AHPA event aims to guide CBD industry

By Danielle Masterson contact

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images Esther Kelleter
© Getty Images Esther Kelleter

Related tags: Cbd, GMP, Ahpa, Fda

Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) represent a rapidly growing yet uncertain market segment, with those in the industry often finding themselves with more questions than answers.

To steer companies in the right direction, American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is putting on their Second Annual Hemp-CBD Congress that will be held virtually on August 27.

Over 20 established and influential industry experts are slated to address a number of vulnerabilities that companies face in today’s ambiguous landscape. One of the event’s centerpieces will focus on compliance with regulations that don’t exist – yet.

Navigating the unknown 

Asa Waldstein, Senior Vice President of Functional Remedies and AHPA Cannabis Committee chair, said he looks forward to the day CBD guidance is established.

“The hemp/CBD industry has been operating in a state of regulatory limbo for some time and this guidance should stop companies from guessing about which rules to follow. Those who are treating hemp/CBD as a dietary supplement and have conducted safety studies are already well on their way to success.”

Attorney Marc Ullman of counsel with the firm Rivkin Radler LLP, who specializes in natural products compliance, said companies that are serious about being in the trade must figure out how to ensure the quality of their products and project that to consumers. “In the vacuum created by FDA’s announcement that CBD products are unlawful while at the same time refusing to take any action to regulate the marketplace, consumers have basically been left to fend for themselves to try and find products that are effective and safe.”

However, the regulatory limbo that exists has many CBD companies feeling just as neglected. 

Best practices 

Michael McGuffin, President of AHPA, said with the segment experiencing such rapid growth, the industry has attracted people with varying levels of experience.

With the proliferation of hemp/CBD offerings on the market, these products can be found everywhere from gas stations to health food stores to ecommerce sites. So what can brands do to differentiate themselves from fly-by-night companies?

Ullman suggests companies put a quality program in place: “This can be work, but it is well worth it for any company that aspires to be anything more than a fly-by-night entity.  Supply chain traceability/control is also critical.  Any company that does not have a solid grasp of the provenance of their hemp/cbd jeopardizes both their business and their consumers.”

Waldstein said the first step is an FDA food facility registration. “It  is the most basic requirement for manufacturing hemp/CBD or any other type of supplement.  If a company does not have a registration number they are still operating in the dark and should be avoided.”

Waldstein also recommends companies get GMP certified from a reputable organization such as SGS or NSF. “It shows the company cares about their manufacturing process.”

Some other best practices that Waldstein said companies should strongly consider are knowing the basics of labeling, having dietary supplement industry experts on your team​, and hiring marketing/social media managers that understand claims and compliance. 

McGuffin, Ullman, Waldstein and others will lend their expertise at the event, with Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden serving as keynote speaker. 

To learn more about AHPA’s Hemp-CBD Supplement Virtual Congress, click here.

Related topics: Regulation, CBD / Hemp, Botanicals

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