FDA nominee: CBD shows promise, but many ‘open and unanswered questions’

The nominee to take charge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says he wants to see more research to answer “open and unanswered questions” about CBD.

Dr. Stephen Hahn, a cancer specialist from Houston who is awaiting Senate confirmation to lead the FDA, is telling U.S. senators that CBD already has “a pathway for medical products.”

But he has concerns about CBD products that haven’t undergone pharmaceutical review.

“There are some open and unanswered questions that have to be filled in by research,” Hahn told Sen. Jacky Rosen, a Nevada Democrat who asked during the nominee’s confirmation hearing about expediting research on cannabis medical treatments.

Talking specifically about CBD, Hahn said he wants to know:

  • Appropriate dosing.
  • Implications of long-term use.

Hahn pointed out that CBD is approved by the FDA to treat certain types of epilepsy.

“There are also some indications – cancer, palliative-care setting – where CBD might be of benefit,” he said.

However, Hahn said the FDA has reason to worry about how CBD products are being marketed.

“I think unsubstantiated claims, like we see in the marketplace, are of concern, in terms of things like curing Alzheimer’s or curing cancer.”

The nominee did not say how he would approach the agency’s CBD review, but he concluded that he’s a “huge supporter of getting research and clarity and transparency around the processes to allow us to get the medical products to patients.”

The hemp industry says the FDA’s inaction on allowing over-the-counter CBD use is costing profits and shelf space.