CBD (aka cannabidiol) is an active ingredient in hemp and marijuana plants that, unlike THC (the main psychoactive compound in marijuana), doesn’t get get the user high. While it’s marketed as a health and wellness product capable of relieving anxiety, stress, pain and insomnia, CBD remains largely unregulated on both a federal and state level.
According to the Albany Times Union – the industry around CBD continues to skyrocket across the state and that has attracted unscrupulous players whose interest in making a buck overrides concern for product transparency and consumer safety.
In the last four years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued dozens of warning letters to CBD companies selling mislabeled, falsely advertised, adulterated and contaminated products.
The federal 2018 Farm Bill, enacted in December, was intended in part to clear up the legal status of CBD. But the law also created new confusion for businesses wanting to sell CBD food or drink. For some, it is impossible to follow one set of regulations without being in breach of another.
In New York, for example, officials at the state Department of Agriculture issued guidance in December saying it was legal to sell “CBD tea,” “chocolates with CBD drizzle” and other CBD edibles, so long as the products are made and marketed as dietary supplements, which are governed by more stringent standards than ordinary food.
But the department also warns that doing this will run afoul of rules issued by the FDA, which said it was unlawful to add CBD to food or to market it as a dietary supplement.
The difference between state and federal law led to a recent crackdown in New York City, based on safety concerns regarding some CBD edibles that were being sold at local shops.
In New York, hemp farmers and processors have teamed up with lawmakers in hopes of clarifying rules around the industry.
In the meantime, some retailers are trying to get the word out to consumers about ways to stay smart and safe when trying CBD products. According to the Times-Union article, some questions consumers need to ask before purchasing the now-legal product from a business include has it been third-party tested? Does the business have proof? And can the customer see it?