The FDA has a bad case of CBD – as in Chronic Bureaucratic Dysfunction. This affliction has been evident for some time, but the symptoms are getting worse.
The FDA can’t figure out how to regulate CBD, short for cannabidiol, the all-star cannabis compound with formidable therapeutic properties that won’t make a person feel high. Although it doesn’t cause intoxication or impairment, cannabidiol has completely befuddled FDA officials, who aren’t able to scale with the magnitude of CBD’s meteoric rise in popularity.
CBD has scrambled the prohibitionist narrative. It has disordered the FDA’s cosmos. Over 64 million (one in seven) Americans have thumbed their nose at the FDA by choosing to use a CBD product. Many are taking CBD for medical conditions that don’t respond well to FDA-approved pharmaceuticals.
The FDA is responsible for ensuring that everything we eat or drink, every drug we take to feel better, is safe (and supposedly effective). But there’s no precedent for regulating a substance so versatile that it works as a single-molecule pharmaceutical, a wellness nutraceutical, an essential oil extract, and an artisanal herbal preparation that can be ingested as food or beverage, inhaled as vapor or smoke, or absorbed sublingually and applied topically in various ways.
Such is the case with CBD.
So, the FDA does what it always does. It reverts reflexively to old bureaucratic habits. The FDA only recognizes the medical utility of isolated components of cannabis. Single-molecule CBD is an FDA-approved prescription pharmaceutical. So is single molecule tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). But herbal cannabis, the natural source of CBD and THC, isn’t an FDA-approved therapy. Full spectrum, CBD-rich essential oils extracted from resinous cannabis flower tops are frowned upon by the FDA, which routinely privileges pharma over farmer.