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What Went Down at the FDA’s CBD Hearing?


As many of you may know, the Food and Drug Administration held a day-long hearing last week on the topic of cannabidiol (CBD). This is seen by many as the first step in the FDA taking regulatory control over the CBD industry, something not everyone is enthusiastic about.

But with fears about the unregulated nature of CBD being prevalent and the government being, well, the government, don’t be surprised if the FDA has a lot to say about many aspects of how CBD is sold and used.

In his opening remarks, FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless highlighted those fears. “There are real risks associated with [THC and CBD] and critical questions remain about the safety of their widespread use in foods and dietary supplements,” he said.

“While we have seen an explosion of interest in products containing CBD, there is still much that we don’t know. What if someone applies a topical CBD lotion, consumes a CBD beverage or candy and consumes some CBD oil? How much is too much?”

There were over 100 speakers who testified at the hearing; one of those speakers was Jonathan Miller, the General Counsel for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable. “Our main focus is trying to remove this cloud over this industry as it grows in skyrocketing fashion,” Jonathan told The Marijuana Times about the thrust of his testimony. He said that the FDA’s current stance that CBD is not legal for use as a dietary supplement or food additive has created a great amount of confusion in the marketplace.

“We’ve seen some state agencies opine that because of the FDA’s guidance that it would be illegal to sell those products in their states and we’ve seen even in rare cases law enforcement officials either seizing products or even arresting people” for selling CBD products, Jonathan told us.

For their part, Jonathan said, the U.S. Hemp Roundtable would like to see the FDA “expeditiously” set up fair regulations for the industry that clear up the confusion and reflect the relative safety of CBD shown by multiple studies.

According to Jonathan, much of the testimony at the hearing was focused on the safety of CBD products and the demand for them, as well as looking for the best way to make hemp-derived CBD products available to the public in a safe and effective manner.

And although Jonathan said he recognizes the important job the FDA has to do, it’s important to remember that “this product is not new; it’s been out on the market for years. There have been a lot of safety studies that have been done [on CBD].”

For those who still want to weigh in on the CBD issue with the FDA, public comments are being taken until July 2nd. A look through the 1,300+ comments posted as of this writing shows them to be almost exclusively positive, mostly testimonials from people who use CBD to treat a wide variety of ailments.

Hopefully the FDA finds a way to provide clarity in the industry while not harnessing it with so much regulation that they hurt the very people being helped by CBD currently.