COVID-19 ISO Insights

Reports: CBD is Being Prematurely Marketed as a COVID-19 Treatment

June 15, 2020

David Geller, CPCU, SCLA

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound found in marijuana and hemp with apparent therapeutic effects. Although research continues to take place investigating the potential health benefits of CBD, almost every claim has yet to be evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

However, this hasn’t appeared to deter some companies from making certain claims regarding their CBD products. For example:

  • In November 2019, the FDA announced that it had sent 15 letters to companies that, in part, were illegally marketing their CBD products as “dietary supplements”, and also as a method to “treat diseases.”
  • An article from Lexology in December 2019 noted that different CBD manufacturers and retailers across the United States were facing a range of lawsuits, including one class action that alleged that some CBD products “were illegally advertised as dietary supplements and/or were marketed using ‘drug claims’ (e.g., that either the product specifically or CBD generally can alleviate certain medical conditions) in contravention with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) prohibition against such advertising and marketing.”

COVID-19 Crisis: More of the Same?

Different reports have emerged throughout the pandemic that some companies involved in the sale of CBD have made claims that the compound could be used to help to defend against COVID-19. Some examples include:

  • According to Lexology, “a California-based supplement company has agreed to a preliminary order barring it from claiming that its vitamin C-based herbal supplement is effective at treating, preventing, or reducing the risk of COVID-19. The order also temporarily bars the company from making claims its CBD-based supplements can treat cancer.”
  • According to The Hill, an attorney general in Oregon ordered a CBD store to “remove signs claiming that its products could boost immunity against COVID-19.”
  • The Hill also reported that a New York company that had been marketing their CBD product as a way to cure COVID-19 was ordered to cease and desist by the NY attorney general.

But What If…

While any claim that CBD can be used to help against COVID-19 in any way is reportedly not supported, this isn’t stopping research from being conducted on any potential benefits that the compound could offer. Benzinga has reported that a team of Israeli researchers is studying how CBD, in tandem with a traditional treatment, performs against COVID-19.

The article notes that results aren’t expected to be produced for at least several more weeks.