It’s a big day in the world of cannabis. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is holding its first public hearing on how it should regulate CBD Friday. This could be a gamechanger—for the best or the worse—for cannabis’ non-psychoactive compound.
This hearing will be the first step in many in how the administration moves forward in regulating the compound at the federal level. This is for food (like that CBD-infused latter) or creams (like your favorite CBD muscle cream). The goal of this hearing is for the FDA to learn more about “the safety, manufacturing, product quality, marketing, labeling, and sale of products” containing CBD, as the administration wrote in its announcement.
Held at the FDA’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, the hearing will allow members of the public to come forward and offer their thoughts and expertise on the topic. However, not just anyone can talk. Those testifying signed up earlier this month. The public can submit comments online and at subsequent hearings, too, through July 2.
The day’s agenda is packed with a roster of academics, health professionals, retailers, government voices, and non-government experts. This includes those in the hemp business, as well as a representative of the Marijuana Victims Alliance, an anti-cannabis organization that defends those who have been negatively impacted by the plant.
So the public will get to hear from a variety of voices; in fact, some 140 people are expected to testify, according to CNBC. It’ll be a long day, that’s for sure.
More and more research has been highlighting the health benefits of the compound, so it’s about time the FDA began figuring out how to regulate it. Right now, it’s regulated quite irregularly, especially for food. Technically, CBD-infused foods are still illegal, reports the Washington Post. However, states that have legalized cannabis for recreational or medicinal purposes have their own regulations. Colorado is down with CBD-infused food, but New York, California, and Maine are not. They want to see what the federal administration decides.
Then, there’s the use of CBD as, well, medicine. The FDA has “issued warning letters to companies illegally selling CBD products that were intended to prevent, diagnose, mitigate, treat, or cure serious diseases, such as cancer, and that had not obtained new drug approvals,” according to the federal register. So the FDA ain’t playing games, but it’s also recognized that it needs to issue some sort of regulation because the compound does offer some health benefits.
Still, it’s important that the administration complete a formal review of safety and health concerns to know what people or animals need to stay away from it. It also needs to gather information on how exactly it’s manufactured to ensure that’s happening in a way fit for human consumption. Look, drugs are nothing to handle lightly.
But neither is money: CBD may explode into a $22 billion industry by 2022, according to market analyst group Brightfield Group. That’s why it needs some regulation because CBD can’t just stay illegal—not when that much money is on the line.
This hearing holds the potential to bust those doors wide open. That, or keep them sealed shut. Stay tuned.