Friends, a short note about a recent report in Hemp Industry Daily that the FDA continues to wrestle with how to regulate hemp-derived CBD. (link) The article is worth reading in its entirety, in my opinion, but I’d like to focus on one particular point, noting that Douglas Throckmorton, the deputy director for regulatory programs at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, had “stressed that the FDA is evaluating the effects of not just CBD, but also other cannabis-derived products, including many chemical compounds of interest – THC, minor cannabinoids such as CBN, CBG and non-cannabinoid compounds such as terpenes.”
The federal legality of some of these lesser-known cannabinoids remains a bit of a minefield. While there’s less of a question about various THC isomers (link), there are a lot more factors into figuring out whether a specific hemp-derived cannabinoid is legal. For example, the FDA hasn’t yet determined whether any hemp-derived cannabinoid is safe for human consumption. More particularly, CBN can have a mildly psychoactive effect, so it remains to be seen whether the FDA (or the DEA) will treat it like THC (i.e., illegal), or nonetheless allow it when it’s derived from hemp.
I think it’s interesting and ultimately good that the FDA is taking an apparently broad approach in its review – the clarity and certainty of balanced regulation on the full range of hemp byproducts would only serve to benefit the hemp industry (and possibly help set the framework for how the federal government eventually regulates non-hemp cannabis). Nonetheless, where the FDA takes all of this (and when they’ll do so) remains just as much of a question as it was when the FDA first stepped into the CBD regulatory fray in late 2018. (link) Until then, the legality of my (fictional) forthcoming line of cannabinoid-infused knishes remains a mish-mosh.