The FDA's role with CBD products

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The popularity of CBD continues to rise. The extract from the hemp plant doesn't get you high, but is being promoted for a lot of uses, including insomnia and chronic pain. Last week the FDA held its first public hearing on the booming industry.

Roxana Gonzalez Leyva

Dr. Alicia Arnold sat down with Tyler Mickelson to discuss the CBD industry, and the FDA’s role. Their Q&A can be found below.

Let’s start with why this public hearing was held? What is the FDA’s role in this industry?

Dr. Alicia Arnold, “Products intended to have a therapeutic or medical use are considered drugs, which are supposed to be approved by the FDA. The FDA was concerned with how many CBD products there are out there that are marketed for medical or therapeutic use even though they don’t have FDA approval. By regulating products, the FDA aims to ensure quality and safety for consumers.

So these products could be violating the law?

Dr. Alicia Arnold, “Yes, and besides legal concerns, they could also potentially put people’s health at risk since these products haven’t been proven to be safe or to work in the way they are advertised. Even if the products do work, the dosages haven’t been established, they could interact with other medications someone might be taking or they may have harmful side effects.

Has the FDA approved any drugs so far that contain CBD?

Dr. Alicia Arnold, “Epidiolex is a medication that contains a purified form of CBD for the treatment of certain seizure disorders. Their approval means that the FDA concluded that this particular drug is safe for patients and effective, meaning that it does what it claims to do.

We're told right now, more research is needed, what does this mean? What are they testing?

Dr. Alicia Arnold, “Before decision are made by the FDA about safety and efficacy, thorough scientific studies need to be completed. They need to see what kinds of effects CBD could have on people, potentially both positive and negative. They would follow greater numbers of people for longer periods of time. There are many claims out there about what CBD can do and personal stories, but there aren’t many quality studies.

Who is involved in the research process? Who does the FDA listen to?

Dr. Alicia Arnold, “The FDA relies on researchers to submit data which is reviewed by the FDA. The FDA would then make certain that the product meets standards for approval. The FDA is not objecting to investigations of CBD, they are just stating they need more information to ensure safety. Drug trials often take years, so it could be quite some time until questions about CBD are officially answered.