The Cannabis Act officially came into force in Canada on October 17, 2018. The regulations provide a legal and regulatory framework for controlling the production, sale, distribution and possession of cannabis in Canada which will affect its use in cosmetics. A prime example of this new structure includes a formal license requirement to manufacture cannabis products even if they do NOT contain THC and this includes most products derived from industrial hemp. Companies selling cosmetic products with cannabis grain derivatives that are exempt from the Cannabis Act under the Industrial Hemp Regulations(IHR) should ensure they are familiar with the IHR requirements as well.
On June 14, 2019, Health Canada announced new regulations for edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals and amended the Cannabis Regulations published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on June 26, 2019. This officially came into force on October 17, 2019. These new regulations now allow for the legal sale of additional classes of cannabis products:
- edible cannabis
- cannabis extracts
- cannabis topicals
Topical products intended to be marketed as cosmetics that contain cannabis (other than permitted hemp derivatives) are exempt from the Food and Drugs Act, and are therefore not considered cosmetics. These particular products are referred to the Controlled Substances and Cannabis Branch.
Some examples of ingredients that are considered to fall under the jurisdiction of the Cannabis Act and Regulations:
- Cannabis Sativa Flower Extract
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
It should be noted that this applies even if extracted from hemp plants.
Ensuring accuracy for the use of specific ingredient names is required on both packaging and when completing Cosmetic Notifications to avoid any issues with Health Canada. For example: listing “Cannabis sativa” as your ingredient would not be appropriate since only specific Cannabis sativa derivatives are permitted in cosmetics. Using specific ingredient names like “Cannabis sativa seed oil” will facilitate processing of the notification and ensure your label is accurate assuming your sourced ingredient applies.
Health Canada officials are in an early stage of potentially developing a more comprehensive approach with the industry on health and wellness products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived ingredients vs topical recreational products & ingestible. A “Science Advisory Panel” will be discussing some of the key ‘science needs’ to better inform their policy development and more information will follow on this topic later this year.