Another warning shot from FTC on cannabidiol claims

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Last week the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sent more warning letters to companies over claims it alleges have been made relating to cannabidiol (CBD).

This warning shot across the bows follows a round of letters sent in March this year by the FTC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

While not naming the targets in this latest batch, the FTC said the companies involved had advertised CBD products claiming they treat or cure various conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, MS, colitis and cancer. Not all companies claimed therapeutic benefit for the same diseases or conditions.

The letters warn the recipients to review all claims – including those in published consumer reviews of products – to ensure they are backed by “competent and reliable scientific” evidence. It warns failure to do so could violate the FTC Act and may result in legal action; including orders to refund the money of purchasers.

The letters give the recipients 15 days to follow up with the FTC to let the Commission know what remedial actions have been taken.

Aside from this and the March letters, the FTC hasn’t had a lot to say on the cannabidiol situation in the USA. A search of “cannabidiol” on its website reveals just three entries – and all related to the letters.

The FTC is a bipartisan federal agency tasked with protecting U.S. consumers and promoting competition.

With regard to the FDA and cannabidiol, it’s a very different situation – but it’s charged with the heavy responsibility of protecting public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of products for human consumption. On the issue of cannabidiol, the FDA has had plenty to say.

But this doesn’t mean the FDA is hating on CBD. In fact, the FDA’s Principal Associate Commissioner for Policy – Office of Policy, Lowell Schiller, JD, recently stated the Administration is “excited” about cannabidiol’s potential. However, it is being very cautious.

So far the FDA has only approved one cannabidiol drug for human use and only with specific conditions – the incredibly costly Epidiolex for the treatment of symptoms associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

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