Since the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, manufacturers and consumers alike have found even more value in the newest legalized cannabis compound, CBD. You can currently find all sorts of health and wellness CBD supplements, from tinctures to capsules to topicals and more. Currently, however, the FDA’s rules still prohibit manufacturers from adding CBD to foods and drinks. The FDA has set a date for a public hearing set to potentially change that, though. The hearing will take place on May 31 and will hopefully be the first step to placing regulation on CBD as a food and drink additive.
As part of this hearing, the FDA is asking for comments and is looking for scientific data regarding the safety of CBD. Further, they are looking for insight on how the production, marketing, and sale of these products should be regulated, assuming they exercise their authority in allowing the use of cannabidiol in foods and other dietary supplements.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb released a statement regarding the hearing in which he highlighted a few things of importance. Gottlieb revealed that he has chosen Principal Deputy Commissioner Amy Abernethy, M.D., Ph.D. and Principal Associate Commissioner for Policy Lowell Schiller to lead a “high-level internal agency working group” that’s purpose is to explore potential opportunities for these CBD-infused dietary supplements to be marketed. This groups purpose will also be to determine if adjustments to the current law will be necessary in order to provide safe and efficient pathways for CBD dietary supplements to be marketed.
Further, Gottlieb said that the FDA will “remain committed to exploring an appropriate, efficient and predictable regulatory framework to allow product developers that meet the requirements under our authorities to lawfully market these types of products.” The ultimate goal for many is the same: to regulate and legalize the sale of cannabidiol products while keeping America’s consumer’s safe.
Why is the Regulation of Hemp Products So Important?
The regulation of hemp products has been severely lacking since the Farm Bill was put into place last year, which was to be expected. However, the time has come to finally start addressing the importance of regulation for these products, and many people agree. Gottlieb spoke about the importance of this hearing. “It’s critical that we address these unanswered questions about CBD and other cannabis and cannabis-derived products to help inform the FDA’s regulatory oversight of these products.” For many cannabis and hemp manufacturers, “critical” is almost an understatement.
Lack of regulation for CBD and cannabis products makes it tough on quality manufacturers and consumers alike. Low-regulation has led to a market flooded with synthetic, cheap quality hemp products, which puts consumers at risk. The murky market makes it difficult for high-quality manufacturers to reach consumers, and can also make it difficult to establish consumer trust. Low-regulation also makes it difficult for medical professionals to trust and understand CBD products or how they work, which can make it tough for consumers to get the guidance they need. In a pretty direct way, lack of regulation is keeping many from the cannabis-based relief they need. That’s why it’s more important than ever that attendance and participation are high at the first ever regulatory FDA hearing on hemp. According to a notice published in the Federal Register on May 3rd, anyone can attend this hearing online, and anyone with comments regarding the safety, manufacturing, marketing, or sale of hemp products is encouraged to attend.
How Do I Participate in the FDA Hearing?
According to the public notice, there are several ways that you can attend this FDA hearing. If you wish to attend in person or provide oral comments during the hearing, you’ll need to register by May 10th. You can easily register to attend or provide comments through the online registry. According to a notice published later, spots to attend the hearing in person are limited. Confirmation on attendance or permission to provide public oral comments will be issued by May 21st.
For those who cannot attend or who do not register in time, you can also view the hearing via webcast, which is set to start at 8:00 am EDT on May 31st. Anyone who still wishes to submit a comment can do so, as the FDA has designed public docket FDA-2019-N-1482 to collect public comments on the hearing. Comments can be filed electronically on submitted in writing by July 2, 2019.
Participation in this public hearing is vital to the wellbeing of consumers and cannabis manufacturers. Participation is especially important for product manufacturers and others who may have important insight into the safety of CBD products and what the manufacturing process for CBD products entails.
What Happens After the Hearing?
This hearing will be the first of its kind regarding hemp and CBD but will work in hopes of establishing permanent regulations for the CBD market. However, these things don’t happen overnight, and full CBD regulation is expected to take a while. Gottlieb released a statement in March saying that it could take several years for the FDA to fully establish regulations surrounding CBD products and hemp.
“CBD didn’t previously exist in the food supply, and it exists as a drug under the statute,” said Gottlieb, insinuating that it could take longer than the normal two or three years to establish the rules surrounding the supplement, due mostly to its association with marijuana. However, this initial hearing is hoped to be a step in the right direction by many manufacturers and consumers alike. As a whole, this hearing is the first of many to come but is an important first step to a prosperous, safe, and moral CBD industry. ·
Katie DeVoe is an in-demand educator, speaker, and thought leader in the hemp space. Over the last 12 years, she has started multiple, successful CBD businesses and been a guest speaker at numerous hemp and CBD conferences.