FDA Vows to Act Against Unlawful CBD Products While Protecting Confidential Research

March 10, 2020 09:00:09

The U.S. cannabidiol industry has been chaotic ever since it was birthed after the 2018 Farm Bill. Although the legislation legalized the cultivation and sale of industrial hemp and its extracts, it didn’t say much more. Aside from defining hemp as cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, the Bill didn’t create a comprehensive regulatory framework for hemp extracts like cannabidiol, and that has been a constant thorn in the CBD industry’s side.

In the year since hemp and its extracts became legal, the sector has blossomed, and the market is filled with thousands of products. Already worth millions of dollars in sales, experts predict the CBD industry will hit $20 billion by 2024. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the popularity and accessibility of CBD products might fool consumers into thinking they have been evaluated and determined to be safe.

On Thursday, new FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn reiterated the agency’s position, stating that it will continue to take appropriate action against unlawful CBD products that pose a risk of harm to the public. The agency also asked industry players to help the government study the possible benefits and risks associated with cannabidiol.

According to the agency, some of the CBD comments will be kept private, allowing companies to share proprietary, confidential research. The FDA also stated that it will explore the creation of a risk-based enforcement policy to increase the transparency with which CBD violations will be enforced.

Commissioner Hahn stated that the agency must work to educate the public and close the knowledge gaps, promising that the FDA will monitor the marketplace and punish sellers who make claims about the benefits of CBD that have not been substantiated by the agency.

He relayed the agency’s intention to “work together with stakeholders and industry to develop high-quality data to close the knowledge gaps about the science, safety, and quality of many of these products, as well as to further evaluate any potential benefits outside of the one FDA approved drug product to treat two rare, severe pediatric epilepsy disorders.”

“We hope that this will enable responsible industry participants, academic researchers, and other stakeholders to share relevant information with the FDA,” he says.

This statement comes soon after Hahn talked to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, where he said that it would be a fool’s errand to try and stop people from getting over-the-counter CBD.

“We have to be open to the fact that there might be some value to these products, and certainly Americans think that’s the case,” Hahn said.

Industry watchers are of the view that the progressive statements coming from the FDA Commissioner come as good news to CBD industry actors like Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS) (OTCQX: PLPRF) who look forward to the day when enabling CBD regulations will be passed by the U.S. federal government.

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