CBD/Hemp

FDA Considers CBD Regulation in Food, Supplements

Woodcock says agency plans to respond to citizens petitions soon
CBD dropper
Photograph: Shutterstock

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering regulating cannabidiol (CBD) products in food and supplements.

FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement that the agency is reviewing three citizens petitions—part of a process that allows individuals and organizations to make requests to the FDA for regulation changes—related to this, “and we plan to respond to them soon.”

For years, the agency has explored potential pathways for dietary supplements and conventional foods containing CBD to be lawfully marketed.

The FDA has a Cannabis Products Committee (CPC) that works to develop and implement a cross-agency strategy for the regulation of cannabis-derived products that protects and promotes public health. And in 2019, a “high-level internal agency working group” was also created to explore potential pathways for CBD in food. The group was made to consider what options might be appropriate under the FDA’s current authorities and whether there were legislative options that might lead to more efficient and appropriate pathways than might be available under current law.

“Given what we know about the safety of CBD so far, it raises concerns for FDA about whether these existing regulatory pathways for food and dietary supplements are appropriate for this substance,” Woodcock said.  

The FDA still has questions about CBD, like whether it can be safety eaten every day for a long period or during pregnancy, for example, Patrick Cournoyer, who heads the FDA office developing the agency’s cannabis strategy, told the Wall Street Journal.

The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, but products that add CBD to a food or label CBD as a dietary supplement are still illegal under federal law, the FDA said. Some states have come up with their own regulations for CBD products.

While both come from cannabis plants, CBD differs from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a compound that produces the “high” from marijuana.  

Louisville, Colo.-based BDSA said cannabis sales were $25 billion 2021 in the United States, and are expected to reach $4.2 billion in 2026.

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