FDA Issues Consumer Warning On CBD Products

By Kelly Burch 07/10/19

The FDA is working to research the safety of CBD and other cannabis products to better understand how to regulate them.

scientists handling CBD product

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a consumer warning urging people to proceed with caution when using CBD products for themselves or their animals. 

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes the significant public interest in cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds, particularly CBD,” the warning reads. “However, there are many unanswered questions about the science, safety, and quality of products containing CBD.”

The FDA has only approved one CBD product, the anti-seizure medication Epidiolex. Despite that, many other products make health claims as they relate to people and animals, but the FDA cautions consumers that these claims are unsubstantiated. 

More Research Is Needed

“The FDA has not approved any other CBD products, and there is very limited available information about CBD, including about its effects on the body,” the warning said. 

The FDA is working to research the safety of CBD and other cannabis products to better understand how to regulate them. This includes looking at the way that CBD affects the liver. Research has indicated that CBD can be linked with liver damage, which is cause for concern as people use the product liberally. 

More importantly, the FDA points out that people should not use CBD products as a replacement for medical care. 

“Misleading and false claims associated with CBD products may lead consumers to put off getting important medical care, such as proper diagnosis, treatment, and supportive care,” the warning read. “For that reason, it’s important to talk to your doctor about the best way to treat diseases or conditions with existing, approved treatment options.”

Protecting Public Health

The agency has issued warnings to companies that market their CBD products as ways to relieve the effects of certain diseases. 

“The FDA’s top priority is to protect the public health, and that includes making sure consumers know about products that put their health and safety at greatest risk, such as those claiming to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure serious diseases,” the organization wrote. 

In addition to better understanding how CBD affects people, the FDA is researching how CBD affects animals, and whether it is safe for animal use. Right now there are many CBD products marketing for animals, but the claims for their effects are unproven, the organization said. 

The organization is collecting public comments online through July 16. The public input will help inform policy going forward. 

“The FDA continues to believe the drug approval process represents the best way to help ensure that safe and effective new medicines, including any drugs derived from cannabis, are available to patients in need of appropriate medical therapy,” the organization wrote. “The Agency is committed to supporting the development of new drugs, including cannabis and cannabis-derived drugs, through the investigational new drug and drug approval process.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.