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FTC Issues Three CBD Companies a Warning for False, Unproven Health Claims

Mike Roet



4 Things to Note from the FTC Warning Letters on Players in the CBD Industry
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  • The three companies claimed that CBD could cure major medical issues, like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.
  • To date, the only FDA-approved use of CBD is in the medication Epidiolex, which is used as a prescription medicine to deal with two types of epilepsy.

While the CBD industry is entirely legal by the federal government, there are still a lot of roadblocks to overcome. The Food and Drug Administration has yet to make regulations and standards for the use of CBD, due to the lack of research to prove its benefits adequately. However, that hasn’t stopped companies from making major claims on what their CBD products can do, leading the Federal Trade Commission to get involved.

According to an article in Forbes, the FTC officially issued letters to three different companies, based on their health claims on the abilities of CBD. A press release from the FTC stated, “It is illegal to advertise that a product can prevent, treat, or cure human disease without competent and reliable scientific evidence to support such claims.”

The three companies at fault were not named in the press release, but their claims were noted. One firm stated that the CBD “works like magic” as it eliminates “even the most agonizing pain,” adding that the substance has clinical proof of treating cancer, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, colitis, Alzheimer's, and addiction to cigarettes.

The second company stated that the CBD was considered a “miracle pain remedy” that has the power to treat a long list of ailments. Some of these ailments include traumatic brain injury, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and AIDS.

The third company was offering customers CBD-infused gummies, saying that they were able to treat “the root cause of most major degenerative diseases, including arthritis, heart disease, fibromyalgia, cancer, asthma, and a wide spectrum of autoimmune disorders.”

The companies that were notified by the FTC have 15 days to reply, providing details about the actions that they’ve taken to deal with the problems listed. These corrections could ultimately lead to refunds for consumers and injunctions.

In March this year, the FTC and the FDA collaborated on a separate round of letters to three other companies for their own claims about the CBD products. Curaleaf was the recipient of a letter from the FDA, stating that the company was making “unsubstantiated claims” about their CBD products online.

The Farm Bill of 2018 made hemp and its derivatives legal, but the FDA still needs to develop regulations to show what the CBD can be used for in food products or dietary supplements. Preliminary research shows that CBD has a wealth of potential benefits, including aid for consumers with substance abuse disorders. However, at this point, the FDA has only approved CBD to be used in Epidiolex, which is a prescription medication for treating seizure disorders.

In a blog post from the FTC, authorities wrote,

“Before making claims about purported health effects of CBD products, advertisers need sound science to support their statements. The takeaway tip for anyone in the industry is that established FTC substantiation standards apply when advertisers make health-related representations for CBD products.”

A separate advisory from the FTC states that it is important for consumers to consistently check with their doctor before choosing to test out any healthcare product. Consumers should also examine the potential side effects, risks, and interactions that any new medication could have with the current medication being taken.

Michael is a freelance writer with several years of experience in writing of all kinds. From the uber-technical to the more relaxed, he is well-versed in a variety of styles. Lately, his work has been primarily focused on the CBD industry—a market with which he has a particular background and interest. Michael has an extensive interest and experience in legal research for the CBD market, and he has a knack for well-researched pieces and guides for the growing CBD and medicinal cannabis community.

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