Cannabidiol has been in the news quite a bit recently. Whether you’re a cannabis connoisseur, or a sufferer from one of the many persistent conditions that CBD seems to treat so easily, or just an interested follower of national politics, you’ve probably heard arguments both for and against legalization.
The U.S. government has long and famously maintained that CBD–and the many similar cannabis extracts now available–has no medical value. Cannabis, and anything derived from it, remains on the federal government’s Schedule I of controlled substances. It’s dangerous, has no medical value, and can’t be used safely even in a clinical setting.
But as times change, and states increasingly turn toward legalization rather than continuing a Nixon-style drug war, a pertinent new issue presents itself. Like any other potentially profitable new cure, it attracts both the savory and the unsavory operator.
This means that, while we’re tempted to think of pot-derivative sellers as pleasant hippies who just want to help, there is a definite risk of purchasing and using extracts or supplements that do not perform as advertised. It’s important that a discerning consumer be able to tell what it is they’re purchasing. American law has long maintained standards–administered by the FDA–on disclosure when it comes to medical tinctures and extracts, and especially pharmaceuticals available only by prescription.
The FDA has had to crack down recently on a number of vendors for producing and marketing CBD-based medicines that don’t actually do what they say they’re going to do. Some of them don’t even contain any cannabis extract at all.
The FDA sent warning letters to six companies regarding their sale of what the FDA termed a “new and untested drug.” These drugs violate FDA requirements on human and animal testing before a drug can be brought to market. And indeed, some of the compounds (review the companies and their products here) did not even contain any CBD at all.
As the DEA said in a public statement last year, “because it is produced illicitly by clandestine manufacturers, its actual content is uncertain and will vary depending on the source of the material.” While some might see this as a call for greater regulation, even banning, others see this as a clear call toward a more open-air, legal form of operation–one that would most easily be accomplished by the large-scale legalization of CBD and related cannabis extracts. Only then can the proper legal strictures be put into place such that patients receive the products they need, without having to worry about fraudsters and thieves preying on their need for medicine in order to make a quick buck.
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