The survey, conducted by Meeting Street Research, polled 1,000 registered voters in early October. The poll looking at usage among this set of voters. It also asked qustions about their knowledge of hemp/CBD products, and, after providing information about these products, queried their views on the state of regulation in the space.
NPA president and CEO Daniel Fabricant, PhD, said the poll’s results confirmed NPA’s view that FDA must act to determine a safe overall daily exposure level to for CBD.
“We have staked out a position that FDA has to estabilish a level and we tested that position with consumers. We found that our position is consistent with what the consumers want,” he told NutraIngredients-USA.
Respondents largely unaware of regulatory questions
The 1,000 respondents were fairly evenly distributed as far as age level and socioeconomic status are concerned. They were also fairly evenly split between Republican, Democratic and Independent voters.
The poll found that a majority (57%) of the respondents said they were familiar with CBD products. A bit more than a third (36%) said they were either currently using the products or had recently done so.
The poll asked participants whether they knew that FDA “has not approved any safety, purity, manufacturing, or ingredients standards for CBD, meaning that all CBD products are illegal,” 51% responded in the negative. When the survey delved deeper into this subject, it found that 44% of respondents said they would be less likely to use or recommend the products now that they knew the lay of the regulatory land.
Other findings of the poll include:
65% believe Congress should direct FDA to quickly set safety standards for CBD products
67% did not know or weren’t sure that CBD products being sold today are illegal.
41% wrongly assumed FDA had already developed safety standards for CBD.
30% who have not used CBD products and 76% of CBD users were more likely to try them if they knew the FDA approved regulations determining a level that could be considered safe for use in foods and nutritional supplements.
Fabricant said that research done on the drug form of the ingredient—approved by FDA as Epidiolex, manufacturerd by GW Pharma—has shown that the molecule is not without side effects.
“Because the product is a drug, and drugs have side effects, what is the level at which the product does not have side effects? The World Health Organization has set that at an exposure level of 600 mg a day,” he said.
NPA: FDA needs to set daily level
FDA has raised concerns about how much CBD consumers might be getting in a day if the molecule is being added to many food products while they at the same time are taking a CBD supplement. Some in the industry have opined that these concerns are overblown, and have said that the toxicity found in GW’s research occurred at much higher dosage levels. But Fabricant said the WHO determination gives cause for concern.
“I think 600 mg from all sources is not that big a number. We are just one ‘hot’ product—something spiked with something it shouldn’t have or one that has too much CBD in it—from potentially having a big problem,” he said.
Fabricant said it underlines the need for FDA to do a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) on CBD, something that NPA has advocated for.
He said the US Senate is currently considering legislation passed by the House of Representatives that would appropriate $100,000 for the FDA to perform an HHE and set a safe level of CBD for consumers to use each day. The process would follow the same precedent as red yeast rice, which allows a natural product to contain a level of a drug ingredient that the FDA has determined to be safe.