Cannabis stocks were mostly higher Tuesday, as investors braced for a Friday hearing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on how to regulate cannabis and its popular ingredient, CBD.
CBD, a non-intoxicating substance, is widely held to have wellness properties, although not a lot of research has been conducted as yet, as MarketWatch’s Sarah Toy has reported.
The substance can be extracted from the cannabis plant or from hemp, which has caused confusion ever since hemp was legalized as part of December’s 2018 Farm Bill. CBD was not legalized in that bill, but rather it was moved under the purview of the FDA, which immediately said companies cannot add it to food or beverages, as many are hoping to do. That’s because it’s the main ingredient in the only cannabis-based drug to win FDA approval, GW Pharma's Epidiolex, a treatment for severe forms of childhood epilepsy.
The FDA is under pressure to create a regulatory framework to allow the use of CBD to treat such ailments as inflammation and anxiety, but it has said it may look to Congress to act instead, if it’s unable to move in a timely manner. The regulator has been cracking down on companies making claims for CBD products in treating serious illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, as MarketWatch reported last week.
The FDA is not expecting the hearing to produce concrete decisions, but rather to serve as a platform for all parties to put forth their views.
“Nonetheless, the hearing is a big deal for at least two reasons,” said Ricardo Carvajal at FDA Law Blog. First, although CBD has been in the news, the hearing is not just about CBD or even hemp. It’s about cannabis, he wrote.
“Second, the hearing will give different stakeholders a very public forum in which to plant their respective flags, and to draw attention to the issues they view as critically important,” Carvajal wrote. “Potential benefits of cannabis and its derivatives? Check. Potential safety