Cannabidiol (CBD) oil will be available over the counter in Belgian pharmacies starting from Monday 10 February.
Up until now, CBD oil was only available in pharmacies on prescription, or in CBD shops or online, where the quality cannot always be guaranteed.
Amophar, a Belgian pharmaceutical company, is launching a new product based on CBD. "We already have around hundred points of sale," said Maxime Costa, the managing director of Amophar, reports Het Nieuwsblad.
Legally, the product is located in a grey zone. "We are required to put 'not fit for consumption' on the box in Belgium. In the Netherlands, you may say that the customer can take one to two drops three times a day, but in Belgium, you may not," he said, reports De Standaard.
"Over the past year, as the demand for CBD has clearly increased, there was a real need for a controlled alternative to expensive pharmaceutical compounding. Cannabidiol needs to be available in pharmacies and not just on the street," said pharmacist Mieke Leroy, reports BX1. "Pharmacists are trained to guide and advise people on this issue. We also know the patient's history, and know that the same quality cannot be offered by a CBD store under any circumstances," she added.
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Amophar buys CBD in powder form in the US, and has it mixed with coconut oil here in Belgium. "Legally, the product has no statute. It's not a drug, but we produce it as if it were a drug. Moreover, with 0.025% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol - the psychoactive substance in cannabis), CBD-Phar contains much less than the permitted 0.2%," said Costa.
"Our product is manufactured in a pharmaceutical environment and then analysed by an accredited and independent laboratory. This way, we offer a reliable alternative to CBD stores, where people often don't know what the product contains," he added.
"Often, the THC content of their products is higher than what is legally permitted. Thanks to our certificate of analysis, we can prove that we do not exceed this legal threshold and that the amount of CBD in our products is also correct," Costa added.
"Proponents say CBD helps against spasms, epilepsy, chronic pains and much more," said toxicologist Jan Tytgat, reports Het Nieuwsblad. "The evidential value is not the same for all conditions, but it is not a placebo. Both CBD and THC have proven pharmacology. Based on the available literature, it seems that CBD would work better in tandem with THC, more than the permitted 0.2%. A drug containing both substances would then have a greater chance of being used as a medicine," he added
The Brussels Times