FDA Nixes CBD in Food

Friends, wanted to call to your attention a statement from the FDA that came out yesterday about CBD and food products.  In short, the FDA is saying that CBD (and THC) in food is still not legal under FDA rules, even though hemp-based CBD is now itself legal.  This runs the gamut from supplements (nutraceuticals!) to beverages.

https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm628988.htm

The FDA is focused on the fact that CBD is an active ingredient, and like any other active ingredient that’s added to food products, the FDA gets to regulate that, and they’re not going to allow for now (although they say they’re evaluating it).  They’re also focused on false claims made about the benefits of CBD, similar to any other consumer product.

For one thing, this means that’s it’s highly unlikely that the State of California will change its ban on adding CBD to food/beverages any time soon (I suppose my CBD knish truck concept will have to wait).  It also puts a wrench into plans that beverage companies might have been looking forward in the past week weeks to offering these products in the US (although, other hemp-based products like seed oils may be added, so maybe a hemp seed knish truck?).  However, it creates yet another disconnect in the marketplace, with some companies allowed to use CBD in their products today (e.g., skin care), leaving others (e.g., wine, beer, knishes) having to wait to get that marketing benefit.

This also seems to me to be a good indication of how regulatory agencies are going to react to Cannabis legalization down the road.  Nothing will happen quickly and federal/state/local authorities are going to regulate it just like they regulate other consumer products.*  That, of course, won’t stop investors from pumping too much capital into the industry too soon, as if the industry were fully mature in terms of regulation, infrastructure, supply chains etc.  I suppose that keeps service providers like me in business, however, which is nice.

Excelsior!

*Not a political statement about regulation.

Written by: Marc Hauser