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CBD Position Statements

CBD (Cannabidiol)

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active ingredient derived from both high THC and low THC strains of hemp. Those plant varieties with THC levels above a certain point are referred to as marijuana. At the federal level CBD derived from hemp is legal, whereas CBD derived from marijuana is legal in the form of certain FDA approved medications.

CBD is infused into foods, drinks, pet treats, lotions, and almost any consumable product one can find. Claims regarding CBD include alleged anti-inflammatory properties, anxiety reduction, skin/hair/nail health, pain relief, eliminating nausea, addressing neurological problems, heart health, diabetes prevention, tumor reduction, and treatment for substance use disorders. Many of those who sell this product would allege other healthful properties as well. The data behind CBD is far less conclusive.

NCADA’s position with regard to CBD is nuanced, but can best be summed up as “you’re on your own” and “buyer beware.” While there is evidence that CBD can be helpful to patients experiencing certain seizure conditions, Dr. Nora Volkow with the National Institutes for Drug Abuse (NIDA) states, “While the existing data show promise, it is still too soon to tell whether and for whom CBD will be effective.”

Epidiolex

One pharmaceutical-grade CBD product has been approved by FDA: GW Pharmaceutical’s Epidiolex. Epidiolex is a prescription medicine used to treat seizures in people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome.

NCADA supports the availability of FDA approved medications. If a physician and patient feel that Epidiolex may provide benefit, we support their ability to access and use this medication.

FDA Regulation

With the exception of Epidiolex, The FDA does has not approved unregulated CBD products. According to the FDA,

Unlike drug products approved by the FDA, unapproved CBD drug products have not been subject to FDA review as part of the drug approval process, and there has been no FDA evaluation regarding whether they are safe and effective to treat a particular disease, what the proper dosage is, how they could interact with other drugs or foods, or whether they have dangerous side effects or other safety concerns.

Misleading and false claims associated with CBD products may lead consumers to put off getting important medical care, such as proper diagnosis, treatment, and supportive care. For that reason, it’s important to talk to your doctor about the best way to treat diseases or conditions with existing, approved treatment options.

NCADA recommends that the FDA regulate CBD as a dietary supplement and ensure accuracy of potency, legitimacy of medical claims, and monitor for side effects. The FDA is currently examining its options to do just that.

Department of Agriculture Regulation

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), industrial hemp cannot have a THC concentration more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.

Efforts to ensure commercially available CBD products are tested for the minimum allowable THC content should be encouraged. Additionally, products should be tested to verify the accuracy of product labeling and ingredient listing.

Advertising/Labeling

In lieu of federal regulation, NCADA believes that consumer education is critical. Adults should have access to medically accurate information with regard to what they are putting into their bodies.

Commercially available CBD products should not be advertised in a manner that explicitly or implicitly makes unsubstantiated health claims. This includes messages that either subvert discussion of harms associated with CBD use or implies that it addresses conditions for which no evidence exists.