A group of experts will help the FDA clarify its position on CBD -- the non-psychoactive chemical cannabidiol found in the cannabis plant.
According to outgoing FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, the group, which will be formally announced next week, will help to develop legislative options for Congress "to allow the substance to be used in food products," Business Insider reports. The Commissioner said he's repeatedly asked about the status of CBD at "almost every meeting I go to."
While CBD and hemp are both now legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, there are blurry lines surrounding both: FDA regulations say CBD shouldn't be added into food despite a growing number of brands and restaurants breaking the rule.
Despite CBD by itself lacking the psychoactive compound THC -- the stuff that does get you high -- some full-spectrum CBD products can contain trace amounts of THC. CBD can be extracted from both hemp and marijuana plants. Under Federal drug laws, hemp, which is the sister plant to marijuana and contains no THC, was not legal to grow in the U.S. at all over most of the last century. When states legalized medical marijuana, those laws allowed for growers in the state. As CBD's benefits became more widely understood and sought out, many marijuana producers were first to market with CBD products -- and many contain traces of THC.
"But the core of the issue is whether, under federal law, CBD is a drug — which can't, under FDA rules, be put into the food supply — or whether it's simply a food supplement, in the same way that Omega-3 fish oil is," Business Insider reports.
"The law only allows for the FDA to contemplate putting a drug that wasn't previously in the food supply into the food supply if it goes through the rulemaking process," Gottlieb said. "We've never done this before. It would be a highly novel rulemaking process."
Without producer disclosure, it's incredibly difficult to distinguish between marijuana- and hemp-based CBD.
"What is clear, however, is how many investors and consumer packaged goods companies are interested in capitalizing on the CBD trend," Business Insider notes. The industry is expected to reach more than $16 billion by 2025; current estimates value the industry at
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