On September 10, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued warning letters to three unidentified companies that sell cannabidiol (CBD) products with claims that the products treat or cure serious diseases or health conditions. The warning letters send a message to the CBD industry that any such claims must be supported by sound scientific data. Specifically, FTC requires competent and reliable scientific evidence to support any claims that a product prevents, treats or cures a medical condition.
One company claimed that its CBD product relieves pain better than prescription opioid painkillers, and was “clinically proven” by “thousands of hours of research” to treat cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and colitis.
A second company claimed that its CBD products are proven to treat a litany of serious diseases including autism, anorexia, schizophrenia, ALS, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease and AIDS.
The third company claimed its CBD gummies were highly effective in treating “the root cause of most major degenerative diseases, including arthritis, heart disease, fibromyalgia, cancer, asthma, and wide spectrum of autoimmune disorders” along with various other serious conditions.
FTC warned these companies that selling CBD products without competent and reliable scientific evidence substantiating their claims could violate the FTC Act and may result in legal action resulting in penalties including injunction and the return of money to consumers.
These warning letters echo the March 2019 warning letters sent jointly by FTC and the Food and Drug Administration warning companies against making disease claims without adequate substantiation.
This latest round of warning letters highlights the potential pitfalls of marketing CBD products without a thorough understanding of the unsettled and complex regulatory environment for such products. If you need assistance navigating the regulatory environment for CBD or other cannabis-derived products, contact Frier Levitt Government Affairs to speak with an attorney.