ASTM launches standard for international symbol for intoxicating cannabinoids


A new ASTM International standard seeks to create an internationally recognized symbol that indicates a product contains intoxicating cannabinoids. The ASTM Cannabis Technical Committee, D37, developed the standard for the International Symbol for Intoxicating Cannabinoid Products (IICPS).

The International Symbol for Intoxicating Cannabinoids (IICPS)

The standard is labeled D8441/D8441M and is intended for use with all consumer end products, including topical use, ingestion, and inhalation. ASTM International members David L. Nathan, MD and Eli Nathan designed the symbol with a group of D37 volunteers led by Martha Bajec, PhD of HCD Research. The symbol was developed simultaneously by Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR) and the D37.04 Cannabis Processing and Handling Subcommittee. The symbol is designed “to create a truly universal cannabinoid product symbol, aware of its importance as a means of communicating to adults and children the need to be careful with products containing cannabinoids,” says Dr. Nathan. “The symbol has the potential to facilitate a spirit of collaboration between experts, regulators and all other players in the cannabis industry.”

Darwin Millard, subcommittee vice chair for ASTM D37.04 and subcommittee co-chair for ASTM D37.07, says this is perhaps one of the most important standards to come out of the committee. “It serves to establish a harmonized warning symbol that is truly international,” says Millard. “It is not intended to replace symbols that have already been established, but rather for use by markets that have not yet established a symbol.” As more markets adopt the symbol, the hope is that markets with their own symbol will harmonize with the ASTM symbol over time.

Millard says the symbol uses the ISO standard warning triangle, the orange/yellow ANSI standard warning and defines a standardized icon for cannabinoids, the leaf. “There are a number of cannabinoids that are intoxicating, not just delta-9-THC, so the symbol is designed to be used to identify any cannabinoid that can be classified as intoxicating,” Millard explains. “The symbol does not care whether the cannabinoid is naturally derived, isolated and purified, synthesized by yeast or created in the laboratory; if it is “intoxicant” and a “cannabinoid”, the symbol can be used to identify a consumer product that contains it. “Intoxicating” was used instead of “intoxicating” or “psychoactive” because neither term is correct. Alteration was recently used by Washington State and may be worth considering later.

The IICPS became the official symbol of the state of Montana effective January 1. New Jersey and Vermont have also incorporated the IICPS design into their state symbols, already making it the most widely adopted cannabis product symbol in fully legalized states. Alaska and other states are also discussing the use of the symbol.

If you would like to contribute to the development of this and other D37 standards, we encourage you to join the committee. Additionally, they will host a free webinar on June 1 to discuss the development of the international symbol, how to use it and how the market and consumers will benefit from it.

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