CBD, food hemp and cosmetics. ‘Big Pharma’ vs. everyone


The value of


industrial, in its entire life cycle, does not go unnoticed. Excellent yields in agriculture, protein fiber and good fats, nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals, green building and bioplastics. The global market of Cannabis Sativa L. and derivatives between now and 2025 is expected to grow by 77 percent to $166 billion. (1) E ‘

Big Pharma

‘ moves, with its puppets in Brussels and Strasbourg, to grab exclusive rights to use the most lucrative extracts, starting with



CBD in cosmetics, European Commission, third turnaround

On 12.3.19 Great Italian Food Trade (GIFT)


– the sudden and unjustified inclusion of CBD (cannabidiol) and hemp seed oil among the banned substances in the EU register of cosmetic ingredients (CosIng). An operation that the European Commission (DG Grow, Unit D4) justified with a reference to the UN Convention on Narcotic Drugs, adopted 58 years earlier (!),

– The equally sudden introduction into the registry on ‘Novel Food‘, by DG Sante, Unit E2, of a sibylline note completely incompatible with the legitimate expectation of the administrated towards certainty of rules. ‘Le Specific national regulations may restrict the placing on the market of this product [‘some hemp-derived products‘] as a food or food ingredient in some member states.’ So as to create uncertainty instead of resolving it, which is precisely the responsibility of the European Commission.

On 3/22/19 we recorded the European Commission’s about-face. Which – following written question by MEP Marco Zullo, who followed up on our complaint – just as quickly cancelled the bans introduced a few weeks earlier. Cannabidiol and hemp seed oil have thus been readmitted among the ingredients allowed in the ‘CosIng‘ registry.

On 4/26/19, the European Commission made the third about-turn. (2) Vice President Jyrki Katainen-the outgoing commissioner for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness-provided the most mocking answers imaginable to the Honorable Marco Zullo:

– food use Of hemp derivatives and in food. The Commission does not even mention the need for clarity. ‘When food business operators are unsure whether a food falls within the scope of the Novel Food Regulation, they should consult the member state into which they intend to introduce the novel food‘. So says the Commissioner and as much is found on the ‘Novel Food Catalogue,’(3)

cosmetic use. The Commission misrepresented in the most blatant way the nature of the 1961 UN Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Theorizing a ban on the use of plant-derived cannabidiol in cosmetic products ‘when prepared as a cannabis extract, tincture or resin.’ Regardless of the established absence of psychotropic effects in such a natural substance. And at the same time instead, ‘according to CosIng, hemp seed oil and synthetic cannabidiol are not banned.’ (4)

The distance between the real world and the halls of Brussels has reached a paradox. On the one hand, the Commission admits the asymmetry of rules on the marketing of natural extracts of industrial hemp; on the other hand, its own ‘Joint Research Center‘ (JRC) is concerned about preventing fraud on oils with CBD readily available on the market. (5)

CBD, the maneuvers of
Big Pharma

Big Pharma
has moved swiftly into the control rooms. To the Commission-where Jyrki Katainenin (former prime minister of Finland) is vice president-and to the European Parliament. Indeed, the Strasbourg Assembly adopted, on 13.4.19, a resolution ‘on the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes‘ that shows us the scenario envisioned by the lobbies of the chemical and pharmaceutical giants. (6)

Parliament’s resolution European remote-controlled by Big Pharma Indeed, it aims to trace cannabinoids, which are naturally contained at Cannabis Sativa L., to the exclusive pharmaceutical commercial destiny. It is acknowledged that ‘

CBD has no toxic properties or causes addiction

‘ e ‘

the cannabis plant consists of several other cannabinoids such as cannabichromene, cannabinol, cannabidiolic acid, cannabigerol and tetrahydrocannabivarin, which may have neuroprotective effects


Non-psychoactive cannabinoids, the Strasbourg Assembly acknowledges, ‘are able to help reduce certain symptoms in patients-such as chronic pain, inflammation and bacterial infections-and can stimulate bone growth.’ Even, ‘A review of the existing scientific literature on cannabis used in medical settings [which certainly does not come from the scholasticism of these petty politicians, ed.] Provides conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis and cannabinoids have therapeutic effects, such as in treating‘ of a range of symptoms and discomforts, pathological and physiological.

The health properties of hemp extracts are referred to the mitigation of ‘chronic pain in adults‘, the ‘treatment of nausea and vomiting‘ and ‘of patients suffering from disorders related to anxiety, post-traumatic stress syndrome and depression‘. Cannabinoids – according to the ‘conclusive and substantial scientific evidence‘ cited by Parliament – are also helpful in mitigating symptoms ‘of Alzheimer’s disease, osteoarthritis, asthma, cancer, Crohn’s disease and glaucoma and also help reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes and relieve menstrual pain‘.

A miracle plant, there is no question. Precisely for this reason, Big Pharma, after extolling its virtues that will be able to bring lucrative profits to the pharmaceutical industry, raises the barriers to competitors in agriculture and food processing. Thus the MEPs at his command, after ruling out the risk of CBD addiction, evoked this same specter along with that of drug trafficking and possible inappropriate uses, including by minors, of the substances whose virtues have just been illustrated.

Schifo is the only comment addressed to all greedy politicians and faithless bureaucrats. Who serve the oligarchy of industrial finance in antithesis to the legitimate interests of citizens and patients, farmers and food processors.

A cohesive reaction from below

– involving all social partners interested in the development of a sustainable and promising supply chain, for the economy and health-seems to be the only solution to deal with this obstruction.


Dario Dongo


(1) Zora Milenkovic. (2018). ‘

Here Comes Cannabis – How Legalisation Will Disrupt Global Industries.

‘ Euromonitor International.


(2) Written answer 26.4.19 from the European Commission to Hon. Marco Zullo, on


(3) V. ‘Novel Food Catalogue‘, voice Cannabis Sativa L., on http://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/novel_food/catalogue/search/public/index.cfm

(4) V. ‘

Cosmetic Ingredients Database

‘ (Cosing), at


(5) See meeting minutes ‘

EU Food Fraud Network

‘, JRC, March 2019. Case studies on CBD on page 49 of the paper https://ec.europa.eu/knowledge4policy/sites/know4pol/files/jrc115861_1st_kcffq_meeting_report.pdf

(6) European Parliament resolution of February 13, 2019 on the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, 2018/2775 (RSP), on


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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.