Jan 10, 2020

Food industry backs away from CBD

hemp-derived cannabidiol, or CBD.

Hemp-derived cannabidiol, or CBD. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Big companies are taking a step back from developing food and drink products made with CBD, after the Food and Drug Administration raised safety concerns, the Wall Street Journal reports.

By the numbers: CBD-infused foods and beverages surpassed $1 billion in revenue in 2019 even without FDA approval, according to the Journal, and revenue is projected to reach $10 billion by 2024.

But smaller players will get a leg up in that market, at least for a while.

  • Companies like Pepsi, Starbucks and Kellogg had been considering hemp-derived products, but are now at a standstill until the FDA signs off, the WSJ writes, citing food scientists and consultants familiar with the matter.

Flashback: In November, the Food and Drug Administration warned consumers against CBD-infused foods and beverages, saying research isn't quite there yet to conclude it's safe to ingest or that it's a good anxiety or sleep aid.

  • CBD does not get you high, unlike marijuana's psychoactive component THC. FDA cites potential risks associated with its consumption, though, like liver damage.

Go deeper: Mainstream retail's move into CBD could create $24 billion industry

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