The Natural Products Expo West comes on the heels of the December passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp cultivation.
It was a watershed moment for hemp producers, but retailers and suppliers continue to face murky waters because the FDA is still reviewing how to lawfully market these products.
“It’s a fine tightrope we walk these days,” said Jeffrey Burke, global sales education manager for Barlean’s, a nationally recognized supplements supplier based in Washington state.
Burke was among several experts who spoke at various CBD educational sessions at the expo.
Here are answers to some common questions:
What did the 2018 Farm Bill do?
It legalized the cultivation of hemp. It is no longer considered a controlled substance.
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol. It is one of more than 100 known phytocannabinoids that naturally occur in cannabis plants, according to Barlean’s. CBD is gaining in popularity because recent studies show that phytocannabinoids work with naturally occurring cannabinoids found in humans. That interaction, according to studies, is believed to create balance in the body.
Can CBD get you high?
Is hemp the same as marijuana?
No. Hemp is one varietal of a low-resin cannabis plant. Marijuana is made from a high-resin cannabis plant that contains the psychoactive ingredient THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. Anything more than 0.3% THC is considered a controlled substance. Full-spectrum hemp-derived products contain the legal limit, or less than 0.3% THC. This trace amount of THC cannot make a person high.
What do retailers need to watch out for when screening CBD products?
The FDA regulates products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds like CBD. The agency has stated that hemp-derived CBD cannot be labeled a supplement or drug approved for medical use. Products cannot make claims to cure, treat or prevent a disease. Retailers should ask for a COA, a certificate of analysis of the product to ensure its integrity.
Will I fail a drug test if I take a CBD product?
Most likely no, said Burke, a master herbalist. But CBD products do have trace amounts of THC, so retailers should remind customers of this. Like poppy seeds, CBD products could trigger a positive result on a drug test.
What does “full spectrum” mean?
CBD products labeled “full spectrum” use the whole hemp plant, which is generally preferred because consumers are benefiting by getting the best parts of the plant, Burke said. “Everything is working together to get our body balanced,” he told retailers during an educational session.
What is the U.S. Hemp Authority?
The hemp authority was formed in 2018 to self-regulate the industry by creating standards to ensure the quality and safety of CBD products. This month, the organization awarded its first 13 certifications for the following producers: Charlotte’s Web, Boulder, Colo.; CV Sciences, San Diego; HempMeds, San Diego; MetaCan, Roswell, Ga.; Medterra CBD, Irvine, Calif.; GenCanna, Winchester, Ky.; Balanced Health Botanicals, Denver; Shell Farms, Winchester, Ky.; Nature’s Hemp Oil, Lexington, Ky; HD Distribution, Louisville, Colo.; Hempworx, Las Vegas; Bluebird Botanicals, Louisville, Colo.; and Barlean’s, Ferndale, Wash.
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