In a recent Washington Examiner op-ed, Dr. Robert DuPont claimed that cannabidiol or CBD is „the new snake oil.” It’s an unfair characterization, but I understand his concerns.
As the CEO of a CBD company, I support the incredible work of the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA. My own son, a cancer survivor, is here in large part due to these advances. Moreover, I support and encourage regulation of the CBD industry and thoroughly support clinical research into CBD efficacy. “Intelligent” regulation will help consumers to make informed choices and facilitate accurate product comparisons when considering a CBD product. Clinical research will help to refine the specific health benefits and provide clarity relative to dosing for a given application.
It will take many years to conduct the necessary clinical studies of CBD across the diverse health applications by which people report benefits. In the meantime, people do report benefits from CBD.
And the risks are minimal.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that from 1997 to 2017, more than 700,000 people died from a prescription drug overdose. These deaths were due to either overdose or adverse drug reactions. These prescription medications were all the result of extensive scientific research and “robust preclinical and clinical trials with results submitted to the FDA for review and if appropriate clearance for marketing.”
In contrast, there has never been a single recorded overdose of CBD in the 1,600-year history of its use for medicinal purposes. In fact, a 2011 study published in the journal Current Drug Safety indicated that for CBD to become toxic to the human body, one would have to ingest over 20,000 mg of CBD in a “short” period of time. For perspective, an average dose of quality CBD full spectrum oil is .75ml and contains about 25mg of CBD. In today’s market, 20,000 mg of pure CBD would cost about $1,600. That’s an unlikely choice for an overdose, which still would cause only toxicity, not necessarily death.
The government should take a dual approach to regulating CBD, using different strategies for the long and short term as the industry evolves. The FDA should immediately issue labeling requirements that define what must be included on the label of all CBD products — for example, CBD concentrations and availability of Certificates of Analysis. The FDA should also maintain its current prohibition on health claims not backed by clinical evidence. The CBD industry cannot make specific health claims at this time, although consumers' personal stories are the most effective means of communicating experiences.
In the long run, Congress should support rigorous clinical study of CBD and its benefits. This way, over the long haul, the market will benefit from the introduction of condition-specific, evidence-based CBD-infused products. In this way, the interests of the consumer can be protected, while also allowing access to the potential benefits of CBD.
Brian J. Baum is the president and CEO of Cannovia.