The website CBD.how created a stir on Reddit this month with their prediction that the United States Food and Drug Administration will ban CBD (cannabidiol) isolate products in 2020. I will embed their video in this post below. When I first saw this video I was skeptical. CBD is everywhere. How can the FDA put the genie back in the bottle?
The FDA does have a history of banning substances that are being sold as supplements if the same substance is being used (or studied) as a drug. Pyridoxamine is a form of Vitamin B6 that has been shown to reduce “age-related glycation end products” (AGEs). In this way it may protect the cells of diabetics from damage caused by high blood sugar levels. In 2009 the FDA retroactively banned pyridoxamine from sale as a dietary supplement because a company was studying it as a potential new drug. Several companies were selling it as a supplement and had to stop. In this case the FDA banned a vitamin. It almost seems like the FDA only bans the really effective supplements.
Like pyridoxamine, CBD is being sold as a dietary supplement by multiple companies. CBD is also available by prescription as Epidiolex®. Doses recommended for children with epilepsy are much higher than the products you see in stores and online. For example, a U.S. dosage calculator recommends 227 to 554mgs per day for a 50 pound child. At these higher doses elevated liver enzymes were found in some research subjects.
The FDA can ban chemicals but not whole plants. (Only Congress can ban plants federally and it’s the DEA – not the FDA – that enforces these bans.) Full spectrum and broad spectrum hemp oils contain multiple ingredients and are quite different from CBD isolate. These oils usually contain many cannabinoids, sometimes including trace levels (below .3%) of THC. The FDA may have more trouble banning these products, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp and hemp derivatives. The FDA arguably does not have the power to make hemp derivatives illegal again.
I don’t have a crystal ball (and neither does the guy from CBD.how.) If the FDA does step in and ban some CBD products I agree that the CBD (cannabidiol) isolate products are the most vulnerable.
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