State health officials to remove unregulated CBD products

  • FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018 file photo, a woman takes a puff from a cannabis vape pen in Los Angeles. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, U.S. health officials are again urging people to stop vaping until they figure out why some are coming down with serious breathing illnesses. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

HONOLULU — State health officials announced plans to remove unregulated CBD products after Hawaii recorded its first suspected case of severe respiratory illness related to vaping.

Department of Health Director Bruce Anderson told lawmakers Thursday that they would focus on improving the safety of cannabis products amid growing national health concerns.

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A Big Island youth was hospitalized for a serious lung injury earlier this week, health officials said.

“We are very concerned about the safety of CBD products on the market,” Anderson said. “We’re going to be looking at products that are targeted toward kids, like gummy bears and candies that are shaped like animals, and of course any vaping products that has CBD, given the history of illness associated with that.”

There is no CBD oversight in Hawaii, health officials said. Untested products have potential health risks and are not considered safe.

The department recently warned that it is illegal to sell CBD outside of the dozen state cannabis dispensaries.

“Our state is trying to figure out how we can responsibly move forward and remove those products which are potentially hazardous or harmful,” Anderson said.

CBD is banned by the Food and Drug Administration in food, drinks and dietary supplements, officials said. However, it’s a prescription drug and it’s being added to foods, but it is technically unapproved.

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“The big issue with unregulated hemp products has to do with (the fact that) we don’t know where the CBD is coming from,” Anderson said. “If it’s not tested, really, they don’t belong on shelves. A lot of things can cause the kind of pneumonia showing up and killing people, which should be scary to you. It really, honestly poses a general threat.”

More than 450 cases of severe lung illnesses have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including at least six deaths.

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