On July 6, 2018, the California Department of Public Health’s Food and Drug Branch (CDPH-FDB) quietly posted an updated FAQ on cannabidiol (CBD) in food products. The organization has determined that the use of industrial hemp as the source of CBD to be added to food products is prohibited in California.

The FAQ states, “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.” California defines “food” as any article intended for use for food, drink, confection, condiment, or chewing gum by man or other animal.

The CDPH-FDB clarifies that the following hemp derived products will NOT be allowed in food in the state:

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

And since CBD is an unapproved food additive, it will NOT be allowed for food use in California regardless of where the CBD products originate, eliminating potential out-of-state workarounds.

The following forms of industrial hemp derived products WILL be allowed in food, as long as there are no claims for related health benefits:

  • Seeds derived from industrial hemp
  • Industrial hemp seed oil or hemp seed oil derived from industrial hemp

The FAQ outlines that hemp seed oil and hemp-derived CBD oil are two different products. “Industrial hemp seed oil is derived from the seeds limited to types of the Cannabis sativa L. plant and may contain trace amounts of CBD (naturally occurring) and other cannabinoids. Food grade Industrial hemp seed oil is available from a variety of approved sources.”