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NOW launches line of CBD topicals formulated to exclude THC 

Major supplement manufacturer NOW has decided to take the CBD plunge with a new line of full-spectrum topical products. 

The new line includes CBD joint and muscle cream, which includes capsaicin, CBD massage oil, which is laced with arnica and calendula, and CBD balm, which features the powerful aromas of camphor and menthol. 

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All the products, which have been launched under the NOW Solutions brand, have been formulated with a broad-spectrum hemp extract base. According to the company, this means they contain a range of naturally occurring phytocannabinoids from the cannabis plant, including CBD as well as other cannabinoids, but does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The extract also contains other naturally occurring compounds from the plant, including terpenes and flavonoids. 

The cream and massage oil are formulated to deliver 250 milligrams (mg) of CBD per use, with the balm product doubling that at 500 mg. 

Taking time to create “products that endure”

When addressing the obvious question about why it took NOW so long to finally enter this category, Tina Tews, beauty and aromatherapy category manager of NOW Health Group said, “It was important to us to create products that endure rather than quickly jump on a trend.” 

Tews said the products were formulated specifically to exclude THC for consumers who want to avoid the psychoactive component of hemp, even in the tiny amounts allowable in a compliant product from an industrial hemp source. 

The CBD sector has seen an extreme boom and bust cycle, almost entirely driven by regulatory uncertainty. Hemp industry proponents have put pressure on the Food and Drug Administration to find a regulatory pathway for ingestible products, but in January 2023, the agency announced its conclusion that the existing pathways for foods and dietary supplements are not appropriate for CBD. The agency said it was prepared to work with Congress on a new pathway.   

“The safety standards for food and supplements are “very protective” and, unlike FDA-approved drugs, they don’t allow for a risk-benefit analysis,” Patrick Cournoyer, an FDA official, said in April during an industry conference in Estes Park, Colo. 

Federal lawmakers certainly could pass a bill to create a lawful pathway for CBD-containing supplements, but that hasn’t happened yet. 

Neil Edward Levin, NOW’s senior nutrition education manager, said regulatory uncertainty has prevented NOW from going down the path of developing ingestible CBD products. 

My take on the reason why we don’t have an ingestible dietary supplement form of CBD is regulatory uncertainty, especially on the federal level,” he said. “There are unresolved concerns about upper limits and safety, as well as a potential regulatory conflict with an approved drug that the FDA has the power — but not yet the will — to override to allow legal sales of CBD supplements.” 

“NOW is very diligent at following regulatory rules and has long chosen to avoid using materials that don’t have full federal approval,” Levin added. “On the topical side of the market, there is a much clearer path to offer CBD products that meet regulatory requirements than on the supplement side.” 

 




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