The FDA Takes on CBD
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The FDA Takes on CBD

Just days after the cannabis community celebrated the first bill legalizing cannabis to get out of committee, the federal government gives a sharp blow to CBD entrepreneurs across the country

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A banner stating "THC free CBD 1.5 kg/day (8-5) Remove pesticides >95% THC

CBD is everywhere. CBD gummy candies are sold in gas station display boxes and CBD added! is being seen on labels of everything from pizza to hand cream. None of these products have passed the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) guidelines and less than a week after the MORE Act was passed out of committee with bipartisan support, the federal government is warning that cannabidiol (CBD) was not made legal by the 2018 law that legalized the plant from which much of it is sourced, hemp.

The FDA issued a report titled, "What You Need to Know (And What We're Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD," on November 25, 2019. In five bullet points, they outlined what the agency's concerns about this new industry are:

•The FDA has approved only one CBD product, a prescription drug product to treat two rare, severe forms of epilepsy.

•It is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement.

•The FDA has seen only limited data about CBD safety and these data point to real risks that need to be considered before taking CBD for any reason.

•Some CBD products are being marketed with unproven medical claims and are of unknown quality.

•The FDA will continue to update the public as it learns more about CBD

The agency then went on to describe the possible health dangers that they feel could be associated with the cannabinoid, including liver damage, interference with other prescription medications and gastrointestinal distress.

One of the most surprising possible health dangers the FDA delineated was the potential for the interference in male reproductive health, "Studies in laboratory animals showed male reproductive toxicity, including in the male offspring of CBD-treated pregnant females. The changes seen include decrease in testicular size, inhibition of sperm growth and development, and decreased circulating testosterone, among others."

Within its responsibility for public protection, the FDA pointed out, "the agency has tested the chemical content of cannabinoid compounds in some of the products, and many were found to not contain the levels of CBD they claimed. We are also investigating reports of CBD potentially containing unsafe levels of contaminants (e.g., pesticides, heavy metals, THC)."

Human health was not the only issue at stake in the report, the preponderance of animal products with the additive have also been under the watchful eye of the FDA. "he FDA has not approved CBD for any use in animals and the concerns regarding CBD products with unproven medical claims and of unknown quality equally apply to CBD products marketed for animals." The FDA goes on to point out that pet owners should talk to their veterinarians about appropriate treatments. Strangely enough, several vets in the Pacific Northwest pad their income currently by offering CBD supplements to their patients. This practice could come to an end if the FDA begins enforcing the outlined concerns in this report.

Not only were health issues pointed out, but also possible misrepresentations in labeling and advertising:

FDA is committed to setting sound, science-based policy. The FDA is raising these safety, marketing, and labeling concerns because we want you to know what we know. We encourage consumers to think carefully before exposing themselves, their family, or their pets, to any product, especially products like CBD, which may have potential risks, be of unknown quality, and have unproven benefits.

This "Consumer Update," by the FDA concludes by making sure to point out that their investigations are still ongoing. As with any new additive to foods or medicines or herbal supplements, there are standards of safety to be met before the agency can release any official guidelines.

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