Post date: 7/31/2018

Earlier in the month, the California Department of Public Health’s Food and Drug Branch had issued a revised FAQ on CBD in food products. It has reaffirmed that CBD cannot be added to food, even if it comes from hemp.

The Food and Drug Branch, which regulates human and pet foods,  made the announcement July 6, stating: CBD cannot be added to “food, drink, confection, condiment or chewing gum by man or another animal.”

The FAQ clarifies that “CBD is an unapproved food additive and not allowed for use in human and animal foods in California regardless of where the CBD products originate.” Thus, whatever is the source of the CBD- marijuana or industrial hemp- does not matter, it cannot be used in food.

California Department of Public Health states it’s following guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:

“Although California currently allows the manufacturing and sales of cannabis products (including edibles), the use of industrial hemp as the source of CBD to be added to food products is prohibited. Until the FDA rules that industrial hemp-derived CBD oil and CBD products can be used as a food or California makes a determination that they are safe to use for human and animal consumption, CBD products are not an approved food, food ingredient, food additive, or dietary supplement.”

What cannot be added to food in California?

CDPH-FDB’s FAQs elaborate what will not be allowed in food in California. These are-

  • Any CBD products derived from cannabis
  • Any CBD products, including CBD oil derived from industrial hemp
  • Hemp oil not derived from industrial hemp seeds
  • Industrial hemp seed oil enhanced with CBD or other cannabinoids

Seeds derived from industrial hemp and oil made from industrial hemp seeds are allowed in food. However, the distributor of those items should make no medical claims about the seeds and/or oil.

Lawyers reaction to the FAQ

Patrick Goggin, a San Francisco attorney(Hoban Law Group) who represents hemp producers, believes California’s CBD rule contradicts the definition of hemp elsewhere in state law. An FAQ on the California Industrial Hemp Program website specifies that hemp is legal, including “every … preparation of the plant.”

Similar pronouncement in Indiana, Wisconsin, and Texas regarding CBD limitations have all been either reversed or put on hold.

California market remains flooded with CBD products and CDPH-FDB is silent on how it plans to enforce the FAQ.


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