cosmetic substances and ingredients. On February 4, the European Union (EU) Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs added cannabidiol (CBD) "derived from an extract, tincture or of a cannabis resin ”as a legal cosmetic ingredient to its CosIng guidelines.
CosIng is a cosmetic regulation database that expressly provides for permitted and illegal ingredients and sets out their specific purposes and functions.
This recent revision of CosIng follows the recent decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) according to which CBD derived from the whole hemp plant is not a narcotic within the meaning of Single United Nations Convention on narcotics of 1961; and should therefore be freely marketed between EU Member States.
Until this revision of the CosIng guidelines, only synthetic CBD was expressly authorized as a cosmetic ingredient in the EU database. Today, the regulations provide that plant-based CBD can perform the functions of an antisebum, antioxidant, skin conditioner and skin protector.
This regulatory change is another promising step towards the development of a uniform regulatory framework for the sale of CBD cannabidiol cosmetics (and other categories of CBD products) in the EU.
Although CosIng is not legally binding, this database serves as a guideline for EU member states when adopting national regulations regarding cosmetic products. It aims to harmonize national EU cosmetics laws in order to facilitate the free movement of these products within EU member states.
However, like the US, EU member states have adopted their own CBD laws and regulations that are not necessarily in line with the CosIng Directive or those implemented by other member states.
Some countries, for example, only allow the sale of THC-free CBD cosmetics and seed or fiber derivatives within their borders; while others have taken a more forgiving approach and allow up to 1% THC in their finished CBD products. To complicate matters further, each country imposes its own manufacturing, labeling and marketing requirements.
This patchwork of member state regulations obliges manufacturers and distributors of CBD products to comply with a host of regulations in itevery country where these products can be legally sold. As a result, this wide range of often conflicting regulations from EU member states makes it virtually impossible for these companies to freely market their products within the EU.
However, such harmonization should be imminent because, unlike the CosIng ruling, the CJEU ruling is binding on all EU member states. This means that EU governments cracking down on the sale and marketing of CBD cosmetics will have to change their laws and regulations.
Of course, such legislative changes will not happen overnight. However, the CJEU ruling and recent regulatory changes to CosIng represent important steps towards creating a more competitive European CBD market, which could even facilitate the removal of international trade barriers.