The Food and Drug Administration has sent warning letters to companies claiming that their CBD products can cure COVID-19.
Following the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018, hemp-derived CBD products hit the shelves faster than you can say cannabidiol. CBD suddenly appeared as an additive in coffees and cocktails and quickly became a star in the wellness spaces and among nutraceutical brands. Not only that but oftentimes when CBD products were included into a menu, the cannabinoid compound was also being marketed as a cure for everything from anxiety to Alzheimer's.
The global CBD industry is estimated to grow beyond USD $4bn by 2026, and the hype surrounding the compound has already attracted some enormous companies like the UFC, Constellation Brands, and even Coca Cola.
Though the newness of the CBD industry and the federal illegality of cannabis historically had made studies on the compound very difficult, which meant that many of the amazing claims about the compound were effectively unfounded, based on little more than anecdotal evidence.
The grandiose and generally false claims made about CBD drew the attention of the FDA, who found themselves frequently finding such statements in the cannabis industry, to the point of having to send warning letters out to over 15 companies who they deemed were breaching federal law with the claims they made.
At the time, the FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb stated:
"The FDA continues to be concerned about the proliferation of egregious medical claims being made about products asserting to contain CBD that haven't been approved by the FDA, such as the products and companies receiving warning letters today."
The FDA and the Department of Health even went as far as banning CBD edibles from being sold in New York.
Now, it looks as though the CBD industry is once again stepping into the limelight for all the wrong reasons, this time, as an alleged cure for COVID-19. The most high-profile case of a company touting CBDs anti-coronavirus effects is Neuro XPF, a CBD brand owned by Former NFL player Kyle Turley. The controversy arose after Turley released this comment on social media:
"Crush Corona. While scientists around the world are working 24/7 to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, it will take many more months of testing before it's approved and available. However, there's something you can do right now to strengthen your immune system. Take CBD."
"CBD can help keep your immune system at the stop of its game. We want everyone to take CBD and take advantage of its potential to help prepare your body to fight a coronavirus infection. So, we're making all of our products more affordable."
In response to Turley's claims, among others who were making similar claims such as CanaBD, CBD Online Store, Indigo Naturals, and Native Roots Hemp, the FDA has had to send out warning letters to ensure these companies do not continue to falsely market their CBD products as a cure for COVID-19.
Each company listed has 15 days to address the claims and ensure their products comply with FDA regulations.
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