CBD: It can cure migraines, eliminate anxiety, help you sleep at night and even prevent cognitive decline -- or so the manufacturers of CBD-infused food and drinks say. The FDA, on the other hand, is not so sure.
As CBD continues to gain popularity as the ostensible token to perfect health, more and more startups are producing their own versions of CBD seltzers, snack bars, chocolates and gummies. While these CBD-infused products might taste good, without FDA approval as a food ingredient, there's no way to truly know if what you're consuming is safe -- or if the product label is even accurate.
Here's what you should know about those CBD beverages and snacks you might see at your local drug store or supermarket.
This story discusses substances that are legal in some places but not in others and is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You shouldn't do things that are illegal -- this story does not endorse or encourage illegal drug use.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a chemical compound that comes from the cannabis plant. It's not the only cannabinoid -- scientists know of more than 100 compounds from the cannabinoid family -- but it certainly seems to be the most popular. Other than delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, of course: the one that provides a "high."
After the 2018 US Farm Bill made hemp farming legal as long as plants contain less than 0.3% THC, products with CBD began flooding both virtual and brick-and-mortar shelves. Tinctures, capsules, snack bars, beverages, body oils, pain-relief salves and more -- all infused with CBD -- soared in popularity.
CBD became so popular because of its purported health benefits. Here are some of the claims:
As of yet, there is no definitive answer as to whether it's safe to consume CBD. And because there's no definitive answer, the FDA's stance on CBD as a food additive is just plain "no."
The FDA has only approved one CBD product for oral consumption, -- a prescription-only drug to treat two rare and serious forms of epilepsy. CBD is not approved as a food additive, and it's illegal to market any food products or dietary supplements with CBD. This includes the oodles of CBD-infused seltzers that have become so popular in the last couple of years,
The FDA has taken this stance on CBD food and drinks because there's a lack of scientific data on whether or not CBD is safe to consume. The agency says it's only seen limited data and the data that does exist actually "point to real risks that need to be considered before taking CBD for any reason." Health officials are concerned that CBD has long-term health effects that might not show symptoms for years, and thus the FDA has not added it to the "generally recognized as safe" list of food additives.
What's more, because CBD is currently a relatively unregulated ingredient (other than, you know, the fact that it's illegal to market), some products make health and medical claims that may not be true and may use ingredients of unknown quality.
The bottom line: CBD food and drinks are not known to be safe, and consuming them before there's valid data available could result in health complications later in life.
Just to clarify: No. CBD is illegal in foods, drinks, capsules, ingestible oils and any other form of consumable product. Until the FDA adds CBD to the "generally recognized as safe" list, it will remain illegal to market and sell CBD-infused products as foods, drinks and supplements.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.