Increasing numbers of consumers across the cannabis-consuming world are flocking to purchase products that contain cannabidiol, more commonly referred to as CBD. In fact, BDS Analytics has projected that CBD sales in the United States are expected to surpass $2 billion by 2024.
Despite the popular demand for CBD products, the CBD marketplace in the United States has been hindered by the lack of consistent FDA regulation of CBD. Continue reading for insight into how ambiguous FDA regulation has impacted both CBD businesses and CBD consumers.
A Look into FDA Regulation (or Lack Thereof)
We’ve probably all seen hundreds of different types of CBD products marketed at this point, including CBD-infused candles, salves, and even honey for your morning coffee. So, it might be surprising to hear that the FDA, the US government agency responsible for the regulation of CBD as of the 2018 Farm Bill, has not formally greenlit the sale of CBD products.
Per the FDA website, “Other than one prescription drug product to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy, the FDA has not approved any other CBD products, and there is very limited available information about CBD, including its effects on the body.”
The FDA cites the lack of research of CBD as one of the core reasons that regulations have not been solidified. However, the FDA has not historically provided funding to CBD testing on account of the federal prohibition of cannabis. It’s a catch-22 that is having a negative impact on the CBD industry as a whole.
Impact on CBD Businesses
The lack of CBD regulation, regrettably, allows for bad actors in the CBD marketplace to prosper. The unfortunate reality is that due to the lack of effective regulation, companies who are less-quality- conscious have been able to produce and market CBD products that are cheaply made, ineffective, and sometimes even harmful.
In spite of these bad actors, the majority of CBD business owners want the FDA to draft and implement consistent regulations; once the FDA solidifies and clarifies how to maintain a compliant CBD regulation, businesses can take the practical steps required to ensure compliance with outlined ordinances.
Right now, for CBD businesses, the future is murky. Many businesses are at risk if they do not carry significant financial padding to absorb future compliance requirements. CBD manufacturers are also not permitted to list the health benefits of their products due to the lack of FDA sanctioned research, meaning that businesses are often at a loss of how to appropriately market their products.
Impact to CBD Consumers
As we have seen, the fact that CBD has not been officially approved by the FDA has not stopped companies from creating and marketing products geared to CBD consumers. However, the lack of solidified regulation over CBD products presents inherent risk to CBD consumers who are not aware of how to properly source CBD products.
Lack of consistent regulation means that manufacturers who are not quality-conscious are able to produce and market inferior CBD products and get away with it. Within the industry, you will often hear skeptics refer to these subpar CBD products as “snake-oil” products.
In fact, when some CBD products have been tested, they have been found to contain dangerous ingredients, including lead, heavy metals, or pesticides. Some CBD products have also tested for less-than-advertised amounts of CBD, or even worse, an unsafe synthetic copy-cat of CBD.
From the consumer standpoint, there is no simple way to distinguish between well-sourced CBD products and snake-oil products. Luckily, there are many reputable CBD companies in the marketplace who are committed to providing quality CBD products to their customers and also educating customers on how to source well-crafted CBD, including selecting CBD from companies who have initiated third-party testing and can provide a Certificate of Analysis (COA) for all batches of the product.
As this article highlights, the health of both the CBD industry and CBD customers relies on the implementation of proper FDA regulation. It is up to CBD industry insiders and CBD customers alike to put the pressure on “the powers that be” to formulate effective regulation as soon as possible. It is unacceptable that CBD consumers could possibly be harming their bodies through the use of snake-oil CBD products on their path to getting well.