FTC Issues 3 Warning Letters to CBD Companies: September 10, 2019
Friday, September 13, 2019
by: Meredith Petillo

Section: Articles

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Dear ICMAD Members and Industry Friends,
CBD inclusion in cosmetic products is arguably one of the most frequently discussed topics in our industry at the moment.  The conversation about CBD in cosmetics is ongoing in mainstream media, trade publications, press releases for product launches, etc. 
Considering that this topic is so prevalent and many companies have either already launched CBD containing cosmetic products or are seriously considering getting new product launches, we wanted to apprise our membership of recent regulatory activity surrounding product and ingredient claims.

The FTC has announced today that warning letters have been sent out to 3 businesses selling oils, creams, capsules and gummies that contain CBD.  Earlier this year, FDA has sent warning letters to companies making drug claims on CBD products, some of which were cosmetic products (lotions). 

In light of these warning letters, which cover some cosmetic product categories, it is an appropriate time to remember that all claims made on cosmetic products in the US must be substantiated prior to use in the marketplace and must not cross the line into drug territory.  By making therapeutic claims on CBD containing cosmetics, products are being viewed as unapproved new drugs by FDA. 
These warning letters are most likely not going to be the last of the enforcement activity we will see in the area of CBD containing cosmetics.
Making CBD health claims? Careful Before Disseminating
By: Lesley Fair | Sep 10, 2019 11:08AM
Companies and consumers are talking in a different way these days about cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant. But even as the conversation changes, one thing remains the same. Before making claims about purported health effects of CBD products, advertisers need sound science to support their statements. That’s the message of 
warning letters FTC staff just sent to three businesses that sell oils, creams, capsules, and gummies that contain CBD.
The companies sell different products, but a common theme in their ads is the emphasis on CBD as a treatment or cure for serious diseases. Some of the ads even specified medical conditions like Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, heart disease, and stroke.
The gist of the warning letters is that the companies should review their product promises – including representations conveyed through testimonials – to ensure they’re backed up by competent and reliable scientific evidence. Like any other advertiser, CBD sellers who make unsubstantiated health claims could be subject to law enforcement. The letters instruct the companies to contact FTC staff within 15 days with the specifics of how they’re addressing the agency’s concerns.
If your company or clients are following developments in the CBD marketplace, the letters shouldn’t come as a surprise. In March 2019, the 
FTC and FDA sent similar letters to other CBD sellers. The takeaway tip for anyone in the industry is that established FTC substantiation standards apply when advertisers make health-related representations for CBD products.