The California Department of Public Health’s Food and Drug Branch (CDPH-FDB) has announced that hemp-derived CBD cannot be used in edibles (both food and drink) for either humans or pets. The rule change is a huge blow to the state’s industrial hemp industry and has left much confusion in its wake.
In the FAQ announcing the policy change, the CDPH-FDB said, “Although California currently allows the manufacturing and sales of cannabis products (including edibles), the use of industrial hemp as the source of CBD to be added to food products is prohibited. Until the FDA rules that industrial hemp-derived CBD oil and CBD products can be used as a food or California makes a determination that they are safe to use for human and animal consumption, CBD products are not an approved food, food ingredient, food additive or dietary supplement.”
For cannabis retailers licensed through the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), the rule change means that they cannot sell hemp-based CBD products, though they will still be able to sell CBD products derived from psychoactive cannabis. Hemp and cannabis are the same species of plant, but hemp contains more CBD and negligible amounts of THC.
The restriction on CBD from hemp makes even less sense considering the overabundance of CBD products available outside of retail marijuana dispensaries. Plus, the US Food and Drug Administration approved CBD-based medication, Epidiolex, to treat seizures earlier this year.
“While I disagree with the state of California’s position and approach to hemp-derived CBD – given that it is the same molecule – the law is clear and the FAQ released by the CDPH-FDB confirms the hemp-derived CBD cannot be lawfully added to a food, food product or dietary supplement,” said Dana Cisneros, an attorney with Cannabis Corporate Law Firm.
“This is devastating for small businesses in California that rely on hemp-derived CBD. This is devastating for patients that cannot afford to purchase cannabis-derived CDB products sold in BCC licensed retail establishments.
“And it is nonsensical,” she said.