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There Is A Need for FDA Approval Before Industrial Hemp Can Tap the Big Markets

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Posted 28th June 2019 at 03:57 PM by solomonm

The year 2018 was a big win for hemp farmers after the farm law led to the legalization of hemp, which saw it fall under the category of an agricultural product. While this was a great milestone towards the legalization and use of hemp, there is much that needs to be done. For example, hemp farmers have faced another setback as they wait for the development of federal regulations on hemp-derived CBD.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the non-psychotic element that is derived from the hemp plant. What makes it preferable is the lack of a “high” feeling as opposed to when one uses THC that is present in marijuana. Although further impacts of the element remain unknown, it has been successfully used as a calming and pain relief medicine. There have been concerns that CBD is instrumental in curing cancer among other sicknesses, but due to the legal complexities involved in cannabis, quality research on the issue is yet to be carried out.
The FDA having the last say on the effectiveness of CBD and claims that companies can make in relation to the substance, had scheduled a public hearing on May 31st. This hearing would involve talks on cannabis-infused products and its derivatives. However, before that, the FDA had set up an agency whose sole responsibility was to investigate the important pathways for CBD fused conventional foods and dietary supplements.

Farmers called for various regulatory frameworks that would help deal with the situation. For example, a suggestion was made to allow the use of small CBD concentrations as a food additive. Additionally, this would also prompt the use of highly concentrated CBD as an approved drug. However, from the hearing, it was clear that there is a need for more data. The efficacy of CBD needs to be studied more. The regulators, on the other hand, called for public safety information regarding the use of cannabidiol, while FDA is checking to see how safe CBD is for the people.

Growing Market and Demand
There has been a growing market and demand for CBD fused products. Companies have already spearheaded marketing campaigns on pet foods, creams, and oils. Restaurants and cafes have also been left behind in providing foods with CBD. Big corporations such as Walgreens Boot Alliance and CVS Health Corp have already started selling hemp products on their outlets.

However, even as the market is growing and the industry experiencing a boom, there is a need for regulators to catch up. The lack of federal regulations means that farmers will lose out on investors due to the fear of selling their products. Regulations will act as a compass which will point out the direction that those in the CBD business should take.
With the way forward still being unclear, major food suppliers have decided to have the idea of selling CBD products on hold. Whole Food Market has stated that it would only sell CBD products after issues regarding the regulation of CBD have been resolved. It will also be a hard task in convincing investors to spend their money in an avenue that lacks a sense of clarity.

How long will the wait be?

Farmers have been legally growing hemp since 2014 under an Agricultural Department Pilot Program. However, there has been a lot of confusion regarding the CBD derived from the plant. The lack of proper regulations has forced states such as Vermont, Missouri, and Alaska to create temporary regulations which have eased the sale of hemp-driven food products. Other states have gone on record to state that they are penalizing the use of hemp-derived CBD.

With such uncertainty on the fate of hemp-derived CBD, the FDA will sooner or later have to decide on the use and sale of CBD products. At the moment, this does not seem to be among the FDA’s top priority list. Investors have expressed worries that 2019 might be slipping away without having attained approval.

Solomon M
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