New York City is cracking down on CBD food and drinks sold in cafes, bars, restaurants and stores, continuing its rich history of no-nonsense take-downs of trendy, unproven ‘health’ goods.
The trendy cannabis-derived oil has turned up in lattes, infused into overpriced toast spreads, baked into cookies and even stirred into cocktails.
Businesses peddling CBD goods advertise their ‘calming,’ ‘pain-relieving’ and general wellness-boosting properties.
But none of that has been proven. In fact, the only thing we know CBD can treat is rare seizures.
Like those in Maine and Ohio, New York City officials have begun confiscating CBD products and issuing orders against the use of the oil in food and beverages in at least 11 restaurants, NBC reported.
Manhattan bakery and restaurant Fat Cat Kitchen posted photos of the ’embargoed’ CBD products the New York City Department of Health seized from it on Instagram
The first crackdowns were reported by the food and restaurant news site, Eater, on Monday, after Manhattan restaurant and bakery Fat Cat Kitchen posted photos zip-lock bagged CBD products marked as ’embargoed’ by the New York City Department of Health (DOH).
‘Our CBD was embargoed!!! Are they going to do this to every business selling CBD edibles????’ Fat Cat captioned it’s Instagram post, calling the move an ‘arbitrary ban.’
The DOH told NBC that at least 11 other businesses had been ordered to stop selling CBD products, and confirmed the ban.
‘Restaurants in New York City are not permitted to add anything to food or drink that is not approved as safe to eat,’ the DOH told NBC in a statement.
‘The Health Department takes seriously its responsibility to protect New Yorkers’ health. Until cannabidiol (CBD) is deemed safe as a food additive, the Department is ordering restaurants not to offer products containing CBD.’
With medical marijuana now legal in 33 states and recreational marijuana legal in another 10, savvy businesses have been quick to jump on to the hottest products of the last year.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is not psychoactive, like the other well-known component of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), so Americans have been fairly lax about introducing it into what we eat and drink.
But CBD is being used as a food additive.
And any additive must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as safe to use in food or beverages – a distinction that CBD has not yet earned.
So the move is not so much a new ban as it is an enforcement of existing policies against unapproved products.
In fact, there is only one FDA-approved CBD product: a drug to treat rare types of seizures, which passed muster last year.
As for uses like treating anxiety, insomnia and pain, the jury – in the form of the FDA – is still out on CBD.
In fact, even though medical cannabis is now legal in the majority of the US states, it is still classified as a schedule I drug by the federal government.
This is one of the reasons that the actual effectiveness of CBD is so poorly understood: so long as it’s classified as federally illegal, samples and funding for research are hard to acquire.
Restaurants, bars and wellness stores may bill cannabidiol as a veritable cure-all, but science has yet to bear that out.
And as a food additive, CBD hasn’t been proven safe to ingest.
CBD is only the latest target of DOH’s crackdown on trendy wellness products.
In June, jet-black activated charcoal products started disappearing from ice cream and smoothie shops after the DOH issued an order against selling food and drink that contained the trendy ashen substance.
Activated charcoal has been touted as ambiguously capable of soaking up ‘toxins’ in the body.
The FDA has approved activated carbon for use in certain prescription devices and drugs, or overt-the counter treatments for ‘acute toxic ingestion’ – but not for dying ice cream cones (and the mouths of those enjoying them) jet black and de-toxing you from whatever ails you.
And now, the health departments in New York City, Ohio and Maine are moving on to to target the next trend: CBD.