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FDA CBD Report to Congress Echoes Warnings to Public; More Work Remains

Sally Greenberg: “While this is an important step in warning consumers, much more work still remains to protect consumers from the wild west of the current CBD market.”


March 5, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – National Consumers League (NCL) Executive Director Sally Greenberg today released the following statement in response to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report to Congress on its Cannabidiol (CBD) enforcement efforts.

“Today’s report from the FDA underscores many of the warnings we have been making through Consumers for Safe CBD,” said Greenberg. “While this is an important step in warning consumers, much more work still remains to protect consumers from the wild west of the current CBD market. Consumers still face many unknowns related to these products, and as today’s report states, FDA shares our very serious concerns around the lack of testing, misleading health and medical claims, and illegal products that remain on the market.

“Consumers for Safe CBD will continue to call for strong enforcement of existing regulations, setting safe concentration levels for CBD products, all while encouraging robust clinical research into CBD’s potential to improve health and lives,” Greenberg added. “We are extremely encouraged that FDA has recognized the need for incentives to further encourage CBD- drug development in order to fully untap the potential of CBD’s medical uses to ensure public health safety.” Learn more about Consumers for Safe CBD’s solutions online HERE.

FDA reiterates that the agency “continues to be concerned about the potential safety risks of using CBD and about problems related to a number of currently marketed CBD consumer products…,” explaining that “CBD is not a risk-free substance.”

According to the report, FDA is analyzing safety questions and has a plan for product sampling specifically related to products that may be mislabeled. The report also details some of many health risks, “Currently available clinical data demonstrate that CBD is associated with potential risks, including liver injury, drowsiness, and potential for drug interactions. Animal studies found risks including those related to male reproductive toxicity.”

The agency has announced that CBD is not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for its use in human or animal food - thus confirming CBD foods and beverages are illegal under the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act. FDA also sent warning letters to 15 companies for illegally selling various products containing CBD and continues to warn consumers that there may be serious risks to using CBD.

Consumers for Safe CBD is working to encourage the FDA to enforce current laws against products that make medical claims that pose a high risk to consumers, establish a clear distinction between FDA-approved medicines and other consumer products, including helping to define safe concentration levels of CBD, and encourage further research for FDA-approved CBD treatments so that consumers can have more options and more trust in the marketplace.

Learn more about Consumers for Safe CBD HERE.

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About Consumers for Safe CBD

Consumers for Safe CBD, a project of the National Consumers League (NCL) created in partnership with the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), is working to educate consumers about the potential dangers of CBD in an unregulated market and to encourage the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take strong, effective, and prompt action to protect the public from the potential harms posed by unregulated, untested CBD.

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