Science & Education

CBD Regulations

Currently, the federal government does not regulate CBD products.

The most appropriate federal agency to regulate CBD products is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The agency is studying issues involved and has not issued formal guidance yet, but it has raised concerns about potential harm, side effects and unknowns. You can read the FDA update here.

Despite the lack of formal regulations, the FDA is watching out for manufacturers that make false claims about CBD concentrations and cures; market CBD as a dietary supplement, or add CBD to food — none of which is permitted. You can read those warning letters here.

The FDA makes clear that consumers should discuss CBD with health-care providers before using it.

Asterra Labs also urges people to discuss CBD with their health-care providers before use — advice that holds true no matter the over-the-counter medication or dietary supplement someone is taking.

We recognize that it is confusing for consumers when CBD manufacturers don’t have to meet common standards for safety or effectiveness. So we recommend the following:

Read labels carefully and look for evidence of a third-party laboratory validating CBD concentrations. Asterra Labs ensures that all of its products are tested by a third-party laboratory and come with a Certificate of Analysis (COA).

For even greater assurance, check the product’s COA to see if the validating lab meets ISO 17025 standards. This indicates that the lab complies with international scientific standards.

Also, check to see if the company uses testing methods validated by one of these highly respected, standard-setting organizations: The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AAOAC), or the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP).


Finally, do your own research about CBD products. Sites offering a wealth of information include...

The Foundation of Unified Cannabis Standards (FOCUS) is a nonprofit trade organization dedicated to protecting public health and consumer safety, and safeguarding the environment, by promoting integrity in the cannabis industry.

The National Cannabis Industry Association, a nonprofit trade organization with a mission of advancing a legal and responsible cannabis industry.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This site links to research investigating the effects of CBD on various disease states.

Project CBD is a nonprofit organization in California founded in 2009 by journalists covering the science related to the cannabis industry.

The University of California-Irvine’s Center for the Study of Cannabis provides an up-to-date library of cannabis-related research.