FDA exec: Don’t expect an exception for CBD

CBD treatments are promising, but far more research needs to be done before federal authorities can allow them in foods and dietary supplements, according to a leader of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s new cannabinoid work group.

Talking to the National Industrial Hemp Council, Lowell Schiller warned CBD producers in attendance that the FDA plans to treat hemp extracts like any other new ingredient going into foods or drugs – meaning that without research on dosing and drug interactions, the agency is unlikely to approve over-the-counter use.

“We don’t hold a grudge against (cannabinoids), but we also don’t hold them to a lower standard of safety or absolve them of other requirements,” he told the gathering in Portland, Oregon.

“Consumers have a right to expect the same level of FDA protection with respect to hemp and derivatives like CBD as they would expect with respect to any other substance.”

Schiller repeated FDA concerns about:

  • Potential adverse effects from CBD use, including liver damage.
  • The lack of data on long-term use of CBD.
  • Unproved claims of therapeutic benefits from CBD.

“If we don’t think we’ll have the data to say that some level of CBD can be safely added to a food or dietary supplement, then we wouldn’t want to create an exception for CBD,” he said.

Schiller told the industry group the FDA is excited about cannabinoids’ potential for therapeutic use, but more research is needed. He said the agency would report progress on its cannabinoid review in “early fall.”