The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a consumer update regarding products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, including cannabidiol (CBD).  Although aimed at consumers, the update contains important reminders for businesses marketing or selling these types of products.  The FDA’s website also includes lengthy Q&A guidance about its regulation of them.  A prior blog post details the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) separate efforts to warn companies that advertise their CBD products as having health benefits without proper substantiation.

The FDA’s update starts with five bullet point reminders, repeated below:

  • The FDA has approved only one CBD product, a prescription drug product to treat two rare, severe forms of epilepsy.
  • It is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement.
  • The FDA has seen only limited data about CBD safety and these data point to real risks that need to be considered before taking CBD for any reason.
  • Some CBD products are being marketed with unproven medical claims and are of unknown quality.
  • The FDA will continue to update the public as it learns more about CBD.

Like the FTC, the FDA is concerned about companies marketing CBD products illegally or without substantiation.  But the FDA is also concerned about safety risks for consumers and believes that misleading, unproven, or false claims may lead consumers to avoid medical care.  The FDA states that is continuing to evaluate the regulatory frameworks applicable to cannabis and cannabis-derived products, including the lawful marketing of these products.

All companies, including those that sell products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, should make sure they comply with both the FTC’s and the FDA’s requirements and guidelines.