Products containing CBD, or cannabidiol, are suddenly popping up everywhere. The cannabis-derived compound is appearing in food, drinks, dietary supplements, creams and pet products, and they’re being sold in retailers ranging from health food stores and cafes to salons and spas to bodegas and gas stations.
But despite the explosion in interest in products containing CBD, a confusing web of contradictory laws and inconsistent enforcement has left manufacturers and retailers scratching their heads about whether they should jump into the market. And a lack of education in the marketplace means that in many cases consumers and retailers are clamoring for CBD without a clear understanding of what they’re getting (see Buyer beware: The CBD market is a bit like the Wild West).
The sudden swell in CBD products stems in large part from the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill last December. CBD is derived from the hemp plant, which prior to the Farm Bill was classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, a category that includes dangerous drugs such as heroin. The bill removed from the controlled substance list cannabis and cannabis derivatives with no more than 0.3 percent concentration of THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana.
“But there’s a fallacy that the Farm Bill made everything having to do with what we’ll call industrial hemp legal. The problem is that it’s a lot more complicated than that,” said attorney Marc Ullman, who is of counsel to Uniondale-based Rivkin Radler. Ullman represents clients in matters relating to Food and Drug Administration regulatory issues with a focus on the dietary supplement/natural products industry.