Oregon senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley wrote a letter Tuesday urging FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to rectify "outdated" federal restrictions on the sale of CBD-containing products across state lines. CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound found in industrial hemp, a plant related to cannabis that nevertheless contains less than .3 percent THC and therefore has no psychoactive properties.
The appeal was made on the basis of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. Co-sponsored by Wyden, Merkley, and Representative James Comer of Kentucky, the Act was incorporated into the 2018 Farm Bill and became law on December 2018. The law removed industrial hemp's Schedule 1 status, making it an ordinary agricultural commodity and granting hemp farmers certain rights including access to federal agricultural grants, agronomy research, and crop insurance. Following President Trump’s signature of the bill in December, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb noted that it would nevertheless still be illegal to add CBD to food or health products without FDA approval.
While the appeal calls out the current government shutdown as a possible reason for the delay in removing these restrictions, the senators also note that they will be "closely engaged in the ongoing implementation" of the legislation.
"In recent years, the public has developed a widespread interest in the production and use of CBD," write the senators. "We therefore request the FDA immediately begin updating regulations for hemp-derived CBD and other hemp-derived cannabinoids, and give U.S. producers more flexibility in the production, consumption, and sale of hemp products."
Researchers have identified several clinically tested benefits of CBD oil, and a wide variety of CBD oil supplements and beauty products are available on the market today. The FDA recently approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for epilepsy.
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