Lawmakers Urge FDA and HHS for Faster Action on CBD

Several members of the U.S. House believe hemp-derived CBD has great economic potential.

Several congressional lawmakers sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this month, urging the federal agencies to quickly clarify cannabidiol (CBD) regulations.

U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY) spearheaded the letter, and Reps. Nydia Velasquez (D-NY), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Dwight Evans (D-PA), and Jared Golden (D-ME) signed it, touting the economic potential of the CBD industry if the non-intoxicating cannabinoid is regulated like a dietary supplement or food additive.

“Now is the time for the FDA to craft benchmark safety and quality standards for the production of hemp-derived products in order to increase consumer satisfaction and confidence as this nascent industry transitions and matures into a legal marketplace,” the lawmakers wrote.

Growing Demand for CBD

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis, both hemp and marijuana, that supports health and wellness by promoting a regulatory network in the body called the endocannabinoid system.

Hemp-derived CBD had its legal status clarified last December with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. The omnibus bill contained provisions that legalized the commercial production of hemp and hemp-derived products at the federal level.

CBD companies in the U.S. had previously operated under a court decision issued in 2004 that prevented the DEA from interfering with companies creating hemp-based foods and supplements.

Even before hemp legalization, CBD products from CBD oil to CBD tinctures to CBD isolate had exploded and become very visible. The U.S. hemp CBD market is predicted to reach $22 billion by 2022.

A Push for Regulations

Since the Farm Bill’s passage, the FDA has been tasked with establishing rules and regulations on CBD. Issues regarding quality control, testing, labeling, and marketing are their biggest concerns regarding CBD. The agency said in July that it will expedite its work and release a progress report later this year.

Delgado and his colleagues are urging the federal agencies to act even quicker. They believe that the uncertainty around the regulations is harming the nascent industry’s economic potential.

“Businesses are ready to capitalize on the growing consumer demand for hemp and hemp-derived products, such as cannabidiol (CBD), yet the FDA’s lack of clarity has caused confusion for farmers, businesses, and consumers,” they said in a letter.

In their letter, they pointed out that the FDA has already approved Epidiolex, which contains 98 percent CBD.

They urged the FDA to take action by September 30th.

“Given the current widespread availability of hemp-based products, and the growing consumer demand for CBD, we believe that a clear and efficient regulatory framework is necessary to support American farmers, small businesses, and consumers,” the lawmakers wrote.

Officials with the FDA are currently researching how much CBD should be consumed on a daily basis, the nature of the different CBD product forms, whether CBD interacts with drugs or carries risks with long-term exposure, and the compound’s impact on children, pregnant women.

The full text of the letter from Delgado and his colleagues can be found here.

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