US regulators hit 7 CBD companies with warning letters over COVID-19 claims

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(A version of this story first appeared at Hemp Industry Daily.)

U.S. health and trade authorities issued a record seven warning letters in one day to companies making CBD, the biggest federal action against the industry in over a year.

Warning letters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission this week targeted companies making coronavirus-related claims.

It was the first time so many CBD companies had been targeted in a single day.

They were the first warnings issued since this year’s release of multiple scientific studies showing that CBD, cannabinoid acids and even synthetic cannabis compounds might prevent or treat COVID-19 infections.

The USDA and FTC said in a Tuesday announcement that they were alarmed to see cannabinoid companies “using research studies to claim or imply misleadingly that their CBD products will cure, mitigate, treat or prevent COVID-19.”

The companies that received warnings were:

The companies were given 48 hours apiece to scrub their websites and social media posts of product listings that “misleadingly represent them as safe and/or effective for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.”

The warning letters were dated Monday, the same day the FDA asked Congress to change a 1994 law regulating dietary supplements “to facilitate enforcement against unlawfully marketed products.”

The FDA said the changes would allow the agency “to know when new products are introduced, quickly identify dangerous or illegal products on the market, and take appropriate action to protect consumers when necessary.”

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Companies that don’t comply could face product seizures or even criminal charges.

Messages from Hemp Industry Daily to the affected companies weren’t immediately returned Wednesday.

This year’s research findings supporting the role of cannabis in human health and in fighting COVID-19 illness sparked a boom for wholesale hemp extracts.