Remember back in December of 2018 when hemp-derived CBD was legalized on a federal level?
Well, the FDA is finally ready to start doing some scientific evaluation of cannabis.
They’ve even recently opened a public docket on cannabis and cannabis-infused products on their website. It’s open for comments through July16th.
Of course, we’re not talking about full-blown marijuana and THC. This is CBD they’re hoping to understand.
But it’s definitely a step forward.
It Started with a Hearing
A couple of weeks ago, the FDA held their first-ever hearings to begin determining if, and what, they will regulate in terms of CBD.
The purpose of the hearing was to obtain additional information regarding the potential risks and safety of CBD, as well as the intended function of CBD in certain products.
There were 140 speakers there. (If multiplied by 3, this equals 420. We’re just sayin’.) And, of course, the National Cannabis Industry Association was present.
The association’s policy director represented a coalition of more than 100 CBD and hemp entrepreneurs, scientists and medical professionals. They all descended upon the hearing to answer questions and basically enlighten the crowd with general context about the industry.
They also highlighted work that the association and its allies have done in the past on packaging, labeling, and lab testing. These could help to inform FDA rule-making.
All of this working in the direction of potentially removing uncertainty for many CBD companies, while opening up the market to new entrants.
Scientific Evaluation of Cannabis Shows New Open-Mindedness
The folks at the FDA do understand that there’s a demand for cannabis products.
But they want to take a scientific approach to determine their safety and efficacy, while attempting to figure out how to handle their legality. This is certainly more than the DEA can say.
“We recognize that there is significant public interest in these products, for therapeutic purposes and otherwise,” the agency said. “At the same time, there are many unanswered questions about the science, safety, and quality of many of these products. As we approach these questions, we do so as a science-based regulatory agency committed to our mission of protecting and promoting public health.”
There’s already at least one FDA-approved drug – Epidiolex – which has CBD as the principal ingredient.
Even so, while they’re clearly acknowledging that many believe in the therapeutic benefits, they’re also encouraging the public to be clear on why they’re doing this.
They’re looking at substances on two parallel tracks – one for drugs and one for food and dietary supplements.
“It is critical that we continue to do what we can to support the science needed to develop new drugs from cannabis,” they said. This applies to veterinary medicine as well.
Furthermore, the FDA wants to determine the impact of cannabis or cannabis-infused substances on the liver.
As for foods and dietary supplements, it’s currently illegal to market CBD as a supplement, or to sell foods to which CBD has been added.
But as they progress with their scientific evaluations, this could easily change.
Ready to Boost Your Cannabis Business Presence?
The FDA agreeing to scientific evaluation of cannabis is good news.
But it doesn’t negate the fact that times are tough right now for dispensaries. So if you’re looking to spruce up your marketing efforts, contact us today.
We’ll help keep you relevant (and alive) during the marijuana shortage.