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Kansas City-Based CBD Kingpin Says It's Time For People To Lobby The Feds On Cannabis Benefits

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Harvest Public Media
As the FDA seeks to regulate CBD oil, a Kansas City CBD chemist and franchise owner is soliciting public comment on the benefits of the hemp-derived product.

The Food and Drug Administration this week extended the public comment period on CBD oil by two weeks. The public now has until July 16 to share input as the FDA considers how to to regulate the fast-growing industry.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is an oil extracted from hemp flowers. Unlike marijuana, it contains very little THC — no more than 0.3 percent according to federal regulations — which means ingesting hemp CBD won't get you high.

Kansas City-based franchisor American Shaman, which has about 400 CBD retail locations across the country, launched an ad campaign in mid-June to urge the public to weigh in about CBD’s benefits.

"I believe that anecdotally there's no question that CBD is an amazing substance with very little, if any, side effects, unlike almost anything else I can think of," CEO and founder Vince Sanders said. "I want to let the FDA know there's a lot of people who would be against them taking this away. That's really what we're hoping to do."

Sanders said the ad brought in 1,500 comments in the past week, which he hopes will help show the FDA that CBD is a safe product. 

After the 2018 farm bill lifted restrictions on hemp, the industry moved ahead in promoting CBD products. Last fall, the Drug Enforcement Administration removed CBD from the most restrictive class, allowing the first cannabis-derived pharmaceutical to be sold in U.S. markets. 

But, there's only one FDA-approved CBD drug, which is used to treat epilepsy. Research on CBD is still nominal, which is why the FDA is seeking data and input about the product’s safety.

"We recognize that there is significant public interest in these products, for therapeutic purposes and otherwise," FDA officials wrote in a notice this week. "At the same time, there are many unanswered questions about the science, safety, and quality of many of these products."

No official timeline has been set by the FDA to regulate CBD products.

Andrea Tudhope is a reporter for KCUR 89.3. Email her at andreat@kcur.org, and follow her on Twitter @andreatudhope.

Andrea Tudhope is an award-winning multimedia journalist based in Kansas City, Missouri. She is currently coordinating producer for America Amplified, a national public media community engagement initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 
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