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'It's kind of a buyer beware market': FDA warning about false claims of some CBD products

Posted at 6:50 AM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-31 13:57:40-04

You've probably spotted a CBD store somewhere in southeast Wisconsin.

More and more Americans are turning to oils, creams and other products containing CBD in an attempt to find relief from health conditions like anxiety or pain.

But the FDA continues to stress that it hasn't approved any such products, sold over the counter, as having medical or therapeutic benefits.

In a recent press release, the FDA blasted the company Curaleaf for "unsubstantiated claims that (its) products treat cancer, Alzheimer's disease, opioid withdrawal, pain, and pet anxiety."

The FDA sent warning letters about unsubstantiated marketing claims to Curaleaf and other companies.

It said, "unsubstantiated claims associated with CBD products may lead consumers to put off getting important medical care, such as proper diagnosis, treatment and supportive care."

Curaleaf has, in the wake of the FDA warning letter, pulled its products from store shelves.

On the FDA's online, Questions and Answers page about Cannabis and Cannabis-derived products, the agency added, "to date, the FDA has not approved a marketing application for cannabis for the treatment of any disease or condition. FDA has, however, approved one cannabis-derived and three cannabis-related drug products. These approved products are only available with a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider."

At Wisconsin Hemp Scientific in Sussex, co-owner Dennis Mistrioty said that's why none of the products the company produces make any medical claims on their packaging.

He said he and his co-workers track all CBD-related statements from the FDA, and they feel following the rules is relatively simple.

"Right now, we're not comfortable making any claims. We're just making a good product," Mistrioty said.

"We know this is a new industry and a lot of people are curious as to how CBD can help them," he said. "But we just take the responsibility to guide people towards other resources that are out there so they can find that information on their own."

"So it's kind of a buyer beware market right now," Mistrioty said. "I think people are smart enough to do their own research and determine what they should be putting into their bodies."

The FDA said clinical trials are needed before it can approve any medicinal or therapeutic benefits associated with over-the-counter CBD products.

"It's only a matter of time," before such trials take place, said Mistroty.

In the meantime, TODAY'S TMJ4 found some CBD products being sold at stores in our area contained in packaging that claims CBD offers relief for conditions like pain and dry skin.

The FDA did not wish to comment on any specific products or packaging, and referred TODAY'S TMJ4 to its question and answer page.