The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is ready to consider the possibility of regulating CBD products.
The federal agency on Friday will hold its first public hearing in order to gather more information on the use of the cannabis-derived compound cannabidiol (CBD), CNBC reports.
As many as 140 speakers are scheduled to testify on behalf of their expertise, including retailers, researchers, farmers, and other industry experts. The FDA intends to gather information from the hearing to make a decision at a later date.
Although the FDA previously approved Epidiolex — a prescription drug containing CBD used to treat epilepsy — companies remain prohibited from adding it to food and health supplements.
FDA commish tweet:
We are reviewing available databases and medical literature about CBD’s safety. Thus far, the data appear insufficient. A key goal of our upcoming public hearing on 5/31 is to obtain better information. We hope some of the knowledge gaps can be filled but there is uncertainty.
— Dr. Amy Abernethy (@DrAbernethyFDA) May 23, 2019
The hearing comes just weeks after former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb formed a working group to study CBD regulation.
“It’s critical that we address these unanswered questions about CBD and other cannabis and cannabis-derived products to help inform the FDA’s regulatory oversight of these products – especially as the agency considers whether it could be appropriate to exercise its authority to allow the use of CBD in dietary supplements and other foods,” Gottlieb said in a statement in April.
Despite the lack of regulation, products containing CBD are becoming readily available, as Congress legalized hemp-derived CBD in the 2018 farm bill. Major companies such as Carl’s Jr. and CVS have featured CBD-infused products in certain regions.
“Interest continues to skyrocket,” said D.C. attorney Miriam Guggenheim, co-chair of the food, drug and device practice group at Covington & Burling, to CNBC. “It is mainstream, interest is mainstream. It is not fringe anymore, which doesn’t mean mainstream companies are ready to jump in. But they want to be prepared to do so once the legal landscape is clarified.”
The FDA is also taking comments from the public until July 2, via an online portal that can be accessed on regulations.gov.