Washington, D.C.—Outgoing FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb was asked about the FDA’s plan to regulate hemp-derived CBD products at his final hearing before a Senate appropriations subcommittee.

According to a report by Marijuana Moment, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) pointed out the “significant regulatory and enforcement uncertainty” surrounding CBD, and asked Dr. Gottlieb how he thinks the FDA should handle enforcement efforts.

Dr. Gottlieb said, according to theMoment: “We’re using enforcement discretion right now. I will take enforcement action against CBD products that are on the market if manufacturers are making what I consider over-the-line claims.” He went on to specify that this means “claiming that it can cure cancer or prevent Alzheimer’s disease, because that can mislead a patient into forgoing otherwise effective therapy.”

That said, he noted, there are products on the market that the FDA hasn’t taken action against. “That’s not an invitation for people to continue marketing these products—we’re concerned about it—but we heard Congress loud and clear here,” he added.

Gottlieb spoke to Congress about CBD legislation, again pointing out that, given CBD is an active ingredient in an approved drug,FDA regulation will take years.He told Senator John Hoeven (R-ND): “There is precedent for Congress legislating in the context of a single ingredient. You could, for example, contemplate a scheme here where Congress gave FDA authority to contemplate CBD as a food ingredient at certain concentrations and potency and purity and then have it exist separately as a drug product at a different concentration, different potency and purity.” He used the example of fish oil, although he pointed out that that wasn't nearly so difficult--it had already existed in the food supply, whereas CBD has never existed in the food supply.

For more on CBD, read WholeFoods coverage from Expo West.