CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Derrick Raley is one of 15 business owners across the country who recently received a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration.
Raley has been selling CBD oils and pre-rolled joints out of a small room in the back of the Private I Salon in Charlotte since July. He says his products are â€śall naturalâ€ť and has never claimed â€śCBD is a cure.â€ť The FDA is accusing Raley of selling CBD illegally â€“ by infusing it in food, like cookies and salad dressings, and labeling it a dietary supplement.
The FDA says it â€ścannot conclude that CBD is generally recognized as safe among qualified experts for its use in human or animal food,â€ť according to a news release. So far, the agency has only approved one CBD product, a prescription drug, used to treat two rare forms of epilepsy.
Federal officials are now cracking down on sellers hyping CBD with â€śunproven medical claims.â€ť Raley has claimed his CBD can â€śkill cancer cells and slow tumor growth,â€ť according to his website. An Instagram post linked to his salon says an â€śAutistic child starts talking 2 days after oil treatment.â€ť Â The FDA found other posts that claimed â€śCannabinoids healâ€ť Alzheimerâ€™s, arthritis, autism, cancer, diabetes, glaucoma, epilepsy and AIDS.
â€śI donâ€™t see it as making a claim,â€ť Raley told FOX 46 on Tuesday. â€śI am just going through the Harvard Medical Center, Harvard Medical School. Iâ€™m going through what I feel to be reputable resources.â€ť
FOX 46 checked with Harvard Medical School, which pointed us to its online blog saying: â€śSome CBD manufacturers have come under government scrutiny for wild, indefensible claims, such that CBD is a cure-all for cancer, which it is not.â€ť
A Harvard doctor says it â€śmay prove to be an optionâ€ť to manage anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain but there is a lack of â€śhigh-quality evidence in human studies.â€ť Since itâ€™s unregulated, the Harvard blog said, itâ€™s difficult to know what youâ€™re actually getting.
Itâ€™s an issue FOX 46 first told you about back in May when we obtained test results of North Carolina CBD companies that showed alarming results.
â€śWe find heavy metals, we find arsenic, we find lead, we find pesticide residues,â€ť said Volker Bornemann, the president of Avazyme, a leading CBD testing lab for the state located in Durham. â€śIn some cases, we couldnâ€™t find any CBD in there. So, whenever there is money to be made, somebody tries to cheat.â€ť
The warning letters come amid new FDA safety concerns regarding side effects of CBD, toxicity levels and concerns over harmful chemicals found in some products.
â€śThese products have not been approved by the FDA and we want to be clear that a number of questions remain regarding CBDâ€™s safety â€“ including reports of products containing contaminants, such as pesticides and heavy metals â€“ and there are real risks to be considered,â€ť said FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Dr. Amy Abernethy. Â
A revised Consumer Update outlines specific safety concerns related to CBD, including: potential liver injury, interactions with other drugs, drowsiness, diarrhea, mood changes, and concerns over how it could impact children and breastfeeding women, the FDA said.
Raley plans to remove his questionable marketing claims. He has two weeks to tell the FDA how he plans to correct the violations.