FDA to Hold Hearing on CBD as Ingredient

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

May 28, 2019

The FDA will hold its first public hearing this Friday (May 31) on whether, and how much, cannabidiol (CBD) to allow in foods and beverages sold in the U.S.

CBD, a component of cannabis, is not intoxicating but is claimed to have various health benefits, including calming and analgesic effects. It was putatively made legal when the Farm Bill, which legalized the industrial hemp from which it is derived, was signed into law last December. CBD capsules and topical products are available at mainstream retailers like CVS Health.

However, the FDA has not issued regulations for its use in foods, beverages and dietary supplements. In the absence of FDA regulation, some local health departments have warned restaurants and bars away from marketing foods and beverages with CBD.

In a statement announcing the May 31 hearing, then-FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb stated reservations about allowing the use of CBD in foods and beverages, which is a less controlled environment than pharmaceuticals.

“Additionally, there are open questions about whether some threshold level of CBD could be allowed in foods without undermining the drug approval process or diminishing commercial incentives for further clinical study of the relevant drug substance,” Gottlieb wrote.

The hearing will be held at FDA headquarters in Silver Spring, Md. Electronic or written comments will be accepted until July 2.