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FDA Schedules First Public Hearing on CBD in Food and Drinks

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FDA Schedules First Public Hearing on CBD in Food and Drinks
Oleksandra Naumenko/ Shutterstock

The Food and Drug Administration is looking to update its take on CBD, the agency has declared. As part of the process, its first public hearing on the subject is set to take place on May 31.

Those looking to weigh in on the future of the drug take note; the governmental agency has announced that it will be specifically looking for “scientific data and information about the safety, manufacturing, product quality, marketing, labeling, and sale of products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds.” The hearing will be held at the FDA’s White Oak campus in Silver Spring, Maryland, but comments may also be submitted electronically or via mail before July 2. Those interested in attending may do so in person or by signing into a webcast of the hearing.

“While the availability of CBD products in particular has increased dramatically in recent years, open questions remain regarding the safety considerations raised by their widespread use,” stated the FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a memo announcing the hearing. Gottlieb will be leaving the agency later this week, and has appointed Principal Deputy Commissioner Amy Abernethy and Principal Associate Commissioner for Policy Lowell Schiller to chair the working group charged with taking on the agency’s policy towards cannabis products.

In the communique, Gottlieb also pointed out the creation of a Q&A page on the FDA website for those seeking more information on the agency’s posture towards cannabis and cannabis-derived products.

The FDA has sought public comment on CBD usage as far back as 2017. Last year, the government agency officially approved its first cannabis product, the strawberry-flavored CBD medicine Epidiolex meant for use by children with Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, two forms of severe epilepsy.

The current state of CBD is rather complex, given that it is already an ingredient in Epidiolex and being marketed in a plethora of food, drink, and corporeal products across the country, from Willie Nelson’s CBD infused line of coffee to the various wares that started being hawked by CVS stores in eight states back in March. In February, it was announced that Martha Stewart will partner with Canadian company Canopy Growth to sell CBD pet products up north.

There has been legislative pressure on the FDA to determine cohesive federal guidelines regarding CBD. Meanwhile, states have been left to interpret certain regulations for themselves. In New York, health officials will ban its usage in food and drinks, advising restaurants that vend such products that they will be penalized for their sale after October 1. As it stands, it will be officially illegal to sell CBD-infused food and drink in NYC after July 1. A spokesperson stated that the ban was inspired by FDA regulations.

But it is crucial that the governmental body fine tune its posture through other products made using CBD. Last week the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission warned three companies that had been claiming that their CBD products can treat certain health conditions.

Gottlieb estimates that the FDA working group will be ready to share its findings on CBD will the public as early as summer of this year.

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