On March 26, the National Institutes for Food and Drug Control (NIFDC), announced a proposal to introduce legislation that would prohibit the use of cannabis and cannabis extracts in cosmetics.
The ban would include raw materials such as cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabis sativa kernel fruit, cannabis sativa seed oil, as well as cannabis sativa leaf.
Asia Horizon is Chinese hemp company that distributes Westerns CBD brands in Asia ranging from cosmetics to health supplements. Last year, the firm partnered with German CBD beauty brand Nordic Cosmetics to enter China via online flagship store on Chinese e-commerce platform Tmall – its first venture bringing in a Western CBD brand into APAC.
Brian Sheng, founder and CEO of Asia Horizon suggested that China could look to Hong Kong, as an example of how to regulate CBD cosmetic products.
“It's pretty straightforward. Right now, if you’re shipping into Hong Kong, you have to show that your product tests have non-detectable levels of THC. If you’re don’t do that, or if you’re caught with product that do have THC, you will be severely penalised.”
He also suggested that China should classify the hemp products clearly to avoid any potential confusion among consumers.
“If you’re importing cannabinoids, you shouldn't say that it's cannabis seed oil. It will also help to clear up that this product is for industrial purposes and is not a drug. There could be more clarity on the wording used in the classification or ingredient list.”
Sheng told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that the firm will be writing into NIFDC to put forth these suggestions and highlight the positive effects of CBD in beauty.
Stricter regulations ahead?
As previously reported, Chinese authorities were considering this ban for a few reasons, including its anti-drug stance and concerns over the reliability of THC testing methods.
However, Sheng believes the proposal is a sign that China is starting to work towards stricter regulation of CBD beauty.
“We have to ask why ban hemp seeds and oil alongside CBD when they have always been legal? With the global rise of CBD and hemp products, there are a lot of mislabelled products or intentionally deceptive products out in the market. It’s possible that these things are happening.
“I have a more optimistic view that China is starting to embrace regulation of CBD. It will take some time for them to figure out what is the right way to regulate it, but they will open it up in a more controlled fashion.”
He added that this is ‘just how China controls things’ citing similarities in how it sought to control nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) or nicotine vaporisers in the market.
“There are 1.4 billion people in China, its not a small city like Hong Kong. If you watch how things are regulated in China, they put a stop to it first then properly regulate things.