The Food and Drug Administration is holding it´s first public hearing on CBD, the cannabis extract that has quickly grown into a billion-dollar industry. Today’s hearing will help officials determine how to regulate CBD products.
The compound can be extracted from marijuana or from hemp. It’s promoted as a way to ease anxiety and inflammation – and it doesn’t get people high because it doesn’t contain THC, the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.
People are using oils with cannabidiol, or CBD, to help with everything from menstrual cramps to insomnia. While the hype around CBD has gotten ahead of the science, there are a growing number of small studies that do point to some health benefits
Remember that the 2018 farm bill lifted longtime restrictions on hemp, meaning that hemp would no longer be regulated as a controlled substance. The hemp industry saw this as a green-light to move ahead in promoting CBD products.
“When the farm bill passed last year, we were beyond thrilled. This ended a multi-decade prohibition on hemp,” says Jonathan Miller who serves as general counsel to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, a coalition of dozens of hemp companies. “It was a historic moment.”
But the FDA quickly stepped in to make it clear that it has regulatory authority over CBD. The agency has said, for example, that cannabidiol products cannot be sold as dietary supplements.
So the industry is asking for a more definitive set of rules, and the FDA hearing is a first step.
“We really need the FDA to join in and help us lay a path toward a regulated legal product,” Miller says. This is the main message he says he’ll deliver during today’s hearing.
But the FDA has a lot of questions for his industry, and researchers who study cannabis say there’s still a lot to learn about cannabidiol.
“We’re really in the infancy of understanding the physiological effects of cannabadiol right now,” says Ziva Cooper, research director for the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative.
Cooper says there are important questions to answer, such as: What doses are safe? And what happens when people use it for long periods of time?
The FDA has already approved one drug made of purified CBD, called Epidiolex, which is used to treat two rare and serious forms of epilepsy.”