The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a major crackdown on deceptive claims in the growing market for cannabidiol (CBD) products. The FTC took action against six sellers of CBD products for allegedly making a wide variety of scientifically unsubstantiated claims about their ability to treat serious health conditions. Claims included the ability to treat cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and Alzheimer's disease. In the case of Reef Industries, the firm was prohibited from making health claims about its dietary supplements, foods, and drugs unless they have human clinical trials to support the claims. The firm is additionally required to have reliable scientific evidence when making any health-related product claims. The FTC also requires the firm to notify consumers of the FTC's order.
Another of the investigated firms, Bionatrol Health, claimed its CBD was safe for all users, treats pain better than prescription medications such as OxyContin, and prevents age-related cognitive decline and chronic pain. Other firms claimed their CBD was "medically proven" to treat many health conditions. CBD Meds made claims that its CBD effectively treats, prevents, or mitigates serious diseases such as artery blockage, cancer, glaucoma, autism, and schizophrenia. This firm also said the claims were scientifically proven and confirmed by the U.S. government.
The FTC has a track record of requiring human clinical testing to substantiate any health claims for dietary supplements, foods, and drugs. All of the firms ordered to stop false advertising were fined tens of thousands of dollars and barred from any similar advertising in the future. The firms in question sold oils, balms, gummies, coffee, and related products. The FTC Act prohibits unfair or deceptive advertising that does not accurately depict product efficacy and misleads or deceives consumers. It appears clear that the claims being made by these CBD companies were likely to mislead reasonable consumers who place trust in a company's claims.