What Regulations Exist on Topical Products?

CBD Topical Products
Lisa Rennie
Written by Lisa Rennie

CBD topicals have caught plenty of attention over the recent past as more and more consumers are choosing these natural products as a means to reduce pain and inflammation from arthritis, injury, or another source of discomfort. Even famous athletes—both active and retired—are claiming to use CBD topicals on a regular basis to help them deal with their localized pain rather than depend on traditional pharmaceuticals.

The cosmetic industry is also getting in on the game, with more and more companies adding CBD-infused products to their lineup. Studies continue to uncover CBD’s potential role in promoting healthier, younger-looking skin and combating acne and blemishes, and cosmetics companies are cashing in. Big-name stores like Walgreens and CVS have also recently announced that CBD topicals would be made available on store shelves in certain states where cannabis is legalized.

But what regulations do these manufacturers and retailers have to follow when it comes to cannabis topicals? Or are they even regulated at all?

This past April, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new guidelines surrounding hemp-derived CBD. The guidelines stated that the government agency would be taking continued steps to thoroughly evaluate regulations for cannabis-derived products, including topicals.

Retailers are still largely uncertain amount the framework of rules when it comes to selling and marketing CBD-infused products, despite these products increasingly being found on store shelves.

The interest in CBD products among consumers continues to increase rapidly, and the market is also growing at an exponential rate. And with the US cannabis market expected to be worth as much as $13 billion by 2025, the market is definitely too big not to be appropriately regulated.

Right now, CBD and THC cannot be added to food or advertised as a supplement under federal law, and the FDA continues to oversee the regulation of food, cosmetics, medications, and other products that contain these cannabinoids. But the FDA doesn’t necessarily offer any specifics regarding the regulation of these products on a state level.

Having said that, each legalized state has its own regulations governing the manufacturing, distribution, labeling, packaging, and sale of CBD topicals, and cannabis products in general. For instance, the California Department of Public Health regulates cannabis manufacturers and requires that all cannabis products, including topicals, must be sealed in child-resistant packaging.

Further, only manufacturers and distributors are allowed to label products, not retailers. Labeling requirements are also rather specific. For example, the outermost layer of packaging must be properly labeled. For topicals, all primary information needs to be on the outermost product package.

Each state has its own regulatory framework, no matter how vague or detailed, when it comes to cannabis topicals, which all retailers should be sure to get familiar with before liking their shelves with these products.

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Lisa Rennie

Lisa Rennie

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