The California Department of Public Health’s Food and Drug Branch (CDPH-FDB) updated its FAQs last week to expressly ban the use of CBD products derived from hemp. They claim that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved hemp derived CBD as a safe ingredient in food so they have banned it in all food, gum, drinks, food additives and dietary supplements for humans and animals in California.
Changes as a Result of the Ban
The news is likely to cause some problems for the many companies engaged in creating CBD products. Currently, there is a host of hemp derived CBD foods, including dog treats, available on the market. Those using the products will have to go through a change as even products manufactured out-of-state won’t be available for purchase in California. Industrial hemp as the source of the CBD is the main issue here. Other products will still be available.
The Reasoning Behind the Update
The Food and Drug Branch of California’s Dept. of Public Health’s FAQ states that “although California currently allows the manufacturing and sales of cannabis products (including edibles), the use of industrial hemp as the source of CBD to be added to food products is prohibited. Until the FDA rules that industrial hemp-derived CBD oil and CBD products can be used as a food or California makes a determination that they are safe to use for human and animal consumption, CBD products are not an approved food, food ingredient, food additive, or dietary supplement.”
The Scheduling of Cannabis
Cannabis, including CBD, the non-psychoactive compound known for its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects, is still considered a Schedule I drug by the FDA. This puts it in the same category as heroin as the highest risk drug for abuse, unsafe for testing on humans and having no medicinal purposes. All attempts to provide government approved research showing its medicinal purposes have been blocked by the Department of Justice.
The Type of CBD That is Banned
While medical marijuana and CBD, in particular, are legal in 30 states for medicinal purposes (which include assisting those with epilepsy, cancer and AIDS), the federal government has failed to make any progress in its research or reclassification of marijuana. There are two kinds of marijuana plants. The female, which is higher in THC and the main flower smoked or vaped for medicinal and recreational purposes, and the male plant, hemp. Hemp only has a low CBD content and is not generally the plant used for medicinal purposes. It is more commonly used for textiles and ropes and hemp oil is used as an oil and moisturizer. There are companies that use hemp to acquire a low dose of CBD for their products. It is this variety that is banned.
The FDA recently approved a CBD product created by GW Pharmaceuticals. It is a cannabis-based medicine called Epidiolex and is used to treat two rare and dangerous forms of epilepsy. Clinical trials showed that the compound was extremely effective at treating the disorders. This may prove to be the first long term step in the direction of having the FDA approve CBD.