What products are allowed to contain CBD?
Hemp derived CBD edibles are appearing everywhere that hemp is legal that means in 47 states. So, the cannabis market isn’t made of just Colorado edibles. Generally CBD is delivered via an assortment of different avenues including oils, edibles, patches and creams. However, most states, except Colorado, don’t allow it as a food item. This means that you can’t go to a restaurant and order chicken parm cooked with rosemary CBD butter. However, there is an entire world of CBD edibles that exist as more of a “dietary supplement” than anything else. Until each state allows for CBD or THC to be a food additive it will stay off the supermarket shelves and out of your restaurant order.
This creates a very nebulous situation for how to regulate it as something consumed, inhaled, and ingested. Should the FDA regulate it? Do the states have jurisdiction over the markets enough to regulate it? Is it really a dietary supplement or is it more of a drug? The issue is highly relevant because in most of the unregulated markets CBD and THC products have been found to contain heavy metals, other contaminants, and incorrect volumes of the labeled cannabis extract. Basic consumer protection seems to be greatly lacking.
Why isn’t more testing done?
New York has decided that all THC and CBD edibles are dietary supplements. This New York law requires that all THC and CBD edibles and all other forms of the extracts be tested for heavy metals. New York is looking to take it a step further to require out of state products similar labeling and testing guidelines. So, this means any Colorado edibles would need to be tested and labeled correctly to be sold in the state of New York. Most states, though, don’t require such stringent testing. Kentucky has argued that such requirements would impair the industry and that their regulatory reach doesn’t include that of hemp CBD processors. Surprisingly, Colorado doesn’t even require testing for heavy metals. Though most states, including Colorado and Kentucky, require testing for THC. Any product over 3% TCH is labeled as marijuana, the controlled substance, and not hemp derived CBD, the legal substance under the recent Farm Bill.
The FDA has been similarly perplexed by the situation. Currently the FDA doesn’t investigate dietary supplements like they do food ingredients. However, the FDA doesn’t consider cannabis as a food ingredient because it is a FDA approved drug. The FDA doesn’t allow drugs to be introduced into consumer food as an ingredient. This has currently stopped the FDA from putting forth any type of regulatory advice or scheme for Colorado edibles, THC or CBD edibles, or any other type of product.
How can consumers protect themselves?
The best way to protect yourself is to understand that issues related to contamination are very few and far in between. Many industry groups have developed due to the lack of state and federal involvement with the goal of self-regulation. They feel that bad businesses with bad products hurt everyone. So, next time you browse CBD edibles online or buy some Colorado edibles from a dispensary do your research on the brands, the company, and the store. Make sure you feel that you can trust everyone involved. The more you know the better!