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CBD and Alcohol

Regarding CBD oil in beer, the TTB has issued a statement about beer that contains these cannabis-related additives. The statement unequivocally provides that there will be no approval of formulas that include substances illegal under the Controlled Substance Act. Hemp, however, is not banned by the CSA and, therefore, hemp or its derivatives may be used in alcoholic beverages, assuming certain conditions are satisfied, i.e., formula approval (all sales) and COLA (only interstate sales).

But in order for the formula to be approved, the hemp component must be one of three GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) ingredients. The FDA has said that a food product can contain hemp-based GRAS ingredients and that sellers can market such products. The three hemp-based GRAS ingredients are: hulled hemp seed (GRN765), hemp seed protein powder (GRN771), and hemp seed oil (GRN778). You may be asking yourself why the FDA is involved if we are talking about malt-beverage products over which the TTB has jurisdiction. The TTB has said that it is working together with the FDA on this issue. So, whether talking about malt-beverage products or water-products, we will have to look to the FDA for guidance.

As of right now, THC and CBD are not a hemp-based GRAS ingredients, and thus would not be approved by the FDA.
The TTB requires the label to accurately state where the ingredient comes from, i.e. hemp seed, hemp seed oil, and the label cannot impress upon consumers that it has similar effects to cannabis or its derivatives. The ingredients must be conspicuous and visible to the customer. As an example, the phrase “Ale brewed with Hemp Seed Oil” has been used and approved.

Thus, the gist is that you can’t use anything that is derived from prohibited parts of the cannabis plant (you can’t use terpenes derived from prohibited parts of the plant). You can, however, use substances derived from non-prohibited (exempted) parts of the cannabis plant, e.g., hemp seed, including its oils, terpenes, etc.

It will be interesting to see whether other parts of the cannabis plant are added the list of GRAS ingredients.

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