FDA Planning To Regulate CBD In Food

December 27, 2022

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is planning to make recommendations on how to regulate the use of the cannabis compound CBD in food and supplements.

FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Janet Woodcock said the FDA has “concerns” about the safety of CBD and whether “existing regulatory pathways for food and dietary supplements are appropriate for this substance.”

Congress legalized hemp and its resulting products in 2018 but left them to the FDA to regulate. Makers of products like CBD oil have operated without federal rules for marketing or manufacturing, although some states have drawn up their own sets of rules. 

As a result, large companies have put off investing in CBD as they await federal regulations on whether cannabis-derived products can be treated as food or supplements, rather than as drugs. 

That hasn’t stopped CBD and other cannabis-derived products from thriving, however. A 2021 FDA report estimates that the then-$4.6 billion market would quadruple by 2026.

Unilke the cannabis-derived product THC, CBD is not psychoactive. Some researchers and companies say CBD can ease pain without causing the side effects of THC. 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says research on cannabinoids is in early stages. The NIH is funding studies exploring how the substance works in the body and its potential to relieve pain. There is some evidence suggesting CBD may be harmful to some people, according to the NIH.

Meanwhile, the FDA has approved a drug called Epidiolex that contains CBD for the purpose of treating some types of epilepsy in patients age 2 and older.

The FDA said it will decide within months how legal cannabis should best be regulated and whether it will require new agency rules or new legislation from Congress.  

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