CBD and Its Educational Moment
Written by Maia Vines & Xian Wornell
Science Editor & Assistant Multimedia Editor
This past weekend, May 4, community members and employees at Innovative Nutrition, a naturopathic supplements retailer in East-Setauket, Long Island, NY, gathered outside the shop for an informative training session by David Falkowski on the different hemp-derived Cannabidiol (CBD) products sold there and across the island.
“We invited David because he is a farmer, and most recently he has been growing Hemp and (processing) CBD,” Diane Kirkwood, a salesperson at Innovative Nutrition, said.
CBD derived hemps comes from the sativa strain of the cannabis family, which is the same to marijuana. However, the plant is legally defined with having .3 percent of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the part of marijuana that makes the user experience a high, and anything above that level is considered to be a illegal drug.
Last December, New York City banned the use of CBD in food and beverages, forcing many restaurants to remove the infused items from its menu.
The first and only eatery on the island to put CBD on its menu was Flux Coffee, a coffee bean roastery located in Farmingdale. The coffee house offered infused drinks such as the Care Bear Latte, Kombucha, and two-dollar CBD shots.
“We started selling the two dollar shots with CBD oil back in November and about three months ago, the [Nassau County] Health Department asked us to take it off our menu,” Arsalan Pourmand, owner of Flux Coffee, said.
With statewide recreational Marijuana legislation pending and the passing of the Farmers Bill in December, which legalized the production of hemp. A recent study predicts New York to be the second largest state market of CBD and recreational marijuana by 2025, under the assumptions recreational marijuana is legalised by the end of 2019, according to New Frontier Data.
Despite the expansion of both medical Marijuana and CBD usage, New York eateries are at risk of removing the CBD-infused foods and beverages from its menus, similar to Flux Coffee.
“New York’s CBD ban is an example of the state’s polarizing views of cannabis legalization,” Kacey Morrissey, Associate Director, Industry Analytics for New Frontier Data, said.
CBD is considered a drug through the US Food and Drug Administration, and under Section 301 any substance addition in food without the agency’s regulations of approval is prohibited. At this time there is no regulation issued for CBD to be used in food or beverages.
“To date, the agency has not approved a marketing application for cannabis for the treatment of any disease or condition,” Michael Felberbaum, Press Officer of the FDA, said.
While the FDA has made it clear that CBD can not be sold or marketed as a dietary supplement NY is showing its registrations and licenses to process hemp and its products have required these processes to abide by the FDA dietary a supplement regulations.
“You are physically able to do it, but technically that’s not really allowed, cause really what you are doing is manufacturing a dietary supplement,” David Falkowski, owner of Open Minded Organics and certified New York hemp farmer and processor, said. “Unless you are keeping records abiding by Current Good Manufacturing Practices, for manufacturing dietary supplements, you are not compliant under New York standards.”
The unregulated industry of CBD is the problem, Alicia Salazar, a health coach associated with Osteopathic Medicine, said. “There should be regulations due to the way CBD can be grown and extracted. There can be pesticides that are used, the soil can have heavy metals or mycotoxins present, and there can be solvents used in the extraction process.”
Making sure all CBD products, including oil is medical grade would insure no substances that would prevent the oil from being 100 percent organic, Kraig Smith, owner of CBD Oils of Long Island, said.
“I considered CBD oils to be a dietary supplement, and the FDA should allow CBD infused foods and beverages,” he said. “As long as the oils being used have a C.O.A lab report (a quality standard certification) that can verify the CBD oils are free of heavy metals, pesticides, residues, etc,” Smith said.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) moved to legalize a cannabidiol out of the most restrictive class of controlled substances, in Nov. 2018, allowing the sale of the first non-synthetic cannabis derived medicine to win federal approval.
“FDA has, however, approved one cannabis-derived and three cannabis-related drug products. These approved products are only available with a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider,” Michael Felberbaum, said.
As far as food and drinks are considered, New York City announced a ban on CBD to enforce the FDA policies prohibiting the use of CBD at eateries in the city.
“We are currently informing businesses in New York City that may sell food and drink about this regulation, and have implemented an educational period to help them achieve compliance,” Michael Lanza, Assistant Press Secretary of the NYC Health Department said.
Depending on what the FDA regulations come to be after the meeting on May 31, the county officials said they will then decide if there needs to be stricter guidelines and regulations at the county level, and will then contact the Suffolk County Health Board.
“CBD products are quickly gaining in popularity, and given the FDA’s guidance on the issue, it is possible we may consider looking into this at the county level,” Suffolk County Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory said.
Pending verification by Legislator William Spencer of Suffolk County, he is planning on coordinating a presentation of CBD and its emerging concerns to the County Legislature Health Committee later this month, potentially.