CBD/hemp extract products packaged and sold as dietary supplements are of course ubiquitous on the US market. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, though, that doesn’t mean they’re legal.
Not a legal dietary ingredient
FDA has ruled that the development of GW’s drug, Epidiolex, precludes the use of CBD as a supplement ingredient, as the pharmaceutical development process preceded the market entry of the supplement forms of the ingredient. The reverse case is allowed under federal law, as can be seen in the omega-3s market, where supplement and drug forms of the same base ingredient exist side by side.
Omega-3s had been on the market for decades before pharmaceutical companies started to work on developing ultra high concentration forms to sell via prescriptions.
GNC steers clear of CBD supplements
GNC, which is in the midst of Chapter 11 bankruptcy organization with Chinese company Harbin as the designated buyer, has declined to offer CBD except in products meant for topical use. Cosmetics regulations are less stringent than those for ingestibles when it comes to hemp derived products.
But along with other major retailers that have made the same decision because of legal liability grounds, GNC would like to get a piece of the burgeoning hemp/CBD market. According to Brightfield Group that market is expected to reach as much as $16.8 billion in 2025. These sales at the moment are going to smaller, less risk averse companies selling online and in a variety of channels including dispensaries, small, dedicated storefront outlets and even convenience stores and gas stations.