The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held its first hearing on CBD products May 31.
No decisions are expected yet, but the hearing is seen as an important step toward clarifying regulations surrounding CBD products.
Hemp-derived CBD is said to help with anxiety and insomnia, among other issues. Unlike marijuana, it doesn’t doesn’t contain the psychoactive component THC.
The 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized hemp-derived CBD, but the FDA said companies still can’t add it to food or sell it as a dietary supplement.
In March, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said it could take years for the agency to create rules around CBD in food products without Congressional action. The process can take two to three years for typical products. Because of CBD’s association with marijuana, and because it was already approved by the FDA as a drug to treat epilepsy, it could take much longer.
More than 400 people and groups applied to speak at the hearing, which included 10 hours of testimony from hemp growers, start-up businesses, academic researchers and consumer advocates who spoke about how the FDA should regulate the rapidly growing CBD industry.
At the hearing, Gottlieb’s replacement, acting commissioner Ned Sharpless, said answers to most of the questions surrounding CBD are still unknown.
“There are important reasons to generally prohibit putting drugs in the food supply,” he said.