MILWAUKEE — The Food and Drug Administration recently reviewed websites and social media posts of CBD companies across the country and found some were making claims that CBD can either lessen the symptoms of COVID, prevent, treat or even cure it.
So far this year, the FDA has sent seven CBD companies warning letters that state, "failure to adequately correct any violations may result in legal action including, without limitation, seizure, injunction, or civil money penalties."
In some cases, that could mean up to $46,517 per violation.
Rachel Cartwright with Landright's Botanical Healing Center in Oak Creek makes and sells CBD products. She says companies marketing CBD as a way to treat or cure COVID hurt small business owners like herself.
"It just makes us kind of look bad. It makes us less credible," she said. "First and foremost it's illegal. Second of all there really aren't enough peer-reviewed studies that actually prove these things."
Cartwright explains the CBD industry is already highly regulated. The FDA hasn't approved any drug products that contain CBD except for one prescription medication used for seizures called Epidiolex.
So, that means there are a lot of CBD claims you can't make.
"I would not post a billboard saying COVID cured by CBD. Never would I outright make a statement that this can do this," she said.
The CBD retailers that received warning letters from the FDA have 48 hours to respond describing the steps they took to address the violations.
Here is the full statement the FDA provided to the I-Team:
In 2020, the FDA sent 13 warning letters' regarding CBD and COVID "treatment" scams. None were issued in 2021, and so far, seven have been issued in 2022.
This is an open compliance matter, which means that the FDA will not state its intentions regarding civil money penalties or compliance actions. But as a general matter, warning letter recipients are responsible for ensuring that the products they sell are in compliance with the FD&C Act and the FDA's implementing regulations. Failure to adequately correct any violations may result in legal action including, without limitation, seizure, injunction, or civil money penalties.
The FDA advises consumers to be cautious of websites and stores selling products that claim to prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19.
Here are some tips to identify false or misleading claims.
Be suspicious of products that claim to treat a wide range of diseases.
Personal testimonials are no substitute for scientific evidence.
Few diseases or conditions can be treated quickly, so be suspicious of any therapy claimed as a "quick fix."
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
"Miracle cures," which claim scientific breakthroughs or contain secret ingredients, are likely a hoax.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines,
and speak to your medical provider. Your health care provider will advise you about whether you should get tested and the process for being tested in your area.
If you have a question about a treatment or test found online, talk to your health care provider or doctor. If you have a question about a medication, call your pharmacist or the FDA. The FDA's Division of Drug Information (DDI) will answer almost any drug question.
DDI pharmacists are available by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, and by phone, 1-855-543-DRUG (3784) and 301-796-3400.
The sale of fraudulent COVID-19 products is a threat to the public health. The best way to prevent COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. If you are concerned about COVID-19, talk to your health care provider and follow the advice of the FDA's federal partners about how to prevent the spread of this illness.
For more information on health fraud and to report products [fda.gov], visit this FDA page.
For more information on CBD, please visit: What You Need to Know (And What We're Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD.