We are officially less than 24 hours away from the start of the FDA’s much-anticipated hearing on how to regulate CBD or Cannabidiol – and emotions are running high in the nutraceutical industry (no pun intended).
Why is Tomorrow's FDA Public Hearing On CBD Necessary?
Shortly after President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law which effectively removed hemp from the controlled substances list, former FDA commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, expressed concerns about the market being further flooded by brands selling inferior products and making unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits of CBD. According to the Natural Products Association (NPA), more than 1,500 new CBD products were introduced into the market since 2016.
To its credit, the FDA has been quick to admonish those organizations that have chosen to unlawfully market their products. For example, the FDA, in collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), issued warning letters to three CBD manufacturers in April for making false claims related to more than a dozen different products and spanning multiple product web pages, online stores, and social media websites.
Additionally, the media has been quick to call out those CBD brands whose products fail to meet label claims. In February, an NBC News affiliate in Miami, FL purchased and sent 35 CBD products out for testing to ensure the amount of CBD in the product matched what was being advertising on the label. Of the 35 samples that were tested, a staggering 20 products had less than half of the amount of CBD advertised and in some cased some products had no CBD in them at all.
Earlier this year, Congress called on the FDA to take action because of the aforementioned product quality and marketing issues – but also because there’s a lot of money at stake. CBD market analysts, such as Brightfield Group, expect the U.S. hemp CBD market to reach $22 billion by 2022. Even the FDA recognizes the emerging value of this market. Dr. Gottlieb stated after the passage of the Farm Bill that he and his organization recognized the potential opportunities that cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds could offer.
But, the explosive growth everyone has been hearing and reading about will not be realized unless regulations are put into place. The first step towards accomplishing this will occur tomorrow morning.
Our 3 Bold Predictions for Tomorrow's CBD Hearing
1. Get ready for a very long day
The public hearing is currently scheduled to commence at 8:00 AM EST and last until 6:00 PM EST. According to an article published by CNBC.com, approximately 140 CBD manufacturers, researchers, farmers, retailers, and state government officials are scheduled to testify and give presentations throughout the day.
Safety, marketing, manufacturing, labeling requirements, and prescription drugs are just some of the many topics we expect to be discussed and debated.
2. You won't get the clarity you're looking for
It’s important that you set your expectations accordingly for tomorrow’s hearing. The FDA views this event as a listening session and an opportunity to get a holistic view of cannabis. It will also accept comments from the public until July 2nd before it starts to piece together the first draft of regulations. However, industry experts have cautioned the public, manufacturers, and brand owners that a finalized set of rules and regulations could take years to finally happen.
Another option that Dr. Gottlieb mentioned was that the FDA could decide not to act at all and request that Congress legislate a solution.
3. Expect the CBD market to continue to grow in size & value while regulations are being drafted & finalized
In the immortal words of one of my favorite fictional characters, Gordon Gekko, “Greed is good.”
As I previously mentioned, tomorrow’s hearing will generate a lot of attention because there’s a ton of money at stake. Cannabis producers are building hemp production facilities and big retail chains are already permitting the sale of CBD products. The bottom line is that the industry stands to lose a TON of money if the FDA (and possibly Congress) blow this opportunity.
While the FDA pieces the framework for regulation together, don’t expect the size and value of the CBD market to decrease. Demand is sky high for CBD supplements, topicals, and beverages among consumers and there’s no sign of it slowing down anytime soon. In other words, don’t expect manufacturers and brand owners to stop churning out the public wants while the FDA attempts to get its act together.
What are your expectations for tomorrow's hearing? Let us know your thoughts and predictions in the comments section! Also, don't forget to follow us on Twitter (@nutrascilabs) - our team will be live tweeting the FDA's webcast throughout the day.
About the Author: Andrew Goldman
Andrew Goldman is the Vice President of Marketing for NutraScience Labs. In this role, he leverages his 15+ years of B2B inbound marketing experience to develop cutting edge strategies for our firm. A health and fitness enthusiast, Andrew and his team won the 2012 Stevie Award for Marketing Team of the Year. He is also a two-time Best In Biz Silver Award winner for Marketing Executive of the Year and has received other honors and accolades for his website design work.