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CBN, THCV among those hit with Health Canada limits

Published on December 7, 2023 by David Wylie

Gummies that contain CBN Photo: David Wylie/the oz.
Health Canada is putting strict limits on minor cannabinoids, including CBN.

As cannabis producers flirt with higher amounts of minor cannabinoids in their products, such as CBN, the federal government is firing a warning shot.

Health Canada says cannabis producers should be applying the same standard to different “intoxicating” cannabinoids as they do for THC. That means, for example, the total amount of CBN and THC added together can’t exceed the 10mg cap per edible or beverage.

CBN, which is becoming increasingly popular in edibles, is among Health Canada’s list of targeted cannabinoids, as well as Delta-8 THC and THCV. All have shown evidence of binding to and activating the CB1 receptor.

For cannabis consumers, this means even tighter restrictions and further limitations to the kinds of products they will see in stores.

While CBG and CBC are also being increasingly marketed in edibles, they are so far exempt.

“We may revise this list as new evidence becomes available about these, and other potential intoxicating cannabinoids,” says the federal department’s recently issued guidance document.

CBN can make you sleepy

There’s evidence that CBN has a sedating effect. Some of the popular products currently in the Canadian legal cannabis space that include CBN are Pearls and Spinach gummies, as well as Kiva chocolates. They are often subtly touted as sleep aids.

“We understand that not all intoxicating cannabinoids may cause the same level or type of effects as delta-9-THC,” says Health Canada. “However, we don’t have enough evidence to fully understand the effect of these other intoxicating cannabinoids relative to delta-9-THC, either alone, or in combination with others.”

The government says that deliberately including intoxicating cannabinoids to cannabis products to circumvent regulatory controls could increase health and safety risks.

Cannabis producers face action

As for compliance and enforcement, Health Canada says:

“We strongly encourage licensed processors to follow the recommended specific controls for cannabis products deliberately made with intoxicating cannabinoids other than delta-9-THC.”

It adds, “Health Canada asks licensed processors to undertake actions to address public health and public safety risks or non-compliance with the Act and the Regulations. However, we may take enforcement measures, if required, in order to mitigate the risks to public health or public safety.”