FDA Releases Statement on CBD and THC Use in Food Following 2018 Farm Bill; 3 Hemp-Related GRASNs Evaluated

The 2018 Farm Bill, also known as the Agriculture Improvement Act, was passed by Congress on December 20, 2018. The bill legalizes the production and marketing of hemp for farmers, which is defined as cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.) and derivatives such as CBD containing an insignificant amount of THC. Due to the legalization of hemp products, the Controlled Substances Act has removed its entry and no longer prohibits it under federal law.

The 2018 Farm Bill doesn’t change FDA’s position of authority over CBD and other hemp products that may contain THC, nor the requirements for FDA-regulated products. Following the FD&C Act and section 351 of the Public Health Service Act, the FDA will continue to hold the authority to monitor and regulate cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds in food and dietary supplements. As such, the sale of food or dietary supplements containing added CBD or THC via interstate commerce is still illegal.

Following the 2018 Farm Bill, the FDA acknowledged public interest in CBD or THC related products and stated they would assess the possibility of a regulation allowing for their sale. Stakeholders will take part in this decision during a public meeting, in which the FDA will examine potential obstacles and opportunities for such a regulation to take place.

As for products containing little to no THC or CBD, the FDA has released evaluations of three different GRAS notices related to hulled hemp seeds, hemp seed protein, and hemp seed oil, with the general conclusion being that all three are safe and legal to use in food. The FDA has acknowledged that hemp products containing neither THC or CBD aren’t of much concern with the passing of this bill.

The three GRASNs state that both hemp seed protein and oil are allowed and intended for general uses in food, while the dehulled seeds are to be used in a variety of beverages and foods such as baked goods and grain products. A full list of uses for dehulled hemp seeds can be found on the FDA website. The GRASN reports for hemp seed protein and oil can be found here and here.

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