Health food and hemp industry groups are calling on Ottawa to change the regulations for CBD to treat the cannabinoid as a natural health product rather than a drug.

The Canadian Health Food Association and the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance say CBD, a non-intoxicating compound which can be derived from cannabis and hemp, should be removed from the prescription drug list.

The groups also asked in a joint paper for a regulatory pathway to allow for CBD derived from industrial hemp to be included in natural health products and supplemented foods, with the appropriate therapeutic and wellness claims.

Since Canada legalized pot for recreational use in October, CBD is regulated similarly to cannabis products and must be purchased through a legal recreational retailer or, for medical patients, through a licensed producer or seller.

Natural health products in Canada, however, must be safe to be used as an over-the-counter product but do not require a prescription to be sold.

The groups argue that CBD, or cannabidiol, does not produce a high and there is a growing body of evidence of its potential therapeutic uses.