New York marijuana: What to know about CBD craze, FDA crackdown on cannabis-based drugs

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New York’s recreational marijuana battle sits on the front line of a generational war over American cannabis laws. As debate heats up, USA TODAY Network New York is compiling answers to key questions about legalized cannabis.

Federal authorities seem poised to tighten restrictions on CBD-brand cannabis products already being sold throughout the state just as New York's recreational marijuana push is rebooting.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is typically sold as cannabis-derived oils, creams and capsules, which is legal in New York and across the country because it lacks marijuana’s psychoactive element.

Yet concerns about bogus CBD marketing and products threatening users have ignited calls for U.S. Food and Drug Administration oversight, a potential turning point for the CBD industry on pace to hit $16 billion in sales by 2025, experts say.

The CBD craze exploded after Congress passed the Farm Bill last year, which made some cannabis plants legal and loosened restrictions on the use of the CBD hemp products that contain less than .3% THC, the psychoactive element, USA TODAY Network reported.

Further, the bill removed the low-THC hemp, used to extract CBD, from the schedule 1 category that includes marijuana and other drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

So far, federal regulators have only approved medical grade CBD for treating severe epilepsy, handling other CBD products claiming to treat everything from anxiety and insomnia to pain and depression similar to nutritional supplements.

Some companies touting cannabidiol as a cancer cure, however, received warning letters from the Food and Drug Administration, suggesting a pending crackdown on CBD medical claims.