Federal CBD Regulations Are Finally Coming

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The US Congress approved several key cannabis provisions in the 2020 annual appropriations bill, which includes funding federal research into cannabinoids and hemp, as well as crafting new regulations around CBD.

So, what’s on the list for cannabis, exactly? Perhaps the most consequential provision, for now, is the $2 million going to the FDA to help the agency finally draft some solid CBD regulations. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-intoxicating component of cannabis with some accepted medical use. Currently, estimates place the CBD market around $2 billion

The FDA has not regulated the fledgling CBD market beyond sending cease-and-desist letters to companies that have made health claims on their CBD products. So far, the FDA has only approved of one CBD product for medical use — Epidiolex, a CBD drug made from cannabis, used to treat rare seizure disorders.

CBD regulations could include standard dose amounts, required contaminant testing, or warning labels. 

Another provision asked the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to award $1 million in research grants regarding the efficacy of CBD and kratom, a tropical plant-derived powder that could treat opioid addiction. 

Other provisions requested that the National Institutes of Health begin investigating the health effects of CBD and CBG. CBG, or cannabigerol, is another cannabinoid found in cannabis. CBG is often described as the “mother of all cannabinoids,” since it serves as a precursor for the more prominent cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

And one final provision demands that the National Institute of Drug Abuse, or NIDA, report on how federal drug laws interfere with legitimate scientific research. Marijuana, which remains illegal at the federal level, is classified as a Schedule I drug, a category so restrictive that most research groups can’t properly study it. NIDA has 120 days to produce the report. 

Most of the appropriations bill’s surviving cannabis provisions only address hemp and hemp-derived products. Issues related to marijuana, the type of cannabis that remains outlawed at the federal level, were blocked or dropped prior to the appropriations bill’s approval by Congress, Marijuana Moment reported. For instance, marijuana cultivation on tribal lands, marijuana industry access to the banking industry, and military veterans’ access to medical marijuana were previously proposed by the Democratically-controlled House, but ultimately got axed by the Republican-controlled Senate. 

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