CBD More Likely as a Dietary Supplement: Former FDA Commissioner

Feb. 3, 2020
Dr. David Acheson sees little movement from FDA but tremendous pressure "to do something."

To one former FDA associate commissioner for foods, it looks more likely that CBD will be classified by FDA as a dietary supplement and that the agency will not consider either CBD or THC as a food ingredient until some company files a food additive petition.

"In many ways, that is how CBD is being used already," as a dietary supplement, says David Acheson, M.D., who was the FDA's associate commissioner 2002-2009 and is founder and CEO of food safety consultancy The Acheson Group. "It's a very logical option.

"That and the fact that FDA already has approved a CBD ingredient as a drug [Epidiolex for seizures associated epilepsy] will make it more difficult for the agency to consider it for foods or beverages," he told Food Processing.

Acheson admits he sees little movement from the agency on CBD, "although the FDA is under considerable pressure to do something – especially after its public hearing [on the subject] last May."

And THC? "I think that will remain federally illegal for some time," says Acheson, so it will not even be considered as a food ingredient. However, its lack of being classified as anything else—dietary supplement or medicine—in some ways might make for an easier path as a food ingredient, he notes.

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