CBD Products and Health Claims

by Will

Selling Consumer CBD Products?  Don’t Make any Health Claims

While CBD may have become a
“retail star” because consumers believe it can treat common afflictions such as anxiety, sleep troubles, and more, the majority of such suggestions have not been scientifically proven. Indeed, the FDA has been unusually active in warning CBD companies not to make such claims. While the agency seems most concerned about companies making claims that CBD can cure and or treat serious diseases like cancer, Alzheimer, etc, they are still nonplussed by any claim whatsoever. For a titillating review of the FDA’s casual stance on other substances like vitamins and wellness products, listen to The Dream podcast

Like cannabis’s status in federal law, CBD exists in two parallel universes when it comes to regulation. On one hand, people buy CBD because they want to relax, relieve pain, and maybe sleep better. And yet, CBD companies cannot sell or market CBD based on those same understandings because they have not been proven. How CBD became widely known as a cure-all substance is the subject of another blog post. Today, we’ll focus on keeping you safe from the FDA. 

What is a Health Claim?

Before we go deeper, let’s back up. What exactly is a health claim, and why can’t you make even a tame one about CBD reducing anxiety? According to the FDA’s surprisingly easy to use website, a health claim is thus:

Health claims:

  • must contain the elements of a substance and a disease or health-related condition;
  • are limited to claims about disease risk reduction;
  • cannot be claims about the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, or treatment of disease; and are required to be reviewed and evaluated by FDA prior to use.

Essentially, any claim you make about CBD’s effect on the human organism must be pre-approved by the FDA itself. If you, like us, are not buds with the FDA and are not in the process of getting your claims approved, you must not make claims. Now, you know you can’t make claims, so let’s go into why you can’t make claims. 

Like we wrote above, the FDA is most concerned about seriously ill patients using CBD to self-treat for cancer and other grave illnesses. We know that you as a CBD brand would never personally recommend that, but there are snake-oil companies out there that certainly would. And it’s important to note that according to the FDA, CBD is NOT “risk-free” and therefore cannot be messed around with. 

While we recognize that it is very tempting to but a linguistically loose semi-claim on your website or packaging, we advise that you just not risk it. You know those leaflets that read: “CBD may help to…” those are still blasphemy in the eyes of the FDA. 

Apart from keeping the FDA off your back, you shouldn’t make claims about CBD’s power to treat, reduce, ease, or cure anything because it can weaken customer trust. Every body is different and all customers come in with a slew of pre-existing conditions that make them over  and or under sensitive to CBD’s powers. In short, CBD is used for a wide range of different things by a wide range of different people. Keep it simple and keep those claims off of your packaging, marketing, website, socials, etc. As our very own Will Read said to Ad Age, just say “no” to claims. 

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