The CBD industry has taken off. Since the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp products federally legal in the United States, it has become easier than ever for people to get their hands on CBD Oils, Edibles, Topicals, and all kinds of other cannabidiol-infused products.
Unlike THC products, CBD products don’t get you high and, according to research, won’t cause any serious side effects. However, there is still a need for regulation, especially with many stores selling mislabeled and unreliable CBD products. As such, the FDA has begun to step in and take steps towards CBD regulation.
Recently, it was announced that the FDA would hold its first hearing on CBD. The hearing took place on May 31, 2019, and attracted over 110 speakers who vouched for why CBD should or shouldn’t be regulated. The FDA is now accepting comments on cannabis-derived products as it heads further towards regulation. Here’s more on FDA’s CBD hearing and what to expect.
FDA holds its first hearing on CBD
Since hemp-based CBD products became legal, the market has had an enormous boom. Market research reports estimate that the CBD market will hit $22 billion by 2022. CBD products made with hemp extracts are now widely available in everywhere from health stores to smoke shops, giving users a legal way to get their hands on them.
So far, the FDA has not done much to regulate the industry, other than making Epidiolex, a cannabis-infused epilepsy medication, legal. Now, the FDA is taking steps towards stricter regulations for CBD products, starting with its first hearing which took place at the end of May.
Forbes reported that the hearing attracted many speakers from throughout the industry presenting their viewpoints on how the industry should be regulated. Quality assurance was a major talking point. For instance, Peter Pitts of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest notes that stricter guidelines are needed to ensure the quality of products and what exactly they can do for users. Many speakers noted that many mislabeled products are on the market, identifying a clear need for regulations on quality.
There was also a call for more support for the research of cannabis and cannabis-derived products and guidelines on how patients should use them. For instance, despite many studies being carried out on CBD, there are still no regulatory guidelines on how much CBD users should take. Users are often left to determine dosages on their own, despite many doctors recommending CBD to patients.
The point was also brought up that many epileptic patients have found CBD to be highly useful for their symptoms. Dr. Jacqueline French of the Epilepsy Foundation noted, “It has been proven in randomized controlled trials of Epidiolex (a drug that contains CBD), that in high enough concentrations it can stop seizures.” She went on to point out that taking CBD products with high concentrations of CBD off the market could be highly detrimental to epileptic patients.
The FDA now plans to take further steps and is currently accepting comments on CBD until July 2, 2019. Dr. Norman Sharpless stated in a speech: “Docket comments will help inform FDA as we consider the important policy options related to the regulation of products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds.”
FDA accepting comments on CBD until July 2
The FDA is now inviting comments in their public docket. Stakeholders, attendees, and even members of the public are able to submit their comments regarding CBD and how it should be regulated. The FDA will take note of these comments and use the information they collect to inform their decision on how to go about regulating cannabis and cannabis-derived products.
The docket has currently attracted around 2,500 comments from those interested in the regulation of CBD products. Many users have come forward to state how CBD has helped them with things like back pain, arthritis, and PTSD. Large organizations have also given their input. For instance, Ben & Jerry’s recently stated that they had submitted a comment to the FDA in support of CBD regulation amidst their plans to launch a CBD Ice Cream.
The FDA is currently planning to start providing findings from its internal working group in August and taking matters further from there. From there, it’s likely that stricter regulations could be set when it comes to cannabis-derived products and CBD in particular.
Why regulate CBD?
With the massive growth of the market, the FDA has decided to step in and regulate these products. Although no health problems have been identified with CBD, there are still some important reasons why regulation is necessary. For instance, a 2018 study found that the majority of products sold online are mislabeled. These products either contained too much THC or too little CBD, misleading users and potentially causing unwanted side effects and failed drug tests.
CBD is now widely available, and despite the lack of regulation in the industry, consumers are swarming to these products for all kinds of reasons. A cross-sectional study of CBD users found that 62% of CBD users reported using CBD to treat medical conditions such as pain, anxiety, and sleep disorders. Many also report finding it useful for helping with their symptoms. Similarly, a large-scale study on CBD users by HelloMD and the Brightfield Group found that 80% of CBD users found it to be extremely effective for their symptoms.
Regulation of CBD products would mean stricter quality guidelines, more substantial research done on the uses and effects of CBD, and clearer guidelines and how patients should use it. With the massive growing support in favor of CBD, it’s very likely that there will be positive changes in the future.
The first FDA hearing on CBD attracted many speakers who pointed out both the positive and negative aspects of the substance. The general consensus seems to be that CBD can be highly useful, but stricter regulation is needed to avoid poor quality products and support further research into how it can be used. As of right now, users are able to obtain hemp-based CBD products legally from stores across the United States and buy CBD online.