Will consumers drop CBD once they learn FDA has not established safety standards for it? NPA poll says yes.

October 18, 2019

Many consumers could be less likely to use cannabidiol (CBD) products once they learn FDA has not established safety standards for the ingredient, according to a new poll conducted by the Natural Products Association (NPA; Washington, DC). NPA polled 1000 registered voters in early October.

In fact, many of those polled said they believe FDA has already evaluated the safety of CBD and set a safe usage level, which is not true. NPA’s poll asked: “With CBD products being widely available throughout America, is it your impression that the United States Food and Drug Administration has already evaluated the product and determined a safe level of consumption for the American consumer?” Forty-one percent of respondents said yes.

Moreover, many of the respondents also mistakenly believe that CBD consumer products on the market are legal. Fifty-one percent said they did not know that FDA has “not approved any safety, purity, manufacturing, or ingredient standards for CBD, meaning that all CBD products sold today are illegal…”

NPA’s poll then asked: “Now that you know that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not regulated CBD and there are no standards in place to protect consumers, are you more likely or less likely to use CBD or recommend CBD products to a friend or family member?” 44% said they are less likely to do so. What’s more, 47% of those who said they currently use CBD products (n=182) said they would discontinue using CBD products if they or someone they knew got sick from using CBD products.

However, consumers would have restored faith in CBD if FDA “approved science-based regulations for CBD products and determined a level that could be considered safe for us in food and nutritional supplements.” If FDA did this, 30% of those polled who haven’t used CBD products said they would be more likely to try these products. And 76% of those who currently use or have used CBD products in the past (n=361) said they would be more likely to continue using CBD products if there were FDA regulations in place for CBD and if the agency set a safe usage level. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they would like to see Congress direct FDA to quickly set safety standards for CBD products.

In a press release, NPA called this data “a warning sign for the burgeoning hemp and CBD industry.”

“CBD is a promising new natural product, but there is an acute risk of another major public health crisis if Congress allows these products to go unregulated or directs FDA to go easy on illegal products flooding the market. If CBD experiences a vaping-like crisis, it’s bad for public health, bad for the benefits CBD offers, and bad for the hemp industry’s growth and job-creating potential,” said Daniel Fabricant, PhD, president and CEO of NPA.

In June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an appropriations package that would have provided FDA with $100,000 to perform a Health Hazard Evaluation of CBD and set a safe usage level for consumers. NPA had been a key advocate supporting this. However, in September, the U.S. Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee failed to include these measures.