On September 10, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent warning letters to three companies that sold cannabidiol (CBD) products marketed with misleading claims that they could treat serious diseases. The FTC aims to â€śprotect consumers from unfair and deceptive practices in the marketplace,â€ť and accordingly has the responsibility of jointly overseeing marketing and advertising of products that fall under the U.S. Food & Drug Administrationâ€™s control.1 According to its press release, the FTC warned three companies that it is illegal to market cures or preventative features of a product without supporting â€ścompetent and reliable scientific evidence.â€ť The FTC has not publicly identified the recipients of the letters.
The companies in question sold various products containing CBD, including oils, tinctures, capsules, creams, and â€śgummies.â€ť Each company asserted its CBD product was able to cure or treat serious health concerns. One company claimed that its product could treat pain better than opioids and that CBD was â€śclinicallyâ€ť proven to treat a host of diseases, including Alzheimerâ€™s, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. That company cited to its participation in research with Harvard researchers. The other two companies likewise made similar claims that their CBD products could treat pain and other conditions (both physical and psychological), such as anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, heart disease, and autism.
In the letters, the FTC asked that the companies review their marketing claims and back those claims with competent and reliable scientific evidence. The companies have 15 days within receipt of the letter to respond to the FTCâ€™s inquiry.