Insiders predict hasty appointment of new FDA chief, who will oversee policy on CBD

Choosing a new head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will be a top priority for President-elect Joe Biden as the nation continues to wrestle with a pandemic with no end in sight.

That’s a change from previous administrations, where the FDA chief was not the first priority, Kaiser Health News reports. Some 4,000 positions are appointed by the executive branch, making transitions a hectic time.

“It is a difficult period because you’re going to have a lot of folks who need to get into place,” said Max Stier, CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, which advises presidential candidates and their teams installing new administrations. “The track record has not been good on getting people in quickly.”

The person Biden selects will have an immense responsibility during unprecedented times to help lead the nation out of the pandemic. The FDA chief will also influence what the FDA ultimately does to regulate CBD products.

The FDA has given nothing but mixed messages on the extract. The agency says CBD can’t be sold outside of pharmaceutical channels, but has done little to enforce that position even as thousands of over-the-counter CBD brands popped up, many sold alongside prescription medications in pharmacies.

The change in leadership also comes as the FDA puts a spotlight on CBD and gender. The FDA’s Office of Women’s Health has called a Nov. 19 “multidisciplinary scientific conference” to talk about how genders might be affected differently by cannabinoids.