The relationship between the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) and CBD is a complex one, to say the least. Ever since the famed herbal extract won the heart of millions, and managed to ink a legality deal (Farm Act 2018) with the senate and congress, there have been plenty of things left unsaid.
The current CBD regulations set in place for the FDA by Congress is insufficient to properly regulate hemp-derived CBD. An FDA hearing that was conducted on CBD shows that the FDA is very well informed of the progress of CBD, and aims to fully correct the discrepancies. The question as to what the regulatory framework of their proposal will be is still anyone’s guess.
Let us take a look at where the FDA and CBD relationship will progress towards as per the aftermath of the recent hearing in June 2019.
The Re-Legalization Of Hemp
It was after increased public pressure that the senate bowed under pressure and the Farm Bill of 2014 was included in the provision so as to allow for states to set up pilot programs for further exploration and subsequent boosting on the commercial aspects of hemp. It was defined in the bill that industrial hemp is cannabis sativa plant that contains a permissible THC limit of 0.3% or less. This then began the reintroduction of hemp-derived substances and products into the market, especially that of CBD. CBD is considered a drug, and the FDA is tasked with the monitoring of these programs and on advising on the policies.
Over time, in the next four years came the Farm Bill 2018, wherein the pilot program was scrapped in favor of full recognition at a federal level for industrial hemp. This meant that hemp was no longer in the same class of Controlled drugs, as its illicit sister.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was tasked with managing of the nation’s hemp interests, whereas the FDA would be responsible for setting and creating regulations and enforcing them using a regulatory framework. With the regulatory framework in place, the relationship between suppliers, processors, CBD producers and FDA would be structured and the citizens would have access to safe CBD products.
Sounds great, right? But trouble was brewing below the surface.
After The Farm Bill 2018 Was Passed
In the month of December 2018, the signing of the bill meant a change in the hemp landscape virtually overnight! The federal agencies were struggling to keep up with the sudden lifting up of restrictions, both within the bodies that were tasked with regulating it and other departments such as TSA (Transportation and Security) and FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Such agencies found themselves looking left and right when they found themselves dealing with new cargo and exactly what it was meant when it was laid down that people could travel with CBD. The legality of CBD was understood, but what scenarios were legal, was still up for questions.
With no proper regulations set in place, the CBD scene exploded and before you knew it, the market was littered with new manufacturers and products. Consumers had varied experiences- some good, others bad and the rest plain ugly!
The FDA was on its heels trying to control the situation in hand by means of passing on warning letters and policy statements that address the badly defined CBD issues that were not under the guidelines of the FDA-CBD regulations. Based on this very policy, none of the active ingredients must be used as a food additive without the green signal from the FDA. After this, there was a ban on CBD use in commercial beverages and foods.
They prompted the health department of New York city to issue a ban on its inclusion in menu items, which became a rage in upscale restaurants and establishments.
Basically, all hell was breaking loose.
The FDA’s July Hearing
It was public knowledge that CBD would be the topic of discussion, but it is welcome news that industry professionals were hopeful for, as a means for a step towards a safer, consistent industry for consumers.
The results of the hearing were positive for the CBD community in terms of better regulation. Based on the statements made and the questions posed, the FDA is expected to make a well-reasoned, science-based approach towards managing the hemp-derivative market.
Over the course of the hearing, questions were being posed regarding the scope of the market, the opinion of CBD manufacturers, public health officials, advocates on the various issues that needed to be addressed so as to better protect the interest of the consumers and to make it safer for the masses- This is key for responsible market growth over the years.
Even at this point, it is too early to expect a permanent resolution on the matter immediately, but there is relief in knowing that the CBD and FDA representatives are interested in finding common ground.