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With Surge of Cannabis Products, AGs Urge Consumer Protections

Amid a surge in the number of retail outlets offering cannabis products — frequently touting a broad range of health benefits that aren’t always backed by research — the nation’s attorneys generals are urging the federal government to partner with them in protecting consumers.

More than three dozen attorneys general, including Brian E. Frosh (D) of Maryland, are urging federal regulators to partner with the states in protecting consumers from false advertising and potential harm from products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, including cannabidiol.

Their joint letter, sent by the National Association of Attorneys General, comes during a U.S. Food and Drug Administration public comment period.

“Cannabis-derived products are marketed as a safe alternative to traditional medications for relief from a variety of health issues,” Frosh said. “Before purchasing a CBD product, consumers need to know all the risks and how it may interact with other drugs and dietary supplements.”

The 2018 Farm Bill removed cannabis products containing less than .3% of THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, from the Schedule I list of drugs prohibited under the Controlled Substances Act.

Since then, there has been an explosion in products offering a seemingly endless array of health benefits (for people and pets), including relief from joint pain and anxiety, sharper brain function, aid in recovering from surgery, and improved skin and hair.

The same sites that tout the benefits of cannabis-derived products also commonly note that “statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.”

“While CBD and other cannabis-derived products may benefit some consumers, we still have many questions about the effects of these products and about whether they are being manufactured safely and responsibly,” said Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D), the NAAG’s vice chairman.

“To keep consumers safe and help them make informed decisions, attorneys general are encouraging the FDA to study these products and to continue to work with states on oversight for this emerging market.”

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