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Consumers Call for FDA Oversight of Rapidly Growing CBD Market
Kentucky Ag Connection - 11/21/2019

The National Consumers League (NCL) announced a new initiative, Consumers for Safe CBD, in partnership with the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). Consumers for Safe CBD will warn the public of the potential risks related to CBD products.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis and derived from the hemp plant. The CBD market is growing rapidly with $500 million worth of CBD products sold in 2018 and a forecasted $1.8 billion in sales by 2022. However, research into and regulations around the safety of these products lags behind. CBD products include oils, candies, soaps, and even dog treats. It has been marketed to a wide audience for treating a range of health concerns, including joint discomfort, anxiety, stress, and other mental and physical ailments.

Consumers for Safe CBD aims to educate consumers about what is known about CBD and what remains to be studied. The effort will also encourage the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use its existing authority to protect consumers, provide guidance to manufacturers, and encourage further research for FDA-approved CBD treatments.

New public opinion research conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner finds that voters overwhelmingly -- an 83 percent majority -- support allowing the Food and Drug Administration to evaluate and regulate CBD products. The research found that ensuring the safety and effectiveness of CBD grows even stronger among those who have used CBD products or describe themselves as very familiar with them. When asked about illness resulting from vaping CBD, 83 percent of respondents expressed concern, with nearly half, 48 percent, being very concerned.

"This is a clear and present public health issue," said Sally Greenberg, executive director of National Consumers League. "Consumers are being told these products will cure their chronic illnesses and help their anxious pets or children. Yet there is no scientific evidence behind the claims. What's even more concerning is that without FDA's stamp of approval, we do not know what is in these products. Not only could CBD have negative side effects or interactions with other medications, these products may contain contaminants and ingredients that could harm consumers."

"Consumers for Safe CBD is calling for CBD products to pass the gold standard tests that the FDA has put in place to protect consumers," Greenberg explained. "CBD clearly has some potential therapeutic benefits but with unregulated, untested products exploding in the market, consumers are at risk."

"Consumers need to understand that FDA has not evaluated the safety or efficacy of the CBD products lining the shelves of supermarkets, convenience stores, and coffee shops," said Thomas Gremillion, director of food policy, Consumer Federation of America. "Without stronger regulations, consumers cannot even have confidence that the products they are purchasing contain the amount of CBD listed on the label. FDA should play a bigger role in assuring consumers that CBD products are safe and effective, and Congress should support that role."

"Our priority at CADCA is educating people about the dangers of addiction and preventing substance use and misuse," said General Arthur T. Dean, chairman and CEO of CADCA. "When it comes to the new and growing CBD market, our greatest concern is that people do not know what is in these products, and whether or not they may contain THC. More regulation and research is needed, given the proliferation of these unregulated products."

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