by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Cannabis

May 30 2019

The latest on CBD edibles and supplements

NutraIngredients.com, one of those informative industry newsletters I subscribe to, has a collection of articles on CBD (cannabidiol, the component of hemp and marijuana that does not make you high but may have some health benefits).

Manufacturers are rushing to produce CBD edibles and supplements, despite concerns about their legal status, as you can see here.

And from this and other sources

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Apr 18 2019

Another update on CBD and marijuana edibles (and drinkables)

I’m trying to keep up with what’s happening with Cannabis edibles and drinkables, still with borderline legality in most places, but gradually working their way to supermarkets near you.

Here’s what’s come up lately.

And then there are the health claims.  As early as 2017, the FDA sent out warning letters to makers of CBD products; they were marketing their products as drugs not supplements or foods.

For example, the FDA sent a letter to That’s Natural, complaining that the company published testimonials saying things like this:

  • “Scientific research by doctors have shown it actually kills cancer cells and provides a protective coating around our brain cells.”
  • “as a Type 1 diabetic, my blood sugars have noticeably leveled off.”
  • “My blood pressure and heart rate have also significantly improved as well.”

The FDA also sent a letter to Green Roads of Florida objecting to claims like these:

  • “CBD .[has] anti-proliferative properties that inhibit cell division and growth in certain types of cancer, not allowing the tumor to grow.”
  • “Almost all studies recognize CBD’s potential in preventing both cancer spread and growth…”
  • “The following are some of the many ailments CBD oil can potentially be therapeutic for:  asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, autism, bipolar disorder, various types of cancer….

Food, medicine, supplement, or snake oil?  We shall see.

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Mar 21 2019

Supplements for pets: NutraIngredients-USA.com

NutraIngredients-USA.com has collected articles on this topic into a Special Edition: Supplements for pets

The market for supplements for pets is valued at around $2.6 billion, according to the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC).

Issues driving the market growth include an increasing market share of premium supplements positioned as natural and organic; the rise of obesity/weight management among the nation’s pets; and maintaining the health of older pets, which are living for longer.

In this special edition, we explore the key trends (including CBD!), opportunities, and a couple of brand success stories.

Malden Nesheim and I discuss pet supplements in our book, Feed Your Pet Right (which is actually an analysis of the pet food industry).  Just as with supplements for humans, little evidence exists to demonstrate that supplements do any good for pets.  But they make owners feel like they are doing something useful.  As for CBD for pets?  That may make owners feel better too.

Jan 1 2019

Where are we on Cannabis edibles (and drinkables)?

Let’s start the new year off with a look at what’s happening with Cannabis, a food politics topic because of its edibles.

First, the legal status

The word is that the market for Cannabis products—including edibles and drinkables—constitutes a the “21st century gold rush,” despite their illegal regulatory status in the U.S.

Illegal?  Here’s what the the FDA says:

12,  Can products that contain THC or cannabidiol (CBD) be sold as dietary supplements?

A.  No.

13,  Is it legal, in interstate commerce, to sell a food to which THC or CBD has been added?

A. No

As for the status of Cannabis in Canada, the details are here.  Cannabis became legal in October, with some amusing results, here.  And then, there’s the question of Cannabis-infused beer, of all things:

Cannabis-infused beer gets lots of attention, but craft brewers worried about the competition.

What about research on the effects of THC?

It’s been difficult to do it because of restrictions on illegal substances, but because the Farm Bill took hemp off the list, observers are hopeful that research possibilities will open up.

In the meantime, some research is ongoing.  For example: Cannabis increases appetite but whether it causes weight gain is still uncertain.

We will be hearing a lot more about this topic, I predict.  Stay tuned.

Happy new year, stoned or not.

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Dec 18 2018

The 2018 Farm Bill: More of the Same Old Same Old

I’m on record as calling previous Farm Bills “visionless.”

Given what’s happening in Congress, some consider it a bipartisan win?  It is, but only because, as the Washington Post put it, the outcome is bad but could have been a lot worse.

The 2018 Farm Bill remains a visionless mess.  It continues to favor Big Agriculture and mean-spiritedness over what this country badly needs: a food system explicitly aimed at promoting public health, basic support for the poor, the livelihoods of real farmers and farm workers, and environmental sustainability.

The bill takes up 807 pages, with a table of contents of 11 pages.  It will cost taxpayers $867 billion over ten years. That’s more than $1 billion per page.

How to approach the Farm Bill

Start by using the search function to look for key words.  These turn up in the Table of Contents, which gives section numbers.  Then search by section number.  Items dealing with sustainable agriculture and production of food—as opposed to feed or fuel—generally turn up in the Horticulture title.  For the rationale behind these decisions, see the Senate’s explanation.

Items of immediate note:

SNAP

Recall that more than 75% of Farm Bill expenditures go for SNAP—The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps).

The “bipartisan win”? Attempts to cut SNAP expenditures and introduce work requirements failed to pass (whew), although Congress is still working on ways to cut enrollments.

Commodity payments

The bill allows payments to more distant relatives of farm owners—cousins, nieces, nephews—a gift to the already rich.  Payments can still go to those earning more than $900,000 a year in adjusted gross income (sigh).

Organics

The bill authorizes $395 million in research funding over the next 10 years, and small amounts for data collection, offset of certification costs, and technology upgrades.  But the bill weakens restrictions on chemicals that can be used in organic production.

Hemp

The bill grants $2 million a year for support of hemp as a crop, and authorizes USDA to study the economic viability of its domestic production and sale.  It also authorizes Indian tribes (that’s the term the bill uses) to grow hemp.

Cuba

The bill allows funding for USDA trade promotion programs in Cuba.

The Managers recognize that expanding trade with Cuba not only represents an opportunity for American farmers and ranchers, but also a chance to improve engagement with the Cuban people in support of democratic ideas and human rights…The Managers expect that the Secretary will work closely with eligible trade organizations to educate them about allowable activities to improve exports to Cuba under the Market Access and Foreign Market Development Cooperator Programs.

One sweet gift: in memory of Gus Schumacher

The Managers also agree the FINI [Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive]  and Produce Prescription should be renamed the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program, in recognition of Mr. Schumacher’s role in the establishment of nutrition incentives nationwide. Mr. Schumacher was a magnificent advocate for farmers and families and saw the importance in building access and affordability through incentive programs.

Commentary

Dan Imhoff’s analysis in Civil Eats is particularly worth reading:

Still, the revised farm bill will ensure that citizens continue to pay for their food at least three times: 1) at the checkout stand; 2) in environmental cleanup and medical costs related to the consequences of industrial agriculture; and 3) as taxpayers who fund subsidies to a small group of commodity farmers deemed too big to fail.

FERN’s explainer video is also worth another look.

Documents

Oct 4 2018

Coca-Cola considering new drinks infused with—Cannabis!

Really?  Cannabis Canada reports that Coca-Cola is seriously considering going into the cannabis business.

Get high on Coke?  No such luck.

The sources said that Coca-Cola (KO.N), the world’s largest beverage company, is interested in developing beverages that are infused with cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, the non-psychoactive chemical found in marijuana plants.

Non-psychoactive?  What’s the point?

Oh.  I get it.

Estimates vary, but the consumer CBD market is estimated to grow to US$2.1 billion by 2020, from $202 million in 2015, according to a recent report in the Hemp Business Journal…The company behind such drinks as Diet Coke, Sprite and Minute-Maid juice reported annual revenue of US$35.4 billion in 2017, down 15.5 per cent from the prior year, which has spurred the company to search for growth in international markets and new beverage concepts such as an alcoholic offering that’s only available in Japan.

Cannabis as the solution to Coca-Cola’s loss in sales?

My question: will there be low-sugar options?

While we are on the topic of Cannabis edibles:

California reports that its tests of nearly 11,000 marijuana products found nearly 20%—including cookies, candies, and other edibles—to have higher-than-allowed levels of pesticides, E. coli, and salmonella.

Caveat emptor.

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Sep 13 2018

Beer: sustainable, THC-infused, from BeverageDaily.com

BeverageDaily.com does a monthly special collection of industry-focused articles on beer.  This one spotlights sustainability, but includes a couple of items about—really!—cannabis-infused beer, as well as tea, coffee, and water.  As readers of this blog know, I am following the politics of cannabis edibles.  It’s now time to add drinks to the list, or what is known in the trade, apparently, as the “THC-infused beverage space.”

And here are even more of its articles about the beer industry.  Be sure to check the one about how to personalize yours with 3D printing.

 

Jul 18 2018

Uh oh. California is reporting problems with kids eating cannabis edibles

The Los Angeles Times reports that calls to California poison control centers about kids ingesting marijuana “edibles” are increasing.  There have already been about 400 calls this year.

California legalized marijuana in 2016.  Edibles are a big part of the cannabis market.  They are often packaged to look like regular candy, cookies, brownies, and other treats.

  • Nearly half of last year’s calls involved children 5 and younger
  • 64 were about toddlers who were a year old
  • 38 calls were about children under 12 months old

Kids who eat them are brought to emergency rooms, and these visits too are increasing.

I’ve written about kids eating edibles before, in connection with legalization in Colorado.

Of this, Elise McDonough, former editor of High Times, and author of the High Times Cannabis Cookbook, says:

And keep edibles away from pets too.

While we are on this topic, here’s what pediatricians are saying about marijuana use during pregnancy, lactation, and early childhood. While waiting for further research,

Advice from medical professionals should be consistent: pregnant and lactating women should be advised to avoid cannabis use, and women (and men) caring for developing children also should be advised to maintain abstinence.

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