Manufacturers of CBD-based foods, beverages, and nutritional supplements have pretty much enjoyed a regulatory-free ride since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp and CBD products across the board. Now, it appears as though that free ride may be coming to an end. Congress is looking to regulate CBD as a food and beverage ingredient.
According to multiple press releases, a group of four bipartisan House members recently introduced the CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act. Should the bill eventually become law, it would give the FDA regulatory control over CBD as an ingredient in foods and beverages. It is assumed the FDA would also have authority over CBD as a nutritional supplement or over-the-counter medicine.
CBD Is Currently Unregulated
As things currently stand, CBD is unregulated at the federal level. Most states do not regulate it either. That leaves manufacturers with a wide-open environment to utilize CBD as they see fit. The result is a plethora of CBD products now available in virtually every department store and neighborhood pharmacy. And of course, customers can buy their CBD products online.
Lawmakers say that the lack of regulation has also led to a lack of industry standards. They believe that the environment is a potentially unsafe one for consumers. Their case is made somewhat by the recent popularity of Delta-8 THC and the tendency of some product manufacturers to include it in their CBD formulas.
Delta-8 Unregulated as Well
Like CBD, Delta-8 is a naturally occurring cannabinoid. However, cannabis plants do not produce enough of it to make extracting and processing it worthwhile. Still, processors have figured out how they can synthesize Delta-8 in a lab setting. That is exactly what they do, according to Houston-based CedarStoneIndustry.
Cedar StoneIndustry says that they CBD extraction equipment can easily extract it from plant material using any number of methods. Once extracted and isolated, processors can then convert CBD into Delta-8 THC. The resulting substance can then be used as an ingredient in virtually any legal CBD product.
Delta-8 is not subject to federal regulations at this time. Only a few states have taken action to restrict or ban it altogether. The problem with Delta-8 is its intoxicating effects. People buy Delta-8 products instead of their Delta-9 (marijuana) counterparts because they can do so easily and cheaply. Delta-8 presents a different kind of high, but a high, nonetheless.
The Market Needs Standards
Lawmakers and industry advocates alike contend that the market needs standards. In order for those standards to be developed, some sort of federal regulation is required. At least that is the thinking among the lawmakers who have proposed the new legislation.
Should they succeed in getting the bill passed, lawmakers may decide not to stop there. There is plenty of room for additional CBD and THC regulation now deemed appropriate in light of thirty-seven states legalizing medical cannabis and eighteen of them giving the green light to recreational use.
Standards could be applied to everything from cannabis farming to CBD extraction and product labeling. The end goal would be to ensure that consumers not only get pure and safe products, but also that they know exactly what they are buying. Standards and regulations would make it more difficult for manufacturers to do what they do in secret.
Will the bill pass the house? No one knows for sure, but there is no reason to believe it won’t. How often does Washington turn down an opportunity to further regulate? If it does pass the House, it is on to the Senate. Perhaps the president will have a bill to sign by the time spring rolls around.