FTC cracks down on deceptive CBD health claims

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CBD topical product

On Dec. 17, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced its first crackdown on deceptive marketing claims for CBD products.

These claims cover a range of scientifically unsupported benefits, including cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and Alzheimer’s disease, and also include allegations that at least one company made false claims about scientific findings.

See examples of the marketing on Hemp Industry Daily.

Termed “Operation CBDeceit” by the FTC, the action requires the companies and their owners to immediately stop making scientifically unsubstantiated claims.

The companies are: Bionatrol Health, based in New York City; Epichouse of West Valley, Utah, which also operates as First Class Herbalist; CBD Meds, Temecula, California; HempmeCBD, Boca Raton, Florida; Reef Industries, Costa Mesa, California; and Steves Distributing of Longmont, Colorado, which also operates as Steve’s Goods.

The FTC’s complaints will result in de facto settlements, requiring the companies to stop making allegedly dubious claims and prevent them from making similar claims in the future, unless they can present some scientific findings to support their assertions.

The behavior outlined by the FTC dates back as far as January 2018. Financial penalties range from $20,000 for Bionatrol Health to $85,000 for Reef Industries.

“The six settlements announced today send a clear message to the burgeoning CBD industry: Don’t make spurious health claims that are unsupported by medical science,” said Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Otherwise, don’t be surprised if you hear from the FTC.”