During the Food and Drug Administration’s first-ever CBD hearing last week, Acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless said that while the agency has seen “an explosion of interest” in the cannabis-derived products, “there is much [they] don’t know,” PBS reports.
The hearing included speakers from the nutritional supplement industry, private citizens, medical cannabis patients, hemp businesses, and Greenwich Biosciences – the company behind FDA-approved CBD pharmaceutical Epidiolox. Alice Mead, the company’s vice president of U.S. professional relations, testified that the agency’s “approval process is the only way to answer important questions about a drug, about the disease it seeks to treat, and safety considerations that are unique to the patient who will take the drug,”
She added that, following 20 years of studying the compound, the company found evidence that the cannabinoid was “potentially toxic to the liver.”
Megan Olsen, assistant general counsel of the dietary supplement lobby the Council For Responsible Nutrition called the CBD industry “out of control” and urged the agency to act quickly.
“FDA does not have the luxury of time,” she warned regulators, according to the report.
At least one CBD proponent, Jonathan Miller, the general counsel for the Hemp Roundtable, an industry association, echoed the “urgent need for an efficient regulatory framework.” He added that the association was willing to help the FDA “establish measures of quality, safety, and transparency” for the emerging industry.
According to the report, it was clear the FDA wanted more data but Sharpless did not indicate what data the agency was seeking or when it anticipated the crafting and release of any federal CBD regulations.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is also working on crafting hemp rules following last year’s passage of the Farm Bill, which legalized the crop federally. To date, the USDA has released guidance for importing hemp seeds and a memo clarifying that interstate transport of hemp is legal.
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