The Food and Drug Administration is getting serious about regulating CBD in food and drink. As always in the world of cannabis, that word “regulate” functions as a double-edged sword, giving some legal freedoms to cannabis providers while taking away others.

At the moment, only one cannabis-based drug, the epilepsy medicine Epidiolex, has been approved by the FDA. But by regulating CBD, the agency would be setting up a framework for it to give its blessing to a whole lot more cannabis products. However, that same framework would also give the agency more ways to crack down on products that don’t do things their way.

On Tuesday, the FDA issued a statement, saying that they were launching a four-pronged approach to CBD regulation:

  • A public hearing set for May 31, giving “stakeholders” the chance to weigh in what the FDA should do with CBD. Interested parties can also give their comments on the FDA website before the meeting.
  • The founding of an internal agency of drug policy experts who will explore different ways the federal government could approach regulating CBD products. These will apply both to possible new FDA regulations and to potential legislative measures.
  • Updates to the FAQ section on the FDA webpage (there’s a sexy announcement).
  • The issuance of some sternly-worded letters aimed at people who market CBD products with “egregious and unfounded” health claims.

Regarding that last part, the agency has just recently sent out three warning letters to different cannabis product manufacturers, including PotNetwork Holdings in Flordia, Nutra Pure in Washington state, and Advanced Spine and Pain in New Jersey, telling them to knock it off with unsubstantiated health claims.

Though the federal government removed hemp-based CBD from the Controlled Substances Act, but the FDA wants you to know that doesn’t make it kosher. In its statement this week, the agency wrote, “Among other things, the FDA requires a cannabis product (hemp-derived or otherwise) that’s marketed with a claim of therapeutic benefit to be approved by the FDA for its intended use before it may be introduced into interstate commerce.”

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