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FDA seeks public input to form regulatory model for cannabidiol infused food and drinks

Cannabis Infused Food

After the federal government passed the Farm Bill in December 2018 and removed hemp derived cannabinoid from its list of Controlled Substance Act, companies have been flooding in the CBD space with a gamut of products to gain traction from the market.

From CBD infused lotions, creams, oils, tinctures to CBD based edibles including popcorns, beer, mojitos, alcoholic beverages and burgers, the new ingredient has been trending in the market ever since. Despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration prohibiting use of cannabinoid in any food and drinks, companies continue to produce and cater to the consumers.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters to 3 different companies jointly with the FTC as the companies were marketing their CBD products as a cure to some severe ailments like Cancer and Alzheimer’s. CBD is known to be associated with a number of health benefits, however, there is no recognized study or research which backs up these claims.

Nonetheless, this has not stopped people from consuming the drug as an alternative treatment for their medical prescriptions. Patients have reported a significant improvement in their health after using CBD oil only for a few days, especially in the case of epilepsy and seizures.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will hold a public hearing on CBD at the end of this month on May 31. The federal agency will continue to take public comments online and via postal delivery about creating a regulatory framework for safely using cannabidiol.

During the process, the agency will assess the “safety, manufacturing, product quality, built, concentration, marketing, labelling and sale” issues of products containing hemp derived cannabinoid such as CBD. The regulated concentration allowed as per the federal law for THC is 0.3% per individual product, however many states continue to follow their previous – 0% THC – regulation.

The public hearing will provide a platform for people to openly discuss and talk about how cannabis could be safely incorporated in the consumer sector without causing any harm. The FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced that the public meeting will be held on May 31 at the agency’s White Oak Campus in Silver Spring, MD.

The agency will be accepting public comments on the issue, which may be submitted online through July 2, 2019. Earlier this year, the FDA submitted opinions to the World Health Organization, which is reconsidering the UN’s international cannabis and CBD policies.

Gottlieb has discussed the issue several times and states that it might take “years” for the agency to establish rules and regulations surrounding the cannabis market and products infused with cannabinoid.

Gottlieb further expressed concerns about the bigheads of the retailer industry like Walgreens and CVS selling hemp-derived cannabinoid infused products on the front shelves including lotions, sprays and tincture oils.

After the federal law had cleared cannabinoid off its list of Controlled Substance Act, the FDA stated the following day,“Congress explicitly preserved the agency’s current authority to regulate products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and section 351 of the Public Health Service Act.”

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The agency further stated that it is unlawful under the FD&C Act to introduce food containing added CBD or THC into the interstate commerce, or to the market with products being sold as dietary supplements, regardless of whether the substances are hemp-derived or not. As of now, the agency is selectively targeting for manufactures who market CBD infused products as a 100% alternative to medical prescriptions or appear appealing to the younger generation.

With the final decision still lying with the FDA, companies and organizations are confused about whether to go forward with CBD plans or not. But, until the air is cleared for consumers and manufactures, no one can be safe in the CBD industry, especially those who are introducing CBD infused food and beverages.

The safest industry in the cannabinoid space is the beauty and lifestyle domain where companies are selling CBD based lotions, creams, tinctures, oils and numbing creams which are specially used by celebrities for red carpets where they have to stand for hours to get photographed!

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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