The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the interstate commerce of cannabis and hemp extract, CBD, with 0.3% or less of the hallucinogenic component, THC. While CBD has boomed in cosmetics and personal care products since the signing of the bill, CBD is still not approved in food and beverage as a dietary supplement because the FDA has not yet deemed the ingredient GRAS (generally recognized as safe). The hemp and CBD industries are waiting for a regulatory framework from the FDA.

In the likely case that the FDA allows CBD to be sold as a dietary supplement in the near future, the hemp-derived CBD market is predicted to grow to $16.8 billion by 2025 even with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Brightfield Group. How soon will the FDA pass regulations around CBD in the food and beverage space? We have up-to-date answers on the latest predictions and general status of CBD.

  • On January 31, 2020, the Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, Rep. Collin Peterson (Minnesota) introduced H.R. 5587, in an effort to speed up the FDA’s safety evaluation of CBD. The bill would allow CBD to be permitted in dietary supplements, amending the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to include CBD; however, Congress is unlikely to pass the bill in 2020.
  • On March 5, 2020, the FDA released a detailed report on the agency’s evaluation of potential regulations for CBD products. The agency reiterated its prior statements that CBD cannot be marketed as a dietary supplement or used as an ingredient in foods and beverages.
  • On July 8, 2020, the FDA submitted a report to the U.S. Congress providing results from a sampling study that focused on assessing the level of adulteration and mislabeling in the CBD marketplace. The FDA plans to start a long-term study of CBD products with sampling and testing conducted by a third party.

In these uncertain regulatory waters, different companies are wading into the market with various CBD products. While large retail chains such as Walmart and Target are unlikely to stalk CBD food and beverage products until regulations arrive, The Vitamin Shoppe took a risk and now carries CBD in approximately 572 locations across the U.S., carefully navigating legal uncertainty and various regulations in each state.

Attorney David Kastin, one of the lawyers who helped The Vitamin Shoppe bring CBD in dietary supplements to their shelves, recommends that other manufacturers formulating with CBD follow GMP – Good Manufacturing Processes. “CBD is not really a dietary supplement to the FDA. But follow everything you can at the manufacturing level,” he said in an interview with Hemp Industry Daily.

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