Survey: Majority of Americans Falsely Presume the FDA Regulates CBD Products

Washington, DC: Survey data compiled by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) finds that most Americans falsely believe that CBD-infused products sold commercially are regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration.

According to a national sampling of 2,056 US adults, 76 percent of respondents presume that commercially available CBD products are FDA regulated. Another 16 percent of respondents said that they did not know whether they were or were not.

In fact, the FDA does not currently provide any regulatory oversight specific to the production or sale of commercially available CBD-infused products. As a result, third-party lab testing has frequently revealed inconsistencies between the percentage of CBD advertised and the amount actually contained in these products. In many instances – such as those reported here, here, here, here, and here – actual quantities of CBD in the product are far lower than advertised. In other cases, testing has revealed the presence of THC. Some commercial products have also been identified to possess elevated levels of heavy metals and solvents, as well as psychoactive synthetic adulterants.

By contrast, CBD-infused products sold at state-licensed dispensaries are typically subject to state-specific regulations and lab testing protocols. However, such facilities are typically only open to either state-qualified patients or to adults in states that legally regulate cannabis sales.

The GMA survey also reported that just over a third of US adults (34 percent) acknowledge having purchased a CBD-specific product. Among those familiar with CBD, over half (55 percent) say they’ve purchased it. Data compiled from a separate survey commissioned by Politico reported that one-third of those who say that they are familiar with CBD acknowledge having purchased CBD-related products.

Writing in, the president and CEO of the GMA opined: “The FDA has pledged to give consumers the information they need to make smart choices about CBD products – but estimates that it could take up to five years to establish federal CBD regulations. That timeline is unacceptable for a booming market. Effective, uniform regulation will not only inform consumers, it will allow America’s most trusted brands into the CBD market – if they so choose – creating another layer of consumer confidence.”

In May, NORML provided written testimony to the US Food and Drug Administration urging the agency to move expeditiously to provide regulatory guidelines governing CBD-infused products, including best practices for their manufacturing, standardization, and purity.

For more information, please see the NORML fact-sheet ‘FAQs About Cannabidiol.’ Full text of the GMA survey and accompanying report is available online.