Hemp containing active ingredient cannabidiol (CBD) can now be bought in Swiss branches of German discount supermarket chain Lidl.
Start-up company The Botanicalsexternal link, from Thurgau in northeastern Switzerland, will be supplying Lidlexternal link with pure hemp flowers grown exclusively in Switzerland in partially automated greenhouses and specially designed indoor facilities.
They say they support sustainable agriculture and are totally renouncing the use of chemical, synthetic or genetically modified substances. To guarantee the best possible hemp, it is obtained according to the Good Agricultural and Collection Practiceexternal link guidelines of the European Medicines Agency.
The hemp flowers, which are produced as a tobacco replacement intended to be used in roll-up cigarettes, are available in Lidl stores in French and German-speaking Switzerland. A 1.5-gram packet costs CHF17.99 ($18.60).
Health and addiction experts are less enthusiastic about the normalisation of a product whose effects remain relatively unknown.
Addiction Suisse, a foundation battling problems of addictive substances, said last year that “caution remains the watchword.” It pointed out it was particularly important to avoid CBD ingestion during pregnancy, because the protective function of the placenta could be modified.
While the Federal Office of Public Health recognised the potentially useful therapeutic effects of the “drug” – anti-oxidising, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsive – it pointed out that “its medicinal effect is for now not clearly ascertained by research”.