FDA Provides Update Related to Cannabidiol Products

After embarking on a comprehensive evaluation of cannabidiol products, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued updates on their efforts, including several new steps in areas of education, research, and enforcement to continue to protect the public health and work to provide market clarity.

“We’re seeing CBD being marketed in a number of different products, such as oil drops, capsules, syrups, food products, such as chocolate bars and teas, cosmetics and other topical lotions and creams, as well as products marketed for pets and other animals – and we understand consumers are seeking out these novel products for a variety of perceived health-related or other reasons,” said the FDA in a statement.

The agency states that it remains focused on “educating the public about the number of questions that remain regarding CBD’s safety. There may be risks that need to be considered before using CBD products outside of the monitored setting of a prescription from your health care provider.” In particular, the FDA recently updated the public on concerns about potential harm from CBD products, including potential liver injury, interactions with other drugs and male reproductive toxicity, as well as side effects such as drowsiness.

“There is still much we do not know about other potential risks. For example, other than the approved prescription drug, we know little about the potential effects of sustained and/or cumulative use of CBD, co-administration with other medicines, or the risks to vulnerable populations like children, pregnant and lactating women, the elderly, unborn children and certain animal populations. This does not mean that we know CBD is unsafe to these populations or under these circumstances, but given the gaps in our current knowledge, and the known risks that have been identified, we also are not at a point where we can conclude that unapproved CBD products are safe for use. We encourage Americans to consult with their health care providers before using CBD products,” the agency added.

Furthermore, the FDA maintains that it is seeking reliable and high-quality data to address the questions and concerns already raised. The data includes the sedative effects of CBD; the impacts of long-term sustained or cumulative exposure to CBD; transdermal penetration and pharmacokinetics of CBD; the effect of different routes of CBD administration (e.g., oral, topical, inhaled) on its safety profile; the safety of CBD for use in pets and food-producing animals; and the processes by which “full-spectrum” and “broad spectrum” hemp extracts are derived, what the content of such extracts is, and how these products may compare to CBD isolate products.

“Given the importance of answering these questions, we’re exploring a number of ways to address the data gaps as quickly as possible. This includes encouraging, facilitating and initiating more research on CBD, providing venues for industry and researchers to share new data with the agency and identifying opportunities to further collaborate with our federal partners at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and National Institute on Drug Abuse on this important issue,” the statement concluded. 

The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 has opened significant new opportunities for research, according to the FDA. To learn more about the agency’s efforts on the matter, head over to their website to read the full statement.