The confusion surrounding CBD products among the public has been laid bare by new research.
A report by the Grocery Manufacturers Association shows that consumers are confused about what CBD is, what it does, and whether CBD products are safe.
And with one-in-three Americans using CBD, the overwhelming majority (76%) assume CBD products are subject to federal regulations and safety oversight – when no such regulations exist.
Instead, today’s multi-billion-dollar CBD industry operates within a disjointed, patchwork system of state regulations, the report states.
Upon learning no federal agency oversees CBD products, 82% percent of Americans expressed alarm, 67% of whom say they are “extremely” or “very” concerned, and another 84% are worried about the varying regulations arising from the current state-by-state patchwork system.
GMA President and CEO Geoff Freeman said: “It is the role of federal agencies to ensure a safe and transparent consumer marketplace – but the CBD market is currently the Wild West.
“Without a uniform federal regulatory framework in place, consumers lack the basic information they need to make informed decisions about CBD. GMA will build a broad-based coalition and lead an aggressive campaign to protect consumers by advancing regulatory clarity.”
GMA’s survey reveals that six-in-ten Americans are familiar with CBD, but confusion is rampant.
Four-in-ten Americans (39%) incorrectly believe CBD is just another name for marijuana and more than half mistakenly think it can get you “high.”
Despite clear confusion, two-thirds (66%) of Americans say they believe it is safe.
Survey respondents use CBD for a variety of different reasons — most commonly for pain management (52%), stress or anxiety reduction (50%) and sleep issues (43%).
And, despite the lack of reliable research, testing or uniform regulatory oversight, 21% report using CBD to alleviate cancer symptoms or treat the effects of a neurological disorder.
To date, CBD has only been approved by the FDA for use in the treatment of epilepsy.
“CBD is a case study in the federal government’s struggle to keep pace with consumer demand,” said Dr Betsy Booren, GMA’s senior vice president for regulatory and technical affairs.
“Industry and consumers alike need government to determine safety and provide regulatory clarity.
“Until this occurs, the most trusted, experienced and highly regulated brands cannot enter the market.”
A total of 70% of respondents said they would be more confident in the safety of CBD products if they were manufactured by large, well-known brands.
Those consumers believe well-known brands have more safety controls in place (55%), employ higher manufacturing standards (54%), would be more cautious to avoid brand damage (53%) and have more experience in making high-quality, consistent products (53%).