The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is once again moving in on cannabis, but this time it’s focused specifically on cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound produced by the cannabis plant. On Friday, May 31, the FDA held its first public hearing in Silver Spring, Maryland to discuss the present understanding and potential regulation of hemp-derived products. By this point, we’re sure you’ve been seeing a lot of news about this recent hearing, but what does this really mean for the future of the hemp industry?
The Hemp Farming Act of 2018
First of all, to better understand the recent relationship standing between the FDA and the hemp industry, we need to take it back to last year. Every five years, Congress passes legislation regarding agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry. This legislation is referred to as the “Farm Bill” and last year was a huge year for the hemp industry as the government enacted the “Hemp Farming Act of 2018”. With this act, the federal government removed hemp as a Schedule I Controlled Substance to now be classified as an ordinary agricultural commodity as long as the THC levels are 0.3% or less. With this act, Congress made it clear that it had preserved the FDA’s authority in regulating products containing cannabis. Now, let’s fast forward to this recent FDA hearing.
The FDA Hearing on CBD
The FDA hearing was part of an information-gathering process so the administration can further outline the regulations in regards to the production, distribution, and marketing of products containing CBD. In attendance were cannabis industry stakeholders, pharmaceutical advocates, medical professionals, and academic researchers who were able to voice their opinions and share their experiences, as well as present any scientific findings in regards to cannabis-derived compounds. While it’s fantastic that industry business owners and advocates were able to speak, we want to note that of the 120 attendees, there were 10-15 huge pharmaceutical companies present and they had a lot to say — especially Epidiolex.
We’re not sure if you’re aware or not, but last June, the FDA approved Epidiolex, which is an oral cannabidiol solution used in the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet Syndrome, two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. Now, at this hearing, pharmaceutical advocates, specifically Epidiolex, urged the FDA to create a distinction between ‘drugs’ and ‘supplements’ alluding to imposing dose restrictions and citing “toxicity” as well as “potential liver damage” as the reasoning. What’s curious about these claims is that in an Epidiolex study conducted by the Department of Neurology at Columbia University in New York, it was found that while liver enzymes might have been elevated, they “resolved spontaneously” and that “drug-induced liver injury was not seen”. So, why would these companies make such claims?
The Future of the CBD
Fear has been used throughout history to gain control and it’s very apparent that’s what is going on in the booming CBD industry. ‘Big Pharma’ is notorious with a long track record of deception and corruption so inducing fear in regards to “health concerns” is right up their alley. So, what does this mean for you as a consumer? With Big Pharma having a hand and potential influence in future regulation of CBD, it could mean a lot including access to your natural remedies.
The FDA has not yet come forward on how they plan to regulate CBD products, so for right now, our industry will remain in ‘legal limbo’. With that being said, we are at a critical point and it’s important that you are staying up-to-date on what’s occurring within our industry. Want to take the next step? Reach out to your local elected officials and continue to support the small businesses in this industry. With your support, you’re giving voice to the truth behind hemp-derived compounds.
Questions or Concerns?
At District Hemp, it is our goal to provide you with information and opinions based entirely on our observation of facts. If you have any questions about what you have just read, we would be more than happy to discuss it with you further. Just give us a call at (571) 799-9914. As always, we look forward to serving you!