CBD rules are on the move with most recent input at FDA hearings

CBD rules are on the move with most recent input at FDA hearings

The biggest FDA hearing in recent memory took place in Washington last week, as 120 companies and interest groups testified on CBD regulations.

Last week, we reported at the Nothing But Hemp Blog that this is the first step toward any kind of clarity on Food and Drug Administration guidance for hemp and CBD products, but in the wake of the hearing itself, divisiveness seems to have ruled the day.

The New York Times reports that while the number of hemp companies, industry groups, CBD consumers and anti-cannabis agitators who applied to speak at the hearing was over 400, only 120 parties were given a five-minute slot for testimony. [1]

With industry estimates for cannabis valuation placing markets at $16 billion by 2025 on the conservative side, there’s no wonder why the Washington campus of the FDA was swarmed by those interested in reigning in the lucrative, life-changing industry for hemp products. [1]

People all over the U.S. have been using hemp and CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabis compound, for their anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, forms of epilepsy and a throng of other everyday problems that make a happy life harder to enjoy.

This has grown rapidly in popularity after the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, but the FDA insists that CBD in food and drink products is still not allowed.

The New York Times reported that while academics testifying at the FDA on Friday raised concerns over the amount and quality of trials brought to bear on CBD, the World Health Organization has found that “CBD is generally well tolerated, with a good safety profile and no addictive effects.” [1]

"Questions remain regarding the safety considerations raised by the widespread use of these products," FDA officials wrote in a statement on the hearing, according to National Public Radio. "These questions could impact the approaches we consider taking in regulating the development and marketing of products.” [2]

The FDA has no coherent or even ostensible timeline for regulating CBD, despite industry fervor and the feeling of urgency from opponents as well. [2]

Previously, Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told news sources that although he personally helped set up the FDA inquiry into CBD that included Friday’s hearing, legislators in Congress should take up the issue if they don’t want CBD markets strangled while FDA regulators spend years forming clear guidelines for regulating the products.

This seems to be missing from much of the coverage that has seized on the FDA, where reporters and industry leaders wait on unelected bureaucrats to determine the fate of American farmers and consumers based on how they feel after testimony like they heard Friday.


[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/31/health/cannabis-fda-regulate.html

[2] https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/05/31/728370966/as-cbd-oils-become-more-popular-the-fda-is-looking-at-how-they-should-be-regulat

[3] https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/5-takeaways-from-the-fdas-hearing-on-cbd

[4] https://www.nothingbuthemp.net/blog/preview-friday-will-bring-big-moves-at-the-fda-here-s-what-you-need-to-know