From donuts in Denver to cocktails in Cali. Customers at Fort Lauderdale’s Pizza City are enthusiastic about the cannabidiol marinara sauce. CBD infused food and drinks is the hottest foodie trend of the year.
Cannabidiol or CBD is extracted from the marijuana plant. Its medicinal benefits can treat a range of ailments from anxiety, inflammation, to even epilepsy.
Although there is pure CBD available, some oils can legally contain small traces of THC; however, there is not enough to induce a mind-altering high. THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana is still illegal in most states without a medical card.
Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved CBD as a food additive. Seth Hyman, a medical marijuana expert at Plantation law firm discusses the potential dangers of restaurants adding the cannabinoid into food and beverages.
“(CBD oil in restaurants) is dangerous to consumers. You don’t know where the oil is coming from. The FDA clearly states that it’s unlawful to introduce CBD into food or dietary supplements. Period, end of story. What these restaurants are doing is a marketing ploy.” Says Hyman.
On December 20th of last year, the FDA made a statement declaring all CBD products as illegal food additives after President Trump signed to 2018 Farm Bill effectively legalizing the hemp derivative from a narcotic to a product of agriculture.
Nevertheless, CBD oil is trailblazing a variety of industries. Consumers are seeing it infused into vapes, bath bombs, skincare, and even dog foods.
Similarly, research shows that doctors and vets prescribe CBD for diseases like epilepsy and cancer. Epidiolex, a CBD-based seizure medication, was approved by the FDA and medical practitioners are proclaiming its success.
Due to the government shutdown, communications to change the approval status with the FDA have been ineffective.
FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb says the FDA remains firm in their stance to not approve CBD anytime soon.
“Selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims is not only a violation of the law but also can put patients at risk, as these products have not been proven to be safe or effective. Cannabis and cannabis-derived products ( . . . ) are considered new drugs or new animal drugs and must go through the FDA drug approval process for human or animal use before they are marketed in the U.S.” Says Gottlieb.
Despite this, owner of Fort Lauderdale’s Pizza City, Dave Nardi hasn’t stopped producing delicious hemp infused New York style pies.
Nardi says that the pizza has been a mega-hit at his restaurant while educating his customers on the health benefits of CBD oil.
“Mostly I’ve been getting, ‘Will this pizza get you high?’ and of course, the answer is ‘no,’ ” Nardi says. “I tell customers that the (CBD) flavor is as mild as extra virgin olive oil. People are telling me they’re happy that, finally, Las Olas is becoming more progressive. But I’m still getting lots of people who don’t know what CBD is.”
Nardi proclaims that it was unnecessary for him to contact the FDA as the CBD has less than 0.3 percent THC, within the legal limit for sale.
“We didn’t have to inform the FDA before we served this pizza. (Hemp) is not illegal,” says Alvarez, adding that his oil was tested for impurities at a Davie-based laboratory called EVIO Labs. “I’ve read the (new farm bill) in depth, and it’s clear. The FDA is trying to regulate this so people don’t get high on accident. Our CBD is as pure and clean and organic as a cannabis plant can be.”
However, Nardi does caution his customers that may have to take a drug test.
“If you must take a drug test, although it’s on a micro-level, you may test positive for THC,” Nardi says.