FDA Says No to Regulating CBD Products as Supplements

The use of cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, has surged in popularity over the past few years. CBD, a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants, has been touted for its potential health benefits, leading to the emergence of various CBD-infused products in the market. However, despite its growing popularity, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken a cautious approach towards regulating CBD products as supplements.

Understanding CBD and Its Popularity

CBD is one of the many cannabinoids present in cannabis plants. Unlike its counterpart, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not produce the “high” associated with marijuana. Instead, it is believed to offer various potential health benefits, such as pain relief, anxiety reduction, and anti-inflammatory properties. This has led to a booming market of CBD products, including oils, tinctures, edibles, and even skincare items.

FDA’s Current Stance on CBD Products

The FDA currently does not approve CBD as a dietary supplement. Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), any ingredient that has been approved as an active ingredient in a drug cannot be used in a dietary supplement. Since CBD is the main component of Epidiolex, an FDA-approved medication for certain types of epilepsy, it falls under this category, making it ineligible for dietary supplement status.

Arguments for Regulating CBD as Supplements

Potential Health Benefits

Supporters of regulating CBD as supplements argue that consumers can benefit from easier access to CBD products. By making CBD supplements more widely available, individuals seeking alternative health remedies might find relief from various conditions, such as chronic pain or sleep disorders.

Consumer Safety and Quality Control

Another significant argument is that regulation would ensure better quality control and consumer safety. With proper oversight, the market could be rid of low-quality or mislabeled products, protecting consumers from potential harm.

Economic Opportunities

Regulating CBD as supplements could open up new economic opportunities for businesses and farmers involved in the CBD industry. It could lead to increased research, job creation, and revenue generation for both local and national economies.

Arguments against Regulating CBD as Supplements

Insufficient Research and Data

One of the main concerns raised by opponents is the lack of comprehensive research on CBD’s long-term effects. While some studies suggest potential benefits, there is still a dearth of clinical data and research to fully understand its implications on various health conditions.

Potential Risks and Side Effects

Detractors also point out that CBD may have potential risks and side effects that are not yet fully understood. The lack of regulation might lead to unchecked use, potentially causing adverse effects on certain individuals.

Existing FDA-Approved CBD Medications

Critics argue that with an FDA-approved CBD medication already available in the market, regulating CBD as a supplement could create confusion among consumers and healthcare providers regarding dosages and usage.

FDA’s Perspective and Public Concerns

The FDA recognizes the public’s interest in CBD products and the potential benefits they may offer. The agency is actively exploring regulatory pathways to address the complexities surrounding CBD.

The FDA is also aware of the public’s concern about CBD products’ safety, quality, and efficacy. As such, it encourages companies to engage with the FDA to ensure compliance with existing regulations and quality standards.

The Future of CBD Regulation

The future of CBD regulation remains uncertain. As more research and data become available, the FDA may reconsider its current stance. However, until then, consumers and businesses operating in the CBD industry must abide by the existing guidelines and regulations.


While CBD products continue to grow in popularity and availability, the FDA has chosen not to regulate them as supplements due to their association with an FDA-approved medication. The arguments both for and against CBD regulation highlight the complexities of this issue. As research and public interest continue to evolve, so may the FDA’s approach to CBD regulation.

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