LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- CBD or Cannabidiol is a byproduct of marijuana and is believed by some to have a long list of health benefits. It's becoming so popular that it's now popping up in snack foods that you can pick up in stores and online.
"That looks like a real caramel."
To Juliette Wallen, these caramels, gummy bears and popcorn aren't just snacks; they are her "medicine".
"This is something I'd keep in my purse or my car in case of emergency, in case I had a seizure."
They all contain CBD, which is short for Cannabidiol, a derivative of the marijuana plant. It is currently being studied to see if it helps treat several conditions, including anxiety, pain, inflammatory diseases and more.
"I use CBD for systemic swelling. I use CBD for pain and I use CBD for seizure mitigation and the side-effect for me is just well-being."
CBD has been available in oil form for a while, but it's now popping up in snack foods, sold in stores and online. Yet, the DEA considers it a controlled substance and says it is not legal in food.
"It is a byproduct that comes from the marijuana plant and because of that, it is still looked at from DEA as a schedule 1 substance," said DEA Spokesperson, Melvin Patterson.
The FDA recently sent out warning letters to some companies marketing CBD infused products claiming benefits for cancer, Alzheimer's and other diseases. The FDA says those claims are unsubstantiated at this point.
"We do know that it's involved in some clinical trials. If those clinical trials prove that CBD is a viable treatment for something and the FDA signs off on that, then it will be considered what everybody refers to as legal," Patterson said.
Some manufacturers think there are loopholes in the current law, however.
"If they have less than point zero three percent CBD or THC in that product, then that's one of the loopholes that they're able to sell it, but those products aren't supposed to be edible products."
Wallen says she'll continue to count on her special treats as long as she can find them for sale.
"When I use CBD I feel good."
The FDA and DEA explained that beyond the letters, several factors play into how the law may be enforced when it comes to snacks with CBD. Those factors include, among other things, agency resources and the threat to public health.
Another interesting tidbit concerning CBD, some snacks made for dogs also contain the byproduct.
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