Congress asked the Food and Drug Administration to provide an update on CBD regulation, but the report left much unsaid.
The FDA was supposed to issue guidelines by the end of February for how it will regulate newly legalized substance CBD, or cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana. That report, however, came several days late and showed little movement on the issue.
The agency said it has been focused on educating the public about CBD and the potential risks of it. The FDA pointed to several online resources about CBD as its education efforts. These resources stress that CBD is not an FDA-approved product and may have side effects or interactions with some medications. The agency also said it plans to expand these consumer and physicians education efforts going forward.
Another area of focus is research. The FDA said it was encouraging more research on CBD and seeking high-quality data to base its upcoming regulations on. To encourage outside entities to share CBD data, the FDA has opened up public comments on the CBD docket created after the May 2019 CBD hearing. Those public comments will remain open indefinitely, the agency said.
“As the agency continues to move forward to explore viable pathways for CBD products outside the drug context, this extension will allow stakeholders to continue to provide relevant data as research in this area evolves,” the FDA statement reads.
The agency is acknowledging that creating regulations when research on CBD is still early can be tricky. But, as many in the CBD industry said last May and in public comments, leaving the industry unregulated isn’t good either because unsafe products could be sold without repercussions.
To that end, the FDA’s final part of the report touches on taking action against products that could harm the public. The FDA may issue a policy that would provide clarity about how the agency will take action against CBD products that are unlawful or make health claims.
The FDA has issued many warning letters to CBD makers. These letters often warn the companies for making false health claims about CBD. Interestingly, the agency hasn’t issued any new CBD warning letters since November of 2019.