There’s no doubt about it; the popularity of CBD is exploding and mainstream products are popping up all over the market. In fact, estimates place the growth to exceed $5 billion in 2019, which is a 700% increase from 2018.
Medicines to treat medical disorders, such as Epidiolex, are making huge waves in the market, and everyday products ranging from CBD-infused foods and water to cosmetics and creams are all promoting CBD health benefits. There are even CBD-infused dog treats to address anxiety and other ailments.
However, the market is waiting with bated breath to see how the FDA will weigh in on its decision for regulations.
The Bill That Started It and the FDA’s Impact
The reason for increased popularity (besides the science-backed benefits) is due to the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, better known as the Farm Bill. This bill removed low-THC cannabis and its derivatives from the Controlled Substances Act, allowing for the use and sale of CBD. (As of right now, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I substance.)
While this is good news for hemp farmers and lovers alike, the FDA has still not announced how it will be regulating these products. This has kept the market somewhat in check as it waits for the FDA decision.
The FDA’s decision will not only cement the legality of CBD products, but it will also make the cultivation and processing of hemp economically feasible.
Additionally, it will pave the way for setting positions for other federal agencies, including the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco and Trade Bureau.
The reason for the delay in issuing regulations is that the FDA is still trying to parse out all of the effects of CBD.
In a blog post from June 19, FDA officials stated, “While the agency continues to believe that the drug approval process is the best way to ensure the safety of new drugs, including those made with CBD, the agency is committed to evaluating the regulatory frameworks for non-drug uses, including products marketed as foods and dietary supplements.”
The acting chief information officer, Amy Abernethy, took to Twitter to lay out the FDA’s intentions, saying, “To understand the breadth of issues and gather data on safety we have conducted a public hearing, reviewed the medical literature, and have an open public docket.”
The FDA held a public hearing on May 31 to offer stakeholders a platform to air their opinions on the matter. They also allowed the public the chance to weigh in until July 16, during which time they received 3,000 comments that were published on the public docket.
A decision from the FDA should come in late summer or early fall of 2019.
The Future of CBD
As CBD products gain greater traction in the public eye and are made more accessible in large chains and through online retailers, the valuation is expected to grow. In fact, analysts forecast that the CBD market could reach around $23 billion in sales by 2023.
Of course, this all hinges upon the path that the FDA decides to take with CBD regulations.