CBD Smooths Out Its Wings: The Evolution of Cosmetic CBD Products Under the FDA

Nicholas Demski
Written by Nicholas Demski

How the Food and Drug Administration is Currently Dealing with Topical and Cosmetic Products Containing Cannabidiol

Imagine spending your entire life in a small town, where you knew every shop owner downtown and knew just where to get everything you needed. Then, a mega-super-center opens a half mile away. While you can find everything you need in one place, it’s just as confusing and even more overwhelming to find them than if you had just walked in between a few stores downtown. Moreover, you’re dealing with a variety of new options, which leaves you even more confused about the differences between them.

Hint: Once you open the box, there aren’t many differences.

Sometimes, however, there are significant differences in the products on the shelves. That’s why the FDA has had some difficulty aligning its actions with what the public understands.

As it currently stands, the only CBD product that has been approved by the FDA is Epidiolex. If a topical CBD product were to market itself as a treatment for any specific disease, that product would be in violation of the FDA’s current rules.

However, the FDA does not object to the study of CBD in products intended for human use, and this includes topicals and cosmetics. The FDA’s stance on CBD-derived cosmetic products is that:

  1. They are not subject to premarket approval
  2. They must be properly branded and labeled
  3. They must not contain any poisonous or deleterious substance
  4. The FDA can take action against any company if it has information that a product is unsafe

The CBD market has been exploding. It’s like going from a small-town shopping center to a mega-super-center full of CBD products. That’s why the FDA is taking a relatively hands-off approach to CBD cosmetic products, as long as they aren’t labeling or branding themselves in a way that would make them fall under the category of a drug.

Should a company violate any of the FDA’s regulations, the administration initiates action against that company by issuing a warning letter instructing them to change their policies or face punishment.

The FDA is actively encouraging the expanse of research on CBD so that they can better lay out a proper framework for CBD products. They cite a dearth of available information in their official policy, so expect to continue to see changes in their policies as more research develops over the coming years.


All information obtained from

Image Credit: Shoestring Cottage

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Nicholas Demski

Nicholas Demski

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