Will the FDA Clamp Down on CBD?

In December 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (also known as the Farm Bill) was signed into law, officially removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. This effectively lifted restrictions on the production and marketing of hemp products, seemingly paving the way for a legal hemp and CBD (cannabidiol) market in the United States.

The law did not, however, change the fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has oversight over all products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds. And the FDA was quick to release a statement indicating that it will indeed exert authority over the growing CBD industry.


Though Gottlieb’s warning may alarm retailers interested in entering the CBD space, Patrick Goggin, a senior attorney specializing in cannabis at San Francisco-based Hoban Law Group, said the agency has not asserted a position against topical CBD products.

“While the FDA maintains its position that CBD cannot be marketed as a dietary supplement and is a prohibited food additive, this position has never been ruled upon as valid by the courts,” he told CSP.

The agency plans to move forward with a public meeting “in the near future” that will allow various stakeholders to share experiences with CBD and hemp products and explore ways to make the legal pathways “more predictable and efficient.”