Last December, Congress passed the Farm Bill, a legislation that legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp. This came after spirited efforts by lobbyists and a group of senators led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to legalize hemp, the plant which produces cannabidiol (CBD). Their efforts were backed by the knowledge of a market ready and willing to purchase CBD products.
However, a recent poll has revealed some troubling news. The fact that the FDA hasn’t come up with regulations is hurting the industry. And worse, people who need the benefits that CBD offers are avoiding it due to the uncertainty of the industry.
The poll, carried out for the Natural Products Association (NPA) found that a large percentage of American are less likely to use CBD products. Carried out over the first two weeks of October, the poll uncovered that unsurprisingly, 41% of CBD users would stop using it if someone they knew fell ill from CBD use. 70% feel that CBD users should have already established safety standards for CBD products, and 65% believe Congress should direct the FDA to establish safety standards for CBD products.
67% were either unaware or unsure if the CBD products currently on the market were illegal or not, and 41% of them believed the FDA had already set safety standards for CBD. In August, an FDA official said that while the FDA was excited about the potential for hemp-derived CBD, but since there was very little credible scientific research, the Administration had to first have the complete picture before moving forward with regulations. Unfortunately, that could take a while.
It has resulted in a sort of lawless market. Some sellers are making wild claims about what their products can do, despite this being illegal. The lack of standardization has also led to products of varied quality, with some sellers selling products with more or less CBD content than advertised. Coupled with the uncertainty surrounding the legality of CBD products, it’s unsurprising that a lot of people felt that way.
CBD-based epilepsy drug Epidiolex also takes a little of the blame. Currently, federal law forbids the marketing and sale of a food or dietary supplement containing CBD as it already exists as an FDA approved drug. There are exceptions, though, in instances where CBD was used in a food or supplement before drug tests and approval. “With the exception of Epidiolex, all CBD products in the U.S. are considered illegal by the federal government,” says the NPA.
Still, times may get bleaker for CBD sellers if the process takes too long. Customers who need CBD products will have a rough time too. “If CBD experiences a vaping-like crisis,” says Daniel Fabricant, speaking of the current health issues attributed to vaping, “It’ll be bad for public health, bad for the benefits CBD offers and bad for the hemp industry’s growth potential.”
Analysts agree that all CBD industry players, including The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) and SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB: SING), would like to see the industry regulated so that no grey areas remain to cause uncertainty in the industry.
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