COLORADO SPRINGS — News 5 is taking an in-depth look at cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, which is a product derived from industrial hemp that many people turn to for help with everything from epilepsy to anxiety.
However, it's something one cannabis physician we spoke to said people know very little about, and a local manufacturer is actually calling for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to step in and regulate the products.
The company, Mineral Life, said they would like to see FDA regulations for the consumer's sake. The Owner and President of Mineral Life, Neil Butterfield, said his company has been processing dietary supplements for around 20 years, and just recently began manufacturing CBD products as well.
However, Butterfield felt the need to manufacture the CBD at their own facility, because with the lack of regulations on CBD, he did not trust anyone else to do it.
"Standards that many of these smaller operations were using in the manufacturing of their products, it was very evident to me that they were not following GMP protocols, which is good manufacturing practice... Currently, most manufacturers, are just, it's just a free for all, and anybody that can get into is getting into it," Butterfield said.
Butterfield said his company applies the same regulations the FDA places on dietary supplements to their manufacturing of CBD. However, it is important to note the FDA does not legally allow CBD to be marketed as a dietary supplement.
Butterfield said by maintaining the high standards, he can ensure there is actually the amount of CBD in the product as the label claims, and it avoids any contamination.
"We test every single raw material that comes in, and we test every single finished product batch that gets produced," Butterfield said.
The FDA just recently sent out warnings to 15 companies that were selling CBD illegally, and one of them was actually in Lakewood, Colorado.
"There's a lot of knowledge gap within the FDA when it comes to CBD. I think that they need to lean on the industry a little bit, there's a lot of industry knowledge on the natural health product side and through these trade associations they can really bridge those gaps," Butterfield said.
The FDA does have extensive information on their website about CBD, including what they are still working to learn about the product. Right now, it says they have limited information on it's safety, only one CBD product which is used for severe epilepsy has been approved, and CBD has been marketed with unproven medical claims.
Dr. Roderic Gottula has been a cannabis physician for around two years now, and said a lot of the false claims appearing on CBD labels are most likely to make the products sell.
"Althought it's an excellent, excellent drug to be able to help with a lot of those diseases, there's not the kind of research out there yet that can tell you that it works for sure for many of the things that are claimed," Gottula said.
Gottula said one of the biggest problems is a lack of education for the people using it. For instance, he said it typically takes around two to three weeks to actually work, and the dosage varies dramatically from person to person.
"I would say that 75% of them [his patients] are not using it optimally, and when I ask how they decided on what they're doing, it's all trial and error," Gottula said.
Gottula's best advice for consumers is to check and make sure a product has been tested by a third party. Butterfield said other ways consumers can check are by looking for what's called a lot number on the bottom or top of the container, because if there is not one it was most likely not produced with good manufacturing practices.
There are more resources that can inform consumers on what would be best for them. Gottula recommended The Realm of Caring, which is a cannabis education center based in Colorado Springs. Another he mentioned is projectcbd.org.