CBD products are everywhere, marketed as having the ability to alleviate an array of different ailments and illnesses – but to what extent are these claims legitimate? Considering CBD products on retail shelves are not currently reviewed by the FDA, there is a lot we do not actually know.
When it comes to widespread consumption of CBD, experts agree – the buyer should beware.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, cited “[a] lack of definitive evidence,” and “a significant public health concern for vulnerable populations such as adolescents, pregnant women, and others.”
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) underscored some of the unknowns about CBD, including “risks and safety[,]” “potency[,]” contaminants including psychoactive THC, and “[m]islabeling and adulteration[,]” among others, urging increased FDA oversight.
Bill Grub, from Noramco, a pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturer, said, ”there is a need for specific federal oversight to guarantee consumer safety and to make sure that frankly people know what they’re taking.”
Dr. Tory Spindle, explained, “[W]e desperately need to conduct cannabis regulatory science to inform appropriate product standards for the various forms of cannabis that are available today or that might become available tomorrow. Researchers need a streamlined, regulatory pathway that can facilitate research on the spectrum of commercially available products. Clinical research studies have barely scratched the surface when considering the vast array of cannabis products available to consumers. The risk of retail cannabis products harming public health must be mitigated by swift and evidence-based regulatory action.”
Consumers for Safe CBD echoes these concerns and continues to encourage FDA to act.
There is good news: FDA seems to agree that there is a need to do something. Its recent report to Congress highlighted a number of concerns, and the agency continues to flag a variety of issues related to unregulated CBD and common misconceptions about the products on the market today.
FDA also acknowledges that this myriad of illegitimate products may discourage manufacturers from conducting the research and review necessary to produce safe, therapeutic CBD products. In a report to Congress, FDA explained, “ If the widespread availability of consumer CBD products were to significantly discourage clinical research, our knowledge of CBD’s potential medical uses could be stunted.”
Experts and the FDA agree: we need to encourage safe CBD, research, clinical studies and more to better understand CBD’s true potential and better protect consumers.