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When it Comes to CBD, the FDA Wants to See the Receipts

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When it comes to cannabidiol (CBD), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isn’t quite ready to take a hit.

On Friday, May 31, 2019, the agency held its first hearing on CBD in Silver Spring, Maryland. More than 100 people testified, reports CNBC, many of whom extolled the virtues of CBD and its benefits—and implored the agency to set up a regulatory framework to legally add CBD to food products and dietary supplements.

“The theme of the day is data, specifically about dosage, interactions and why are you putting this in products, and unfortunately, I don’t think anybody is giving good answers to that,” Jonathan Havens, co-chair of the cannabis law practice at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, told the outlet.

Though views differed as to the risks and benefits of the compound, most speakers agreed that the FDA should establish oversight into the manufacturing process, quality assurance and labeling.

“These are the Wild West days of CBD sales, and a number of companies are taking advantage of the absence of regulations by pumping crap into the market,” reported Leafly, noting various stakeholders offered lab data showing bottle labeled as 300 mg CBD oil actually containing as little as no CBD at all.

The lack of oversight erodes consumer confidence. “As consumer interest for food, beverage, personal care and household products containing cannabis and cannabis derivatives continues to grow, the necessity for national uniform regulatory frameworks that protect public health is of critical importance,” commented Betsy Booren, of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, to CNBC.

The agency, meanwhile, voiced its own concerns about the side effects of cannabidiol, with officials often asking stakeholders follow-up questions regarding adverse reactions and drug interactions—insisting on scientific evidence, research and studies to support claims.

Penning new regulations (if they choose to do so) could take the agency years; it is taking public comments through July 2, 2019, and encouraging panelists and presenters to submit more data.

FDA deputy commissioner and acting CIO Amy Abernathy tweeted that, “We will work as quickly as possible to define a way forward.”