FDA Won’t Declare CBD Safe

Nov. 26, 2019
The FDA has declined to add cannabidiol to its “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) list of ingredients.

The FDA has declined to add cannabidiol to its “generally recognized as safe” list of ingredients and additives, throwing the market for cannabis ingredients into further uncertainty.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating component of cannabis, often touted for relaxation and pain-relieving properties. The FDA on Nov. 25 issued warning letters to 15 companies that have marketed products containing CBD, including one that sells peanut butter and tea.

In a statement issued Nov. 25, the FDA said, “Based on the lack of scientific information supporting the safety of CBD in food, the FDA is also indicating today that it cannot conclude that CBD is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) among qualified experts for its use in human or animal food.” The statement cited concerns about potential liver injury, interactions with other drugs, drowsiness, diarrhea, and changes in mood.

The FDA’s letter and statement signal that the agency will continue to consider CBD as a form of medicine, and as such, will not give blanket permission for it to be used in foods and beverages.

An analyst quoted by Bloomberg estimated the market for CBD and CBD-containing products at $3.5 billion, compared to “blue-sky estimates” of up to $22 billion. Another analyst said that companies like Cronos Group Inc., Tilray Inc., Aurora Cannabis Inc. and Canopy Growth Corp. may now downplay CBD food and beverages.