Portman Group Issues First Category Guidance On CBD

The Portman Group, the social responsibility and regulatory body for alcohol in the UK, has released new guidance on the naming, packaging and promotion of alcohol products containing CBD.

Infusing alcohol products with CBD, and the rise in popularity of CBD more broadly, is a relatively new trend. While the uses and benefits of CBD are debated, the Portman Group’s Advisory Service has issued guidance in relation to the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks. The guidance is designed to aid producers in complying with the Code, should they choose to produce a CBD-infused product.

The law on the use of CBD in food and drink products is complex and the Portman Group does not imply that the inclusion of CBD in alcoholic drinks is legally permitted.  We urge producers to seek legal advice before placing products containing CBD on the market.

The guidance is intended to highlight elements producers should be aware of when marketing products in this category. It specifically pertains to Rules 3.2 (c) and (j) – association with illicit drugs and suggestion of therapeutic qualities, respectively.

The guidance stipulates that producers should avoid wording and imagery which alludes to any association with Cannabis or other illicit drugs. It also underscores the need to avoid

health and wellness claims. Factual references to CBD are acceptable, particularly when it comes to listing it as an ingredient, however CBD should not be used as a prominent product descriptor. The full guidance can be accessed here.

Speaking about the guidance, Portman Group CEO, Matt Lambert commented: “CBD is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient, and its use in alcohol products is no exception to this trend. We have responded quickly to this change in the market by issuing category guidance.

“This guidance will be crucial in helping producers understand how they may use CBD innovatively and creatively while still complying with the Code.”