There’s a CBD craze in the United States, from skincare to ingestible drops to soothe your anxious pet. With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is federally legal, and the FDA is working on creating reasonable regulations for the CBD industry in terms of when it is appropriate to deem it a drug versus a food supplement.
Despite the CBD trend and slew of information online about cannabidiol’s purpose and effects, many Americans still retain a fear of CBD and what it will do. Education and regulation are ever important for this industry to prosper in the states.
“People still worry for some reason that they’re going to get high or potentially sick off of CBD,” says Jonathan Miller of the US Hemp Authority.
About eight years ago, Jonathan Miller wrote an article for Huffington Post about why the US needs to legalize marijuana. The Agriculture Commissioner of Kentucky saw Jonathan’s article and asked him to help get hemp legalized in the state. At the time, Jonathan says he didn’t know the difference between hemp and marijuana, but he agreed. They worked together to get legislation passed in Kentucky and continued on by working with federal legislators to create what is now the 2018 Farm Bill.
Jonathan is also an establishing member of what is now known as the Hemp Roundtable, the nations leading hemp business advocacy organization. The Hemp Roundtable has been lobbying for the past years for hemp legalization and takes a stand for safe access to CBD products.
On May 31, 2019, the FDA held a Hemp Hearing where they discussed how and why the FDA will be involved with Hemp Regulations in the United States.
At the FDA Hemp Hearing, Jonathan was one of over a hundred people to testify. Jonathan says the testimonials came from a variety of people; farmers, CBD company owners, consumers, scientists, and university professors.
Miller spoke to the FDA about the safety of CBD, asking them to act immediately, and stating that CBD should be available as a nutritional supplement or food additive.
“We embrace regulations that aren’t onerous, and urged them to act hopefully within a 1 year period to lift this cloud and allow CBD to be provided for a demanding public,” says Jonathan.
As with how regulations and legislation in the cannabis industry have shut out mom and pop shops, many people who have been providing hemp and CBD for years are concerned that big pharma companies or conglomerates will take over hemp.
Jonathan described a relieving testimony from GW Pharma, a mega-corporation that many people have feared would take a monopoly on the CBD industry. Miller says GW Pharma is in support of CBD being sold as a dietary supplement as well as a drug, meaning that smaller CBD companies will not have to fight with big pharma, or at least GW Pharma.
“As long as mom and pop shops have FDA approval, they will be fine,” says Jonathan. He explained that the regulations aren’t going to be on mom and pop shops, rather, they will be on CBD manufacturers.
“The one challenge is that it is going to be more expensive to produce CBD, but I do think it is wise not to allow a free for all where people are making CBD in their bathtubs. Which is happening. There are substantial regulations to produce food products, but they’re meant to protect health and safety. We just want to make sure that the FDA doesn’t go overboard and do too much onerous regulation because that could not only hurt smaller businesses but hurt the entire industry by limiting the kinds of products that could be sold,” says Jonathan.
The FDA is still looking for consumer data and information about the safety of CBD. July 2nd is the deadline for submissions to the FDA. Testimonies can be submitted to the FDA through an online docket.
Looking Forward to CBD’s Future
Jonathan says The Hemp Roundtable believes hemp regulations will come in three forms:
- Doseage limitations. For example, a doseage over which CBD can only be sold as a drug, and under which CBD will be sold as a supplement.
- Labeling claims. For example, a product’s label should not contain claims of medicinal value unless the goes through the process of becoming a drug.
For consumers looking for a safe CBD product, Jonathan suggests people look at US Hemp Authority’s 18 regulated brands. US Hemp Authority has developed high standards, best practices, and self-regulation for CBD companies. Miller explained that it’s just the beginning, so if a company isn’t regulated by The US Hemp Authority, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an unsafe product.
“Be sure when you buy a product, you go to the company’s website and learn more about it. Legitimate companies are going to have certificates of analyses and will go through what is actually in the products. I strongly encourage people to do their research online,” says Jonathan Miller.