Advertising and Regulation of CBD Products | BakerHotelier

If you’ve been to a spa, beauty supply store, or health food store in the past four years, chances are you’ve seen, if not purchased, a product containing cannabidiol (CBD). . The 2018 passage of the Farm Bill removed non-hemp products, such as CBD, from the Controlled Substances Act, resulting in a flood of CBD products into the consumer market that carry a wide variety of claims of health and beauty, from pain relief to anxiety reduction. , among many others.

However, these products are manufactured and marketed in a largely unregulated manner, slipping through the cracks of Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory oversight. Recent studies by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy, Johns Hopkins Medicine and the University of Kentucky College of Medicine have revealed dangerous levels of inaccuracy in the labeling and marketing of these products. Specifically, these studies found that the majority of products were labeled with dramatically incorrect levels of CBD, and many products even contained undisclosed levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that produces a “high”.

The UW-Madison study analyzed various CBD drinks, oils, and other products (such as chocolate bars, honey, and transdermal patches). The researchers determined that of the beverages analyzed (such as coffee, seltzer water, kombucha, water, tea, and beer), 78% were over-labeled (containing less than 90% of the CBD that they claimed) and 7% were under-labeled (containing 110% or more of the CBD they claimed). Of the oils, the researchers found, about a third were correctly labeled and another third were under-labeled, a product that shockingly contained nearly 130% of what was listed on the label. Of the miscellaneous products, 67% were found to be overlabelled. THC was detected in 24% of drinks, 55% of oils and 71% of miscellaneous products.

A recent study by Johns Hopkins Medicine found that of 105 products tested, only 85% actually had the correct amount of CBD claimed on the label. Of these products, 18% were under-labeled and 58% were over-labelled. THC was found (within legal limits) in 35% of products; however, 11% of them were labeled “THC-free” while 51% made no reference to THC on the label. CBD products that are mislabeled as THC-free can create problems for people being tested for drugs in the workplace. Although not approved by the FDA to treat any of these conditions, 28% of the products analyzed made therapeutic claims (primarily on pain and inflammation). Although “pain relief” may seem like a standard description, it is a drug claim that requires certain FDA approvals. Pain relief products may contain CBD, but the claim itself must be based on something approved for that purpose. Similarly, 15% of the products tested carried a beauty claim (eg, reduce wrinkles), which generally does not go through the same regulatory process as a drug claim, but still requires adequate testing.

Researchers at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine found that nearly half of the products analyzed were mislabeled, the majority of which contained 90% or less CBD than expected.

Gross inaccuracies in CBD product labeling and unsubstantiated claims pose a serious health risk to consumers and violate fundamental marketing principles, perpetuating consumer mistrust and harming the industry. At least one company has taken matters into their own hands and successfully challenged a competitor’s claim of CBD content to the National Advertising Division, which they claim grossly exaggerated the actual amount of CBD in the product.

There are obvious dangers for people using products with unknown levels of active ingredients or unknown psychoactive ingredients. Overdose can lead to unexpected side effects and unwanted interactions with other medications. Underdosing may diminish or fail to provide the potential therapeutic benefits consumers may seek. Overall, the CBD industry will suffer, as will anyone who could actually benefit from CBD.

Notably, the FDA is not ignoring these issues. He advised consumers to be wary of unproven claims after his own tests revealed that many products did not contain the advertised level of CBD. Since CBD is the active ingredient in the prescription anti-epileptic drug Epidiolex, however, there are significant regulatory hurdles to its use in food or dietary supplements. So far, under enforcement discretion, the agency has only taken action against anyone making aggressive drug claims, such as treating cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. This leaves a huge hole in CBD regulation, especially in light of the growing evidence that many products misrepresent their ingredients. Some states have tried to fill the void with new licensing requirements for CBD products, but class action lawsuits may be more important for CBD sellers in the short term. For example, Curaleaf was sued in May for selling CBD drops containing THC. The label did not carry a warning about THC, which is required by Oregon law. While the massive CBD market presents opportunities, the relative lack of regulatory structure continues to create risks. Until Congress takes action and develops a path for approval and regulation, companies will continue to struggle with the lack of clarity in this area.

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