FDA & FTC Begin Crackdown Over CBD Marketing Claims

The FTC and FDA have launched “Operation CBDeceit,” sending fines and warning letters to CBD companies who allegedly made false or misleading health claims about their products.

Full story after the jump.

The Federal Trade Commission and Food and Drug Administration are cracking down on CBD companies making false or misleading health claims about their products in an action they are calling Operation CBDeceit.

The FTC announced the crackdown on December 17 saying the agency had reached a settlement with six companies selling CBD products. Under the terms of the agreements, the companies must stop making unsupported health claims about the products and some will pay monetary judgments to the FTC. On December 22, the FDA issued five warning letters to companies selling CBD products over the companies’ health claims regarding the cannabinoid.

The largest fine, $85,000, issued by the FTC under the crackdown was to California-based Reef Industries, Cannatera, and AndHemp over claims on the companies’ websites and Twitter accounts that CBD has been scientifically proven to prevent, cure, mitigate, or treat diseases and serious health conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, autoimmune disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

The FTC fined Steve’s Distributing (aka Steve’s Goods) $75,000 for making health claims for both CBD and CBG, including that the cannabinoids have antibacterial properties, prevent, or reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other diseases.

Two Utah-based companies – Bionatrol Health and Isle Revive – were targeted by the FTC over claims that CBD “is safe for all users,” works better than opioid-based medications, treats age-related cognitive decline and pain, and that some customers who ordered one bottle were charged for and sent five bottles. The respondents were ordered to pay $20,000 to the agency and notify customers of the agency’s order, the FTC said.

Another Utah company, Epichouse which operated under several names including First Class Herbalist CBD, was targeted by the FTC for claiming CBD could prevent a wide range of serious conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, among other assertions. Epichouse must pay $30,000 under the agreement.

The FTC also targeted California-based CBD Meds and G2 Hemp over health claims made in advertisements on both companies’ websites and in YouTube ad campaigns. The company was not issued a fine, but they must notify customers of the FTC order.

The FTC complaint against EasyButter, or HempmeCBD, alleges the firm claimed CBD could treat or cure ailments like cancer-related symptoms, substance abuse, and AIDS. The company was ordered to pay $36,254 and notify customers of the order.

The FDA’s letters – to Bee Delightful, G&L Wellness, New Leaf Pharmaceuticals, Next L3vel Services Group (d/b/a This Stuff is Good for You), and Wellness Biosciences – do not levy fines but rather direct the companies to address the violations outlined in the letter.

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