The USA’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has issued a new advisory concerning cannabidiol (CBD).
SAMHSA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that was established back in 1992 to make substance use and mental disorder information, services, and research more accessible.
The agency’s new advisory discusses cannabidiol generally, but focuses on what SAMHSA perceives to be the potential risks and harms of CBD, particularly products sold over the counter.
Availability of CBD products in many US states has grown dramatically over the past few years. In 2020, as many as one-third of American adults reported using CBD products. But the quality of some products is certainly questionable. There have been significant issues around incorrect labeling, contamination and therapeutic claims. Also of concern is where CBD products are being purchased – in some states, they can be acquired from convenience stores and even gas stations.
And unfortunately, due to the FDA faffing about on CBD, there are no federal standards for CBD content, purity, or potency. This has not done anyone – consumers and industry alike – any favors, and left a loophole exploited by some who are ignorant of or care little about consumer safety.
In the advisory, SAMHSA also notes potential risks and harms associated with CBD use include adverse drug interactions, liver toxicity, and reproductive and developmental effects.
“It is critical that the general public be made aware of the potential harms associated with CBD use, and parents, in particular, should be advised to not let their children use non-FDA-approved CBD products,” says SAMHSA.
The thrust of the advisory seems to be to scare consumers off from consuming any non-FDA-approved CBD products – which is pretty much all of them at this point in time. While more research on CBD is certainly needed (and is happening), SAMHSA’s approach may be a little over the top.
But the advisory is certainly worth reading with an open mind; while taking some of the statements with a grain of salt. It’s also worth bearing in mind that any product that is abused or consumed incorrectly – or is of poor quality generally – can have negative health effects.