After a recent advisory from the state health department that CBD is not an approved food additive, at least one store in Keene pulled CBD-infused products from its shelves this week. A local vape shop owner said Wednesday he would likely follow suit, then changed his mind today.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound from the hemp plant that doesn’t induce a high. Products, ranging from oils to smokable CBD to infused gummies and tea have recently gained popularity as treatments from anything from chronic pain to anxiety. The efficacy of CBD, however, has not been established for anything other than some seizure disorders. The FDA classifies CBD as a drug and therefore does not allow it to be added to food or drink. The federal agency is studying the way it regulates cannabis products, including CBD, and is seeking public comment on the issue through July 16.
The N.H. Department of Health and Human Services recently issued a one-paragraph advisory on the matter, saying that the state follows FDA rules, and as such does not permit the addition of CBD to food.
Establishments in Keene have interpreted the directives in different ways. Representatives from two — the Monadnock Food Co-op and Monadnock Vapor — said this week they will not sell CBD-infused food or drink. The owner of one Keene CBD shop declined to comment on the issue, and the proprietor of a convenience store on the outskirts of Keene State’s campus said he will continue to sell CBD-infused foods.
Co-op General Manager Michael Faber said on Tuesday the co-op decided will no longer sell CBD-infused teas and soda after hearing of the state health department’s advisory.
Monadnock Vapor owner Danny Cavallero also said he will likely stop selling CBD-infused gummies until he can get clarity on their legality in the state, but in an email this morning he said it is not prohibited to sell CBD products, so he will continue to do so. Like the co-op, Cavallero said he will continue to sell other CBD products.
Though CBD-infused gummies might appeal to some because they mask the strong taste of CBD, he said smokable CBD products are far more popular with his customers. These products are legal under a provision in the 2018 federal Farm Bill, but the FDA’s website says selling them as dietary supplements or marketing them with health claims the federal agency hasn’t vetted is illegal.
“This issue has been so confusing,” he said. “Because I read that it was just FDA didn’t approve it, which is fine because the FDA doesn’t approve (a lot of things). If you go into GNC, there are a lot of supplements that the FDA doesn’t approve.”
A man who identified himself as the owner of Campus Convenience in Keene but declined to provide his name said Wednesday that he will continue to sell CBD-infused gummies at his store. The gummies, he said, are popular in his store.
“We want to carry it; it’s legal, and people like it,” he said.
Keene CBD owner Jared Goodell, declined to discuss the issue in a phone conversation Wednesday. Though he declined to say if his store sells CBD-infused food and drink, he told The Sentinel in March his store will carry edible CBD products.
Despite questions surrounding regulation of CBD, products — including infused food and drink — are popular with consumers. According to a Consumer Reports survey from this year, more than a quarter of people in the U.S. say they have tried CBD at least once. One out of seven said they use CBD every day.
Jessica Rehmer said she uses CBD, including infused tea and soda, regularly. The 27-year-old Troy resident said she has joint pain following a bout of Lyme disease and has been using CBD for the pain for at least a couple of years.
“It would just kind of give me a boost of well-being,” she said.
Rehmer said she alternates CBD oil with an infused tea or soda in the afternoon. The edible products, she said, are easier to consume at work, and they mask the distinct taste of CBD, which she said can be bitter. Though she will still have access to the oil, Rehmer said she’s going to try to purchase the infused tea online or at another store.
“It’s just going to require more effort,” she said.
This story has been changed to clarify the source of CBD.
Liora Engel-Smith can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1439, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LEngelSmithKS.