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The latest, biggest stories on scientific research, legal developments, and economic trends in the CBD world. 

CBD Legal Developments

Summary: The new FDA chiefs hints at a new openness to CBD, while the USDA relaxes testing restrictions on hemp farmers. 

FDA Chief: pulling CBD products off the shelves is a “fool’s game”

Hesitancy from the FDA to regulate CBD products has hampered growth in the CBD industry, and the FDA still formally prohibits the inclusion of CBD in any food or drink. That makes any signal of future movement from the FDA significant, and, in this public statement, the new FDA chief has indicated a fairly newfound openness to CBD: “We have to be open to the fact that there might be some value in these products, and certainly Americans think that’s the case.”

“People are using these products,” Hahn, a cancer doctor, said in his first public speech on CBD since taking office as commissioner in December. “We’re not going to be able to say you can’t use these products. It’s a fool’s game to try to even approach that.”

However, this openness hasn’t yet translated into action: the FDA missed a deadline just last week to update lawmakers on the development of enforcement guidelines for the CBD industry.

USDA drops requirement that all hemp crops must be tested by DEA

The initial rule was that all hemp crops would have to be tested by a DEA-registered lab to ensure they had THC levels below 0.3%. Hemp farmers and state governments had protested that there wouldn’t be enough DEA labs to handle demand for the product. This aboutface by the USDA allows hemp farmers to continue to use local independent third-party labs to test their product. 

Minnesota mother fights for law that would allow her son to receive CBD oil at school

Her son has severe epilepsy, and reacted poorly to all but two epilepsy medications: CBD and medical marijuana. However, neither treatment could be administered by school nurses, despite the fact that her son had multiple seizures at school each day. This bill would allow school nurses to administer CBD in-school. 

CBD Science

Summary: New research bolsters the case for CBD as a potent remedy to reduce epilepsy seizures. 

Researchers find that one category/type of CBD is more therapeutic than another

The study, conducted at the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., tracked children with epilepsy who were treated with CBD over the course of the year. There were two groups, one that used a “pharmaceutical grade” CBD oil approved by the FDA, and another that used a variety of non-FDA approved “artisanal” CBD oils. 

They found that the group taking pharmaceutical grade CBD experienced greater symptom relief and had more CBD in their blood. However, the group that used pharmaceutical CBD was more likely to experience side effects (presumably because the doses were much higher). 

New study: CBD successfully reduced seizure frequency in children with epilepsy

The most well-established therapeutic application for CBD, by far, is for epilepsy, and this new study out of Mexico adds to the evidence. Over two-thirds of the children in the study experienced a 50% reduction or greater in the frequency of their seizures. 

Canada forming health panel to explore CBD’s health benefits

The panel will be composed of experts who will provide scientific and clinical advice to the government on it’s CBD policy. 

CBD Business Developments

Summary: A major CBD company lays off a chunk of it’s workforce just months after their launch. A new industry lobbying group is established to fight for regulation in the CBD industry. 

Oregon CBD company lays off nearly one-third of their workers, blames FDA dithering

The brand, Sentia Wellness, had raised over $90 million for their launch just 5 months ago, and had partnered the parent group of Sports Illustrated Magazine to distribute a line of CBD topicals. They blamed the uncertain regulatory environment for the layoffs. 

Cannabis industry launches a lobbying group, it’s first goal: legalize CBD-infused food and drink

The group has already assembled a team of industry experts and sat down with the FDA. Their goal is to create a regulatory pathway for CBD-infused food and drink to be legalized. This type of industry organizing and lobbying is an encouraging sign: it’s going to be a critical part of the push to clear a regulatory path for CBD.

Sephora announces strict quality standards for it’s CBD products

As you can see from this newsletter, the lack of regulation in the CBD industry is playing an increasingly central role in its development. Now, retailers are taking things into their own hands, starting with Sephora, who just announced a strict set of standards that any CBD product they carry must meet. Their four standards are:

  1. Must be full-spectrum from USA-grown hemp
  2. Must be tested at least 3 times for qualit and purity
  3. Must have a Certificate of Analysis (COA) verifying CBD levels
  4. Must meet the Clean at Sephora sourcing standards