by Rick Thompson/December 17 2020
The Federal Trade Commission has initiated another round of reprimands and penalties to companies marketing CBD products as having specific health benefits not yet scientifically proven to be true, according to a December 17 press release from the Commission.
The FTC penalties were triggered by “deceptive claims in the growing market for cannabidiol (CBD) products,” including statements that CBD can treat or cure diseases and ailments, which the FTC considers unfounded and misleading. The “deceptive claims” about CBD’s benefits were contained on product labels, on their websites and in social media like Titter and YouTube.
The false statements made by the companies being disciplined include “a wide range of scientifically unsupported claims about their ability to treat serious health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, and others,” per the release.
One of the penalized companies made statements “including that CBD effectively treats, prevents, or mitigates serious diseases and conditions like artery blockage, cancer, glaucoma, autism, and schizophrenia, among many others. The respondents also falsely represented that some of the efficacy claims were scientifically proven or that the U.S. government has confirmed the health benefits of CBD.” One company’s claims included “cancer-related symptoms, substance abuse, and AIDS”; another, “Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, autoimmune disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.”
The FTC claims a wide variety of CBD-containing products were sold under these false terms, including “oils, a pain-relief cream, coffee, and gummies… CBD-infused shea butter, gummies, lozenges, honey sticks, vape pens… tinctures, gummies, capsules, topical balms, suppositories, bath balms,” and more. At least some of the products claim to contain hemp-derived CBD.
The companies involved are: Bionatral Health, Isle Revive, Epichouse/First Class Herbalist from Utah; CBD Meds, G2 Hemp, Reef Industries, AndHemp, and Cannaterra from California; Easy Butter, Steve’s Goods and HempmeCBD, no location given.
Financial penalties issued ranged from $20,000 to $85,000 per claim. it also binds the companies from repeating the offense- or face a penalty of up to $43,280 per occurrence. The stipulation issued to each company is included below.
“The proposed administrative order settling the FTC’s charges prohibits the respondents from making certain prevention, treatment, or safety claims about dietary supplements, foods, and drugs, unless they have the human clinical testing to substantiate the claims. More broadly, it requires them to have competent and reliable scientific evidence when making any other health-related product claims.”
The FTC has sent warning letters to CBD product manufacturers before, and issued a stop order on July 10 of 2020 against the manufacturer of Thrive, Marc Ching. The FTC penalty “requires Ching to send written notices to customers and retailers of Thrive, clearly explaining that it will not treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of COVID-19. Ching also must tell customers and retailers that CBD-EX, CBD-RX, and CBD-Max will not treat cancer.”
The December 17 FTC order can be viewed HERE.