FDA cracks down on CBD products sold for pain and other health issues

The 2018 Farm Bill caused a massive spike in the CBD market, one that now includes a variety of products containing CBD as an ingredient. Some of these CBD products are sold with marketing that claims vast health benefits, ones unproven and often predatory, including promises of curing cancer, preventing Alzheimer's, and sending chronic diseases into remission. The FDA has had enough and is cracking down on such claims.

Cannabidiol, more commonly called CBD, is a non-psychoactive compound that can be sourced from cannabis ("marijuana") and hemp. Though CBD products could be purchased in some states legally before last year, the market exploded in 2018 with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized products derived from hemp.

In a letter published this week, the FDA revealed that it has sent a warning to Curaleaf Inc. for what it claims was the illegal sale of unapproved CBD-containing products marketed with 'unsubstantiated claims that the products treat cancer, Alzheimer's disease, opioid withdrawal, pain and pet anxiety, among other conditions and diseases.'

Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, MD, said in a statement:

Selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims — such as claims that CBD products can treat serious diseases and conditions — can put patients and consumers at risk by leading them to put off important medical care. Additionally, there are many unanswered questions about the science, safety, effectiveness and quality of unapproved products containing CBD.

The FDA has spent months working on the development of ways that CBD products can be legally marketed; this process involved a public hearing held in May and the ongoing solicitation of scientific data and info on aspects of these products, including safety and product quality.

As for the Curaleaf matter, the letter it received from the FDA can be read on the agency's website here. Curaleaf has been given 15 working days to respond with its plan to correct the alleged violations in order to avoid 'legal actions.'