The explosion of CBD and hemp products has been exciting to watch and partake of in the past few years. The industry has seen so much wonderful growth and innovate new products, throughout the country. However, marketing and promotion of CBD products still has its own challenges. This is largely due to the fuzziness surrounding CBD regulations.
The laws haven’t been exactly clear or consistent when it comes to CBD products. Recently though, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced various regulatory changes that will be happening soon. Some of these are already beginning to affect CBD companies.
Let’s have a look at what’s in store for CBD regulations.
CBD Regulation Update: The FDA is Cracking Down on CBD Claims
One thing to immediately take note of is that the FDA has recently been coming down on companies that have been making claims regarding their CBD products. The FDA has recently been having hearings regarding the way CBD products are marketed. They have also begun issuing letters to some companies regarding their marketing language.
In particular, the FDA is becoming less tolerant of companies making “pharmaceutical-like” claims about CBD. These include claims like:
- Making claims about CBD healing “chronic pain”
- Claims regarding mental conditions like anxiety, depression, and PTSD
- Various claims that are unsupported by research
For the time being, CBD and hemp companies would do well to update their content dos and don’ts, and refrain from making these types of claims about their products. Note that the FDA isn’t questioning whether CBD actually can do these things. They are just concerned about how these claims are presented to the consumer market.
So, we’re not talking about defective CBD batches, product recalls, or a change in the legal status of CBD. Rather, companies should just be aware of how they’re marketing their products, and should refrain from these types of claims.
FDA Hearings: Highlights of CBD Regulations
As mentioned, the FDA has begun holding hearings and inviting comments regarding CBD regulations. They have also issued a very informative statement on their current commitment to CBD, which can be read in its entirety here.
Some highlights of the hearings and the statement include:
- Consumer representatives have expressed their desire for clear, consistent regulatory pathways to enable marketing of CBD and other cannabis-derived products
- There is a strong need for clearer safety standards, compliance guidelines, and enforcement measures for CBD, hemp, and cannabis products
- More research is needed to evaluate and verify the clinical and therapeutic applications of CBD
- Consistent terminology is also needed to facilitate communication around products
- Stronger industry standards are needed to address potentially dangerous manufacturing quality issues with CBD and cannabis products
We’re glad to see that more discussion and communication is being held around these important subjects. We’re also happy to see that the FDA’s main concern seems to be a genuine interest in consumer protection and safety, not so much the question of legalization, especially with regard to CBD and hemp-derived products.
The FDA also appears to be open to new applications of CBD so long as it is backed by sound scientific research. The FDA may be open to incentivizing research for CBD products.
These are all positive signs. It appears we’re finally moving past the question of legality and moving into a full discussion of how CBD can exist as a fully legitimate product in the consumer marketplace.
New FDA CBD Regulations Report Due For Release This Fall
There will also be a report on the progress of FDA CBD regulations by this fall. One of the main issues they’re considering is the fact that CBD hasn’t been fully approved for consumption in the food supply. Regulations may hinge on whether a particular CBD product is marketed as a drug versus as a food product.
There are indications that: CBD products that are promoted and held out as drugs will be regulated as such; products that are treated more like foods will be regulated in a more relevant manner. This could lead to two different sets of regulatory schemes — one for pharmaceutical CBD products, and one for CBD products integrated into food products.
This is an important area to consider that could lead to many potential grey areas. The question then becomes, what is a food product, and what is a CBD drug product? This is one area that we’d like to see address very soon.
Other areas that will need close attention include:
- Distribution of CBD products across state lines — these may fall under federal interstate laws and could involve all sorts of federal issues
- Dishonest or inaccurate cannabis packaging and labeling with regard to CBD content (i.e., products containing less CBD ingredients than what is claimed on the packaging and labeling)
- Making unfounded claims for CBD products (as mentioned above)
- Timing periods for implementation and enforcement, and whether there will be any grace periods for companies to implement
Cannabis Marketing Guidance for CBD and Hemp Companies
These are all very, very important issues for cannabis, hemp, and CBD companies to consider. These could very well mean the success or failure of CBD companies far and wide. Those that don’t comply with new regulations will likely fall to the wayside. The good news is, we’re getting closer to cannabis products being seen as legitimate market products.
If you need any guidance or assistance with your CBD packaging or marketing efforts, contact us at 4Blooms. We’ve been around since the beginning of legalization in our area and can assist you with marketing campaigns custom-made for your company.