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According to a CNN story, concerns over exaggerated health claims have prompted a US Food and Drug Administration hearing on the effects of CBD products.
The FDA is holding its first hearing today to assess the safety and efficacy of these CBD products. Cannabis-related products have flooded the market, making health claims about pain relief, immune function and anxiety and depression.
The goal of the hearing is to “identify and collate all available data to help us answer these questions in order to make sure that the American public is protected—including to the extent CBD is being introduced into our food supply or other common consumer products,” Michael Felberbaum, an FDA spokesman, said in an email to CNN.
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is the ingredient in marijuana and hemp touted to have many medicinal benefits. It’s different from tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis. Last June, the FDA for the first time approved a cannabis plant-derived, CBD-based drug, Epidiolex, which is approved to treat two severe and rare forms of epilepsy: Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Dr. Amy Abernathy, principal deputy commissioner of the FDA and head of the agency’s CBD working group, said in a tweet last week, “The FDA has not approved any other CBD-containing products. We want consumers to be aware that there is only limited available information about CBD, including about its effects on the body.”
It is illegal to introduce CBD or THC into the food supply or market it as a dietary supplement. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. However, at least 10 states have moved ahead and legalized the purchase and possession of recreational marijuana while 33 states allow the use of medical marijuana.
As states have liberalized the use of marijuana, CBD-related products such as oils, lotions, chocolates and even dog food have stormed the market.
In December, President Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill into law, legalizing hemp, which also contains high levels of CBD. Market analysts expect the hemp-derived CBD market alone to hit between $15-20 billion in the next five to six years.
“The industry is exploding; it’s growing in popularity every day. It’s so important for the FDA to get a regulatory handle on this,” said Jonathan Miller, general counsel for the US Hemp Roundtable, an industry-backed advocacy group. “There are bad products out there. There are products that make false claims. It’s important that FDA develop standards.”
Witnesses from the supplement industry, researchers, doctors and patients are all expected to testify about their experiences with cannabis at the hearing. The agency will also make a docket available for public comments that will close on July 2.