The US Federal Drug Administration said last Thursday that it won’t be regulating CBD as supplements — despite them currently being sold on the market as such — because there isn’t enough evidence on the safety of CBD. The Agency also called on Congress to not only create rules, but a new framework, for the industry that’s formed around this cannabinoid, USA Today reports.
“The use of CBD raises various safety concerns, especially with long-term use,” FDA Deputy Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement. “Studies have shown the potential for harm to the liver, interactions with certain medications, and possible harm to the male reproductive system. CBD exposure is also concerning when it comes to certain vulnerable populations such as children and those who are pregnant.”
It feels like a cop-out to be concerned about the children, considering kids are the people whose backs the cannabis and CBD movement were founded. CBD helped the late Charlotte Figi treat a catastrophic form of epilepsy that prevented her from living her life. Pharmaceutical intervention didn’t reduce her seizures and reportedly made her a zombie. Cannabis and CBD were the only “medicines” that allowed her to actually live the life of a relatively normal child. So, knowing this makes it difficult to believe that “CBD exposure” would actually be harmful to children.
That said, the FDA doesn’t feel equipped to deal with the possible risks associated with CBD. “The FDA’s existing foods and dietary supplement authorities provide only limited tools for managing many of the risks associated with CBD products,” Woodcock said. “Given the available evidence, it is not apparent how CBD products could meet safety standards for dietary supplements or food additives.”
“For example, we have not found adequate evidence to determine how much CBD can be consumed, and for how long, before causing harm,” Woodcock said. “Therefore, we do not intend to pursue rule-making allowing the use of CBD in dietary supplements or conventional foods.”
While CBD is relatively benign compared to other pharmaceuticals, it is believed that CBD can interfere with other drugs due to the receptors it acts upon in the body.
It will be interesting to see how all of this works out, considering the CBD space is massively geared toward the supplements industry. Many brands are going to have to face switching up everything about their products or just continue moving forward as is. But brands beware: The FDA has warned some companies about making health claims for the ingredient, which the agency said it plans to continue doing.
New rules for regulating CBD could potentially include clear labels, regulations regarding contaminants, limits on CBD levels, and minimum purchase age. It’s unclear as of now what those regulations will be, however.
Many people are unhappy with this move by the FDA. Some lawmakers, advocates, and consumer groups have called for CBD to be allowed in foods and supplements. “Today’s announcement by the FDA underscores the urgent need for Congress and the Administration to take swift action to modernize federal cannabis policy and regulate CBD and other products appropriately and in harmony with the vast majority of states that have already legalized cannabis in some form,” Aaron Smith, CEO and founder of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“A vibrant state-regulated industry has formed to safely provide cannabinoid products and medicines to millions of Americans, which has the support of the vast majority of U.S. voters,” Smith added. “Moving forward with bipartisan federal cannabis reform this year would be both good public health policy and good politics.”