Make no mistake about it, CBD is quickly becoming a global phenomenon with massive economic potential. This unabated growth has been mostly present in North America, Europe, and parts of East Asia. That said, there is another newcomer to the CBD marketplace, Latin America, where it has been estimated that CBD sales can reach $448 million by 2023.
In late December of 2019, Anvisa, Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency rolled out comprehensive regulations for cannabidiol (CBD). Brazil’s freshly minted regulations for the sale of CBD take a different tack in comparison to the United States or Canada. For one, cannabis-based products must be prescribed by a health professional and renewed every 60 days. This includes CBD products with THC levels up to 0.2%. In the U.S. one can purchase CBD products from several retailers. This is not the case in Brazil, where it has been ruled that CBD products must be “…dispensed exclusively by unmanaged pharmacies or drugstores.”
On top of medical regulations, tight controls have been created for imports of cannabis-based products. For example, Brazilian CBD manufacturers may only import “semi-prepared raw material,” not the whole cannabis plant or part of it for production purposes. In addition to robust import regulations, the Brazilian government has also devised a strict quality control and monitoring process for cannabis products. All CBD products sent to market must be registered with the National System for the Management of Controlled Products (SNGPC). Plus, registered products must undergo laboratory analysis by the Brazilian Network of Health Analytical Laboratories (Reblas). Analytical data from the lab report must then be passed back to Anvisa, to “establish and coordinate a special product monitoring program.”
If we compare Brazil’s approach to CBD with the United States, two differences become immediately apparent. First and foremost, the U.S. government, specifically the FDA, have refused to devise a comprehensive set of regulations with proper oversight. Currently, quality control is under the purview of each state.
Another curious difference is Brazil’s insistence that CBD products need a prescription to be purchased, which is in complete opposition to the U.S.’ stance, where CBD products with less than 0.2% THC can be openly purchased online and in stores. Overall, the Brazilian approach is far more stringent.
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