CBD-infused foods? They’re still ‘a ways away’ from the grocery shelf

While 33 states and D.C. have legalized medical marijuana, there’s a growing consumer interest in foods infused with cannabis, particularly the derivative cannabidiol, or CBD. But Sally Squires, who writes the Lean Plate Club blog, told WTOP that there’s still a long way to go before such products will routinely show up on grocery shelves.

Surveys have shown that people are interested in such products — a recent A.T. Kearney study in Food Navigator found that 86% of Americans and 84% of Canadians would not mind if one of their favorite brands launched a product containing cannabis. And such products are available in certain shops.

“Consumers understand that this would be an ingredient that could offer therapeutic benefits without people getting high [like] you would from actual marijuana,” Squires said.

That said, they want it to be done right: In the same survey, 76% of those surveyed said that they would likely try a legal therapeutic product infused with cannabis, but they want these products to come from trusted brand names.

That means going through the long, slow regulatory process, and setting the same kind of standards for CBD-infused products that we have for all foods, and “We’re probably a ways away from that,” Squires said. The FDA has a public meeting on the subject Friday.

And in the case of cannabis, it means legalization in the first place: Despite the medical exceptions, “CBD is still a Class 1 drug,” Squires said. “That puts it in the same category as heroin, LSD and cocaine. So we’ve got a long way to go before this is in foods that we eat.”

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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