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FTC Steps Up Enforcement Against CBD Health Claims

CBD-infused products continue to flood the market as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explores additional regulatory pathways for hemp products containing cannabidiol (CBD). Currently, under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, CBD cannot lawfully be added to a food or marketed as a dietary supplement.

On September 10, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent warning letters to three unnamed companies that sell oils, tinctures, capsules, “gummies,” and creams containing CBD. The FTC said the three companies advertised that their CBD products treated or cured serious diseases and health conditions. For example, one company’s website claims CBD “works like magic” to relieve “even the most agonizing pain” better than prescription opioid painkillers. The letters warn the companies that 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.

Earlier in March 2019, the FTC and FDA sent similar warning letters to three companies. According to those advertisements, the products can effectively treat diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, fibromyalgia, and “neuropsychiatric disorders.” Moving forward, expect both the FTC and FDA to continue using their enforcement authority to ensure that CBD-containing products are advertised truthfully.

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 255


About this Author

Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...