Health Canada releases guidance document on intoxicating cannabinoids, including CBN

| Sarah Clark

Health Canada has released guidance for cannabis producers on cannabis products with intoxicating cannabinoids other than delta-9-THC, including CBN.

Following up on a guidance document first floated to industry in early 2023, the federal health regulatory is now providing guidance on cannabis products intentionally or “deliberately” made with what it considers intoxicating cannabinoids other than delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC).

Health Canada considers “intoxicating cannabinoids” as any cannabinoids that bind to and activate the type 1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1 receptor). The regulator says that any producer that intentionally includes any of these intoxicating cannabinoids in cannabis products for the purpose of getting around the federal regulatory controls on delta-9-THC could be increasing the risks to public health and public safety. 

Those intoxicating cannabinoids include:

  • delta-8-THC
  • delta-10-THC
  • delta-6a-10a-THC
  • THC-O-acetate (THC-O)
  • cannabinol (CBN)
  • hexahydrocannabinol (HHC)
  • tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
  • tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP)
  • tetrahydrocannabutol (THCB)

Because of this, Health Canada currently “recommends” that cannabis licence holders apply the specific controls for delta-9-THC to all cannabis products made to deliberately contain intoxicating cannabinoids.

This means that any of these currently listed intoxicating cannabinoids would adhere to the same restrictions and limits for total THC in cannabis products, such as the 10mg THC limit for edibles and the 1,000 mg THC limit for topicals and concentrates, including vape pens and carts.

This means that an edible product with, for example, 8 mg THC per package, could also only contain no more than 2 mg of any of these minor intoxicating cannabinoids.

Earlier this year, Alberta’s provincial distributor, the AGLC, had reportedly told some cannabis producers that it was including CBN within the federal 10mg THC limit for edibles. The AGLC says this was based on guidance from Health Canada, but was using a guidance document Health Canada published earlier this year that made no reference to CBN, only delta-8-THC and delta-10-THC.  

They quickly reversed their decision.

Since that time, sources close to the issue tell StratCann that Health Canada has engaged some in the industry on the inclusion of CBN to this list of minor intoxicating cannabinoids. In general, any such changes to federal regulations include several layers of industry feedback and guidance documents to give industry time to adjust. 

Products with CBN are already available in the market in several provinces.

Cannabis products containing CBN available on the

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