Nutrition Industry Executive asked Karen Howard, CEO and executive director, Organic and Natural Health Association, Washington, D.C. (https://organicandnatural.org/), the following question:
NIE: In late 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018—the Farm Bill—passed. While it has provisions that some decry and some praise, certainly one major part of it was inclusion of the Hemp Farming Act, the approval of which paves the way for large-scale hemp production in the U.S. Or does it? The FDA’s very confusing statements about hemp and CBD have many wondering what is the long-term future for CBD, hemp and other hemp-derived compounds.
Here is her response:
Howard: After almost 10 hours of testimony at the FDA’s CBD hearing on May 31st, 2019, the only possible conclusion one can draw is that divergent interests are driving highly conflicting points of view. [The position of the Organic and Natural Health Association] is that full spectrum hemp extract is not the same article as the patented and approved drug Epidiolex, nor is it marketed with the intended use to treat disease. Therefore, it is not precluded from use as a dietary supplement.
Not everyone agrees. There are pharmaceutical companies that believe all CBD is medicine, and disease-specific advocacy groups that assert CBD is a treatment modality, pushing it closer to the definition of drug. It has been suggested (and marketed) that products manufactured and labeled “full spectrum CBD,” are not in violation of any laws.
Again, not everyone agrees. States have the authority under the act to regulate Hemp. That, of course, will continue to result in inconsistencies across state lines. The best advice I could give is to carefully evaluate state law, and your tolerance for risk, as a guidepost for appropriate action. Selling in a state that has legalized medical marijuana may offer sound rationale for some. Selling “full spectrum hemp” product is another option.
One thing is certain. The viral adaptation of CBD in this country is not going to be contained by federal, or even state law. It is incumbent upon industry and the trade associations that work these issues to support development of a pathway to market that values science, quality and effectiveness.