FDA Approves Low-Nicotine Cigs, Overlooks Benefits of CBD

As we navigate the slow-changing landscape of CBD regulations, the CBD industry looks to the regulatory bodies that make these guidelines for answers on how to interact in the market. One big question we have is how is it, that after a 2017 announcement by the FDA to make cigarettes minimally or nonaddictive, it looks like the first new low-nicotine cigarettes have been approved for sale. Yet, year over year, the CBD industry has a difficult time in getting FDA approval, or even acknowledging it’s many positive benefits.  

22nd Century’s Moonlight and Moonlight Menthol low-nicotine cigarettes are the first to be cleared through the FDA’s regulatory process updated in 2009. Other low-nicotine cigarettes that were available on the U.S. market before 2009 were allowed to stay on the market. Again, pointing to the lingering question of when will CBD gain FDA approval. 

According to its scientific review, the FDA noted that generally, smokers of reduced nicotine cigarettes do not smoke more or inhale more deeply to make up for the lost nicotine. Yet they did note that the low nicotine cigarettes “share similar adverse health risks as conventional cigarettes.”

The FDA’s 2017 plan hasn’t gotten too far off the ground as of yet, amid intense lobbying by tobacco companies. Immediately following the announcement, tobacco-related stocks fell drastically. Companies such as Altria have been making a leap into the cannabis market, when considering  the company’s valuable stake in marijuana firm Cronos Group.

At the time of the announcement, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. said that cigarettes are “the only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users.” This data highly contrasts the vast list of benefits, in regards to CBD heal effects, and any potential negative effects that stem from it’s use. 

Currently, the FDA has approved only one CBD product: a prescription drug product to treat two rare, severe forms of epilepsy. The CBD and cannabis industry as a whole, needs to make a conscious, collective effort to gain support amongst the FDA, and specifically in regards to  the more and more common CBD smokable flower products for sale in the market, both from a wholesale and retail position.