The FDA and CBD

What is the FDA Going to Do About CBD?

The FDA, the US Food and Drug Administration, cannot decide how to regulate CBD. CBD, which has less than .3 percent THC, can provide strong therapeutic properties for health and does not cause a person to feel “high.”  Although CBD does not result in intoxication, it has challenged FDA officials, who are not able to respond to the magnitude of CBD’s fast rise in popularity in 2019. Many people are taking CBD for medical conditions that don’t respond well to FDA-approved pharmaceuticals.

No Precedent for Regulating a Substance as Versatile as CBD

The FDA is responsible for ensuring that everything we eat or drink, every drug we take to feel better, is safe (and supposedly effective). But there is no precedent for regulating a substance as versatile as CBD. CBD works as a single-molecule pharmaceutical, a wellness nutraceutical, an essential oil extract, and an artisanal herbal preparation that can be ingested as food or beverage, inhaled as vapor or smoke, or absorbed sublingually and applied topically in various ways. 

The  FDA reverts to old bureaucratic habits for CBD and only recognizes the medical utility of isolated components of cannabis. Single-molecule CBD is an FDA-approved prescription pharmaceutical. So is single molecule THC. Herbal cannabis, the natural source of CBD and THC, isn’t an FDA-approved therapy. Full spectrum CBD-rich essential oils extracted from resinous cannabis flower tops are not approved by the FDA.

A new proposal in Congress signals bipartisan interest in helping the hemp and CBD industry move forward, according to Eric Steenstra, president of advocacy group Vote Hemp. Sponsors include Kentucky Republicans James Comer and Thomas Massie and Maine Democrat Chellie Pingree.

“It was nice to see people on both sides of the aisle coming together to solve this problem, and we’re hopeful that there will be a Senate version of the bill and we could see some action on this in 2020,”  Steenstra told Hemp Industry Daily.

The bipartisan coalition involved in the bill’s introduction is a good indicator that there is already strong support and that the legislation will be well received. Members of the U.S. Congress are tired of the FDA’s delay in regulating CBD and are ready to move forward on the agency’s suggestion that Congress should get involved if it wants to see action sooner than later.

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