FRIDAY, May 31, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration took a good look at the safety and effectiveness of CBD products on Friday, as it weighs how to best regulate the hemp-derived compound going forward.
During a public hearing that stretched for hours, the agency heard testimony from folks on all sides of the issue.
In opening the hearing, FDA Acting Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless said, “critical questions remain about the safety” of the products, CNN reported.
“While we have seen an explosion of interest in products containing CBD, there is still much that we don't know,” Sharpless added.
To say the market for CBD products has exploded in the past year would be an understatement.
Everything from oils to gummies to pills, creams and ointments are now for sale at supermarkets and specialty chains. You can even get massages infused with CBD, or cosmetics laced with the drug.
All of these products contain cannabidiol but not THC, the ingredient in pot that provides a “high.”
CBD products have swamped the market not because of any new medical evidence, but because of a change in federal law.
Late last year, Congress passed a farm bill that lifted a decades-old ban on growing hemp. As long as the plant contains less than 0.3% THC, hemp can be grown legally anywhere in the United States by licensed farmers.
The bill specifically said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration cannot regulate hemp products like CBD. So, it's now up to the FDA to manage the CBD craze.
But what do scientists really know about the health benefits and risks of CBD?
Precious little, experts say, and consumers should take care that they aren't wasting their money.
“You have a flood of CBD products that are coming from hemp that are going out onto the market, and you've got all sorts of claims being made about those from people who are trying to sell them,” said Timothy Welty, chair of the department of clinical sciences at Drake University's College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, in Des Moines, Iowa.