FDA Head Admits Agency Has Been Slow To Regulate CBD, But Suggests Congress Needs To Do More

FDA said it is exploring regulatory pathways to allow for CBD commerce

Speaking to a congressional panel on Thursday, the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged that his agency has taken little regulatory action on CBD products in recent years despite the federal legalization of hemp and its derivatives.

“It looks pretty much the same in terms of where we are now,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf told a House Appropriations subcommittee during a hearing that touched on CBD regulation, the nationwide shortage of baby formula and the therapeutic use of the plant kratom. “We just know more because we’ve done more research.”

The bulk of FDA funds spent on cannabidiol so far “has been spent on research to figure out what the risks, if any, are of various uses of this material in its different forms,” Califf said, adding that “the amazing plethora derivatives of the cannabis plant [are] surely quite profound and astounding and already in widespread use for a variety of means.”

But while Califf insisted he wants FDA to continue moving forward on rules for CBD products, he said the agency likely needs broader regulatory powers from Congress to get it done.

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