FDA Mulls Over CBD Regulation


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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is apparently eyeing new regulations for certain CBD products, with an announcement from the federal agency expected in the coming months. 

The Wall Street Journal, citing agency officials, reported this week that the FDA is “studying whether legal cannabis is safe in food or supplements and plans to make recommendations for how to regulate the growing number of cannabis-derived products in the coming months.” 

“Given what we know about the safety of CBD so far, it raises concerns for FDA about whether these existing regulatory pathways for food and dietary supplements are appropriate for this substance,” Janet Woodcock, the Food and Drug Administration’s principal deputy commissioner, told the Wall Street Journal.

According to the newspaper, Woodcock has “led the agency’s efforts looking at cannabis regulation.”

Reuters reports that, “after weighing the evidence on the compound’s safety, the FDA will decide within months how to regulate legal cannabis and whether that will require new agency rules or new legislation from Congress.” 

The outlet noted that, following the Wall Street Journal’s report on the news, “shares of U.S.-listed cannabis companies were down between 5% and 9% in afternoon trade.” 

CBD products have exploded in the American marketplace over the last four years following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized industrial hemp production. 

But the products have outpaced regulation, which has caused some state and federal officials to scramble in order to play catch up. 

Earlier this year, regulators in Idaho began enforcing a ban of CBD pet supplements, saying that the state’s “new law did not legalize hemp in every setting or product type.”

“Similarly, Idaho law does not recognize hemp as a feed or remedy ingredient. Safe levels of hemp and hemp-derived products in animal feed have not yet been established under federal or state law. As such, these products are not approved feed ingredients and cannot lawfully be added to or incorporated into commercial feed. This includes feeds, treats and remedies intended for pets, livestock, or any other animal,” the Idaho Department of Agriculture said in a memorandum. 

“As hemp manufacturing begins to take place in Idaho, ISDA is working with new hemp licensees and animal feed companies to understand what is legal in the state. Interest in hemp animal feeds and remedies has grown significantly, and these products are known to be available online and in retail stores. We recognize that some states have adopted laws and rules that allow for hemp to be included in human and animal foods,” the deparmtnet added.

The lack of regulation has resulted in some consumers being duped about the CBD products that they are buying.

A study from Johns Hopkins Medicine that was released in July found that many such products are incorrectly labeled. 

The researchers found that 18% of the products they analyzed contained 10% less CBD than what was advertised on the label, while another 58% contained 10% more CBD than what was listed. Less than a quarter of the products contained the same amount of CBD as was advertised. 

“Misleading labels can result in people using poorly regulated and expensive CBD products instead of FDA approved products that are established as safe and effective for a given health condition,” said the study’s lead author, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Tory Spindle.

“Recent research has shown that people who use CBD products containing even small amounts of THC could potentially test positive for cannabis using a conventional drug test,” Spindle added.



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