More Senate members urge the Food and Drug Administration or FDA to establish a clear set of regulations for CBD and its related products to protect the buying public and to sieve the slowly congesting industry.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) called on the FDA during a press conference last Tuesday to issue a statement to clear the air about CBD and how it could be legally marketed. He and five other senators penned a letter to the FDA requesting to hasten their rulemaking process regarding the said substance.
During his speech, Blumenthal presented gummies, tinctures, and seltzer water as examples of useful CBD products for consumers.
Although hemp-derived CBD is lawful under the 2018 Farm Bill, there is still a lack of regulations that caused both good and lousy CBD products to be marketed at the same time. The senators reiterated that having quality standards can prevent unsanctioned claims and inadequate labeling from marring the CBD industry.
Blumenthal further stated that the bad players in the market should be removed from the mix to give way for products that are legally and accurately promoted.
The senator and his colleagues are set on encouraging the FDA to provide a regulatory framework that works to protect consumers and businesses alike. Setting rules for classification, marketing, labeling, quality, and more ensures that buyers are getting the right and honest product they want.
Blumenthal also added that the issue receives bipartisan support, with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), State Majority Leader, being a champion for the hemp industry.
Blumenthal duly signed the letter, as have Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).
The senators ask for an update from the FDA within 90 days, citing that the current actions undertaken by the agency are inadequate.
In the letter, they also stated that buyers rely on the guidance of the FDA concerning products, such as in ingredients. They also point out how manufacturers can develop effective and safe CBD products for consumers if they have clear regulations to follow.
They also noted how the CBD industry is growing more extensive than FDA’s efforts in establishing rules can handle. They ask to expedite the agency’s efforts in promoting transparency and accuracy for CBD products.
Blumenthal also guested on a WTIC radio interview to encourage the agency to hasten their CBD rulemaking efforts.
FDA’s “inadequate” CBD endeavors
FDA acknowledges the 2018 Farm Bill that the president duly signed into law last December, but they are also concerned that CBD only exists as an FDA-approved drug and therefore complicates the rulemaking process.
Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner, stated early this year that to market CBD as a supplement or food item, they should establish an alternative regulation that may take years to achieve.
Last month, 26 House members formed a bipartisan coalition that sent the FDA a letter to ask about discretion guidelines on enforcement while they work to create the final rules. They want the FDA to issue a statement regarding the agency’s enforcement priorities so that companies making unsubstantial claims may be reprimanded.
McConnell also called for a guide to lawful marketing of cannabidiol products in a report on congressional spending last month.
Blumenthal reiterated that failure on the part of the FDA to hand out a concrete regulatory framework endangers the consumers and inhibits the growth of the CBD industry as a whole.
Heads Up: TSA Officers Might Not Like Your CBD Oil
Cannabidiol or CBD is the wonder cure that the world is gradually noticing; Forbes reported a forecast of the industry growing to $5B this year. However, various rules and regulations in the United States question the absolute legality of the substance.
According to Dr. Peter Grinspoon from the Harvard Medical School, the confusion regarding CBD stems from it being a derivative of marijuana’s cousin plant variety, the industrial hemp. CBD is also an essential component of medical marijuana but does not cause the “high” from use.
Many agencies have changed their stance regarding the substance, including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), that previously disallowed travelers from carrying CBD on board. Last May, the TSA remarked that CBD is allowed provided that it does not contain more than 0.3% THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound responsible for marijuana’s high.
Questions about TSA’s New Rule
The public raised important questions about the new rules on CBD that TSA is currently implementing. For instance, people wonder how enforcers will check the THC content of a product, so they know if it contains the right amount or not. This situation, however, can hold lines and cause disturbance for other travelers, which also leads to many issues concerning CBD.
For another, state laws and regulations are varied and hold no consistency regarding the matter. Hemp and hemp-derived products may be legal in almost all states, but cannabis purchase and use are still primarily frowned upon across the country.
What might be wise to do at this point is to evaluate the product carefully and ensure that it meets all the TSA qualifications. As a personal care product, it’s far from being a harmful item that officers watch out for, such as weapons, explosives, and other destructive equipment.
Minchul An, doctor of pharmacy for CBD seller Buzzn, suggests carrying a certificate of analysis to clarify the product’s ingredients, which could help supplement the information found on the labeling. However, this document may only be available upon request.
Varying degrees of state rules and regulations
In the United States, laws and regulations for CBD differ from state to state.
Travis Rexroad, Weedmaps public relations director, stated that there are nuances to consider when flying with CBD on hand. He added that although the federal government has made its move to legalize CBD derived from hemp, there are still states that implement stricter laws on the substance. This could lead to travelers facing the consequences if they are found to have CBD with them.
NBC Miami reported the case of a 69-year0old lady who was arrested at Disney World Florida last April when authorities found CBD in her purse. They detained her for 15 hours for carrying what she said was a doctor-recommended product for her arthritis.
CO-Head William Garvin of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, a law firm that advocates for the cannabis industry, said that CBD is nothing like the usual consumer products. He made an example of Diet Coke, which one can buy in Missouri and carry all the way to Montana. This case is not acceptable to CBD due to conflicting laws between states.
Experts and advocates like An and Garvin do not advise traveling with CBD due to the risks. Expensive CBD products could be confiscated, or worse, the traveler could miss their flight. All of these problems are dependent on the destination and the laws on CBD that the state implements.
Garvin added that it’s more practical to buy CBD oil from wherever the traveler is going to since it is widely available across many states. Ultimately, it is up to the person carrying CBD if they are amenable to facing the risks of traveling with the product.
CBD Gummies Found in Kentucky Trick-or-Treat Candy
Law enforcers in Williamsburg, Kentucky warn parents regarding trick-or-treat candy. The police have received a report that some CBD gummy bears were included in some trick or treating loot bags.
The law enforcers further determined that the case was an isolated incident. Parents sent word to the police about the said candy bags that seemed suspicious.
Police are still warning parents to watch out for CBD gummies and check their kid’s Halloween candy. They urge parents to report any suspicious sweets they find in the loot bag and contact authorities as soon as possible. Parents are also advised to throw out the candy they find suspicious.
CBD sweets: are they useful?
CBD gummies were the most Googled edibles in the US last year. However, much like other CBD products, there aren’t many studies that back claims on CBD gummies.
Research by Joseph Maroon, MD from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center showed CBD to have promising effects on pain, inflammation, and anxiety, but it is limited to pure preparations of the compound.
While clinical evidence is hard to come by, users are still praising CBD products for being a “miracle” remedy for many health conditions. Aside from pain and anxiety, two of the most reasons for CBD use, people also claim its relaxing effect.
Others use CBD to help them sleep better, which is a therapeutic benefit that is yet to be proven.
CBD or cannabidiol is now a widespread ingredient for many wellness products such as tinctures, pills, lotions, creams and more. There is also a growing market for CBD water, or sparkling water incorporated with cannabidiol.
Are CBD gummy candies legal?
There is still a lot of controversy surrounding CBD in spite of its popularity. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns consumers regarding CBD edibles since there aren’t many studies to back up different claims.
As of press time, there is only one medication containing CBD approved by the FDA. Epidiolex is a CBD drug used to treat intractable epilepsy, which doctors can legally prescribe.
Many states have become amenable to the purchase and use of CBD. However, the FDA stance has put a halt to CBD ventures, especially that of the edible kind. Various politicians, including a bipartisan coalition in the Senate, has penned a letter to the FDA, urging the agency to hasten the development of a concrete regulatory framework for CBD.
CBD candies’ legality is up for debate, but users are keying in on this product because it looks and tastes just like regular gummies. There are a variety of flavors, shapes, and colors to choose from. Users prefer this form of CBD because it is easy to ingest.
The federal law based on the 2018 Farm Bill holds in all the states, making industrial hemp legal for cultivation, processing, and marketing. However, hemp and hemp-derived products like CBD should not have more than 0.3% level of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, the active component in cannabis that causes psychoactive effects like that in marijuana.
Common Drug Tests Cannot Tell Difference Between CBD and THC
Some people are getting in trouble due to returning a positive result in a drug test after taking cannabidiol or CBD.
Mark Pennington, a resident of Colorado, relayed to the New York Times how he almost lost the joint custody of his 2-year-old son after his ex-girlfriend took a hair follicle from the child and had it tested for drugs at a specific laboratory. The result showed positive for tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which is the psychoactive component in marijuana.
Pennington worked at Colorado Hemp Honey, a company that sells raw honey infused with CBD. He stated that he was letting his son take the CBD honey, which is non-intoxicating, unlike THC, which is still mostly illegal.
CBD legality and confusion
Both CBD and THC are compounds found in Cannabis sativa L.; however, cannabidiol or CBD is legal provided that it is derived from the hemp variety of the said source plant. Last December, President Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill, which legalizes hemp and its derived products as long as it does not contain more than 0.3% of THC.
Frank Conrad, Colorado Green Lab chief technology officer, spoke with Pennington and showed a study detailing how common drug test methods can mistake CBD presence for THC. It explains how Pennington’s son might have gotten a false positive drug test result.
Two chemists from a private research company in Oregon, Cascade Chemistry, reviewed the study and confirmed to The Times that such drug testing problems might occur.
Pennington took Conrad as a witness and won equal custody of his son. He is now planning to sue the lab to bring awareness to problematic testing methods, which could affect many people since the CBD industry is booming.
Conrad said he worked on similar cases like Pennington’s; one client got arrested for a positive THC test after taking CBD, violating his parole. Another couple from Florida got charged with possession following a positive THC test result for their CBD-containing gummy bears.
Every case that Conrad testified on was dropped by prosecutors after he explained how there is a problem with the testing method itself.
Emerging drugs and opioids committee chair Bruce Houlihan of the American Society of Crime Lab Directors in Orange County expressed his worry regarding the drug testing method. He said that it is difficult to estimate how many labs mistakenly test CBD for THC since the methodology used is determined in-house.
It’s also a challenge to count how many people have lost jobs or parental rights due to positive THC test results. There is also the matter of drug driving, which does not distinguish between the type of drug they are caught to have taken.
In the states that legalize marijuana, it is still entirely lawful for employers, public housing authorities, child protection services, and other agencies to hold drug testing for THC.
The drug test method
The method in question for testing THC uses a typical chemical analysis instrument, the gas-chromatography mass-spectrometry (GC-MS) machine. Most devices undergo derivatization or the use of a chemical or sample to determine trace amounts of the illegal substance. One common agent used is the trifluoroacetic anhydride or TFAA.
In the published study introduced by Conrad, TFAA used in a GC-MS machine makes it difficult to distinguish between CBD and THC.
Other labs have upgraded their method to high-performance liquid chromatography, but GS-CS devices are still widely used.
Quest Diagnostics Senior Director Barry Sample said they are aware of the problem but insisted that their laboratory does not use the said methodology. However, a woman came forward after being fired last year for testing positive for THC using a urine sample.
The woman took a CBD product for a couple of weeks before the drug test. She stated that the product she took came from a reputable company and even had lab results for the product posted on their website.
More issues surrounding CBD
A false positive drug test is just one problem among the bunch that has happened since the cannabis industry saw significant growth in their market.
Since research for such compound was illegal, people are not informed about their chemistries. Rodger Voelker, an analytical chemist from Oregon, noted how regulatory agencies are reactionary and slow to take action.
For example, there is no standard measure for cannabis intoxication. The methods for testing show only whether a person used the illegal substance a few days prior.
As policies and laws change, testing methods have to be upgraded, which also requires substantial resources, says former American Society of Crime Lab Directors President Matthew Gamette.
He recalled an incident last January when Idaho troopers seized 7,000 lbs. of cannabis with the assumption that these were marijuana. The company that owned the crops sued the Idaho State Police for mistakenly taking the said plants, which were legal hemp.
Pennington believed that the lawsuit against the laboratory would help law enforcement and consumers understand cannabis laws so that no one else goes through what he did.
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