The Federal Trade Commission has once again cautioned companies to make sure that they are within federal guidelines when it comes to selling CBD. On Tuesday, the agency announced that it had issued warning letters to companies that it says were advertising health claims for CBD products “without competent and reliable scientific evidence to support such claims.”
In a statement, the FTC said that letters had been sent to three companies, which it did not publicly identify. It did, however, go into some detail regarding the health claims that each had made for its products. Those specifics are worth studying, especially for other CBD vendors hoping to avoid federal censure.
Company number one had language on its website saying that CBD “works like magic” against “even the most agonizing pain.” It also claims that CBD has been “clinically proven” to treat diseases like cancer and multiple sclerosis, and made reference to “thousands of hours of research” the firm has participated in, in conjuncture with Harvard University.
Company two also called on CBD’s curative effects on a large spectrum of health conditions from Alzheimer’s to Lou Gehrig’s Disease and AIDS. The FTC also flagged the company’s claim that CBD is a “miracle pain remedy” for a wide variety of pains.
Company three made similar inflated health claims, such as linking CBD oil use to treatment of depression, PTSD, asthma, and other health conditions.
The FTC cautions companies that selling CBD products attached to unproven health claims could result in a federal injunction and forced reimbursements to customers who purchased the products.
None of this is to say that CBD hasn’t been shown to be effective in treating health concerns. Recent studies have pointed to CBD’s power as an antibiotic, a counter to opioid cravings, and a seizure deterrent in rats.
But the FDA has only approved one CBD product so far; Epidiolex, which is used to treat severe epilepsy. Public hearings in June that were conducted by the agency left it with persistent questions as to the safety of the substance.
CBD occupies an odd, in-between position when it comes to what is legal and what is not. While states like Ohio advance legislation that would explicitly legalize its sales and the farming of hemp, the federal government continues to marginalize its users. In August, the Armed Forces issued a warning to active service members that they were banned from using all hemp-derived products. At the Canadian border last month, a woman was banned from the US because she was carrying a small bottle of CBD.
But as the federal authorities issue these warnings and penalties, and battle possibly disingenuous health claims on products, CBD continues to pop up in more and more retail locations. This summer, two major mall chains—American Eagle Outfitters and Abercrombie & Fitch—announced that many of their stores would start stocking CBD-infused beauty products. Perhaps the best proof of all that CBD is becoming the all-American capitalist add-on? Carl’s Jr., fresh off its foray into the world of non-meat burgers, sold a CBD-infused patty called Rocky Mountain High at its Denver store on 4/20 this year.