More Questions Than Answers at FDA’s CBD Hearing

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held its first public hearing on CBD regulation. More than 100 participants signed up to speak at the event, representing interests ranging from plaintiff’s attorneys to CBD product manufacturers to mothers concerned about youth access to CBD-containing products. At the outset, Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless said, “There are real risks associated with [THC and CBD] and critical questions remain about the safety of their widespread use in foods and dietary supplements." Sharpless continued, "While we have seen an explosion of interest in products containing CBD, there is still much that we don't know."

Peter Matz of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) commented on the confusing landscape faced by grocery retailers. "We are fielding more and more questions from companies that are understandably seeking clarity about the current regulatory framework for the sale of products containing CBD in particular, and while we want to be in compliance with all of FDA's requirements, we also want to ensure our members have appropriate assurances that the products they are merchandising are both safe and being sold appropriately."

The FDA’s Amy Abernethy acknowledged the need for quick action by the agency, but also said it would be a difficult road. No timeline for further action was announced.