Much to the chagrin of industry stakeholders and businesses, the FDA announced in January that it will not regulate CBD.
This announcement came as a disappointment to those in the CBD industry who were waiting on bated breath for the FDA to finally regulate CBD – allowing the industry to reach heights that have been out of grasp without the support of the FDA. Unfortunately, there have yet to be any sighs of relief as the FDA places the ball in Congress’s court to determine the best path towards regulation.
But what does this mean for the future of the CBD industry and how will it impact progress?
While we have yet to see how Congress will respond, the importance of compliance and certifications for companies marketing CBD consumables will be more important than ever.
In this article we will look closer at the FDA’s decision, what led up to it, and how the industry is responding.
How the 2018 Farm Bill Carved a New Path for CBD Products
In 2018, President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into effect, opening more doors for hemp derived goods, including CBD. This year, the bill will go through Congress again, and a 2023 version of the Farm Bill will become law.
With a net worth exceeding $800 million, the industry needs a clear regulatory path for CBD to reach its full potential as a major asset to the US economy. The signing of the 2018 Farm Bill sparked hope that the FDA would soon be compelled to agree to regulate CBD. While the announcement made last month pumped the brakes on that train, that doesn’t mean hope is lost by a long shot.
Why Did the FDA Dash Hopes for CBD Regulation?
In a statement from the FDA, they expressed concern over the current food and dietary supplement authority’s ability to properly manage the regulation of CBD products. Thus, they are asking Congress to work with them on building the framework needed to create a regulatory pathway that adequately addresses the oversight of CBD products.
The FDA’s Principal Deputy Commissioner, Janet Woodcock, also posed some potential regulatory measures to consider.
“Some risk management tools could include clear labels, prevention of contaminants, CBD content limits, and measures, such as minimum purchase age, to mitigate the risk of ingestion by children. In addition, a new pathway could provide access and oversight for certain CBD-containing products for animals.”
How is the CBD Industry Responding to the Decision?
Following the FDA’s announcement, the U.S. Hemp Roundtable also released a statement expressing their concerns over the FDA’s claims regarding the safety of CBD products.
“When it comes to the safety of CBD, the FDA gets it wrong. Contrary to the FDA’s continued assertions regarding the safety of CBD, there is clear, established evidence of safety over the years. CBD products have been sold at retail for nearly a decade with no significant safety issues (...) The FDA continues to rely on pharmaceutical studies that show risk at significantly larger doses that are not commonly found in CBD products sold at retail.”
This statement mirrors the sentiment expressed by other industry leaders who also find inconsistencies in how the FDA came to their conclusion that CBD products lack the studies and evidence needed to demonstrate their safety for consumers.
The Roundtable also disagrees with the FDA’s claim that it currently lacks the proper tools to regulate CBD. They go on to cite seven requirements currently imposed by the FDA, which they believe adequately meet regulatory needs of CBD products to demonstrate safety and compliance
The group went on to express their eagerness to work with the FDA and Congress to utilize the existing framework to ensure the safety and quality of CBD products going to U.S. consumers.
Why Compliance and Safety are Essential to the Progress of CBD
When it comes to the regulation of CBD in the U.S., the FDA will continue to take action on CBD and intoxicating cannabinoids until lawmakers act on the best path forward. In the meantime, CBD advocates and industry leaders will have to work together to ensure that only the best products get into the hands of consumers in states where these products are legal.
From sourcing cannabinoids with ethical practices – that meet stringent safety standards – to certifications that highlight a brand’s commitment to the promise of a top quality CBD product, there are many ways the industry can assuage the anxieties of naysayers and push for the regulation of CBD products.
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