FTC Cracks Down on Deceptively Marketed CBD Products in SoCal


LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Federal Trade Commission announced the first law enforcement crackdown on deceptive claims in the growing market for cannabidiol products this week, naming companies in Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange counties.

The FTC is taking action against the sellers of CBD-containing products for allegedly making a wide range of scientifically unsupported claims about their ability to treat serious health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, hypertension, Alzheimer's disease and others.

The FTC is requiring the companies, and individuals behind them, to stop making such unsupported health claims immediately, and several will pay monetary judgments to the agency. The orders settling the FTC's complaints also bar the respondents from similar deceptive advertising in the future, and

require that they have scientific evidence to support any health claims they make for CBD and other products.

The settlements ``send a clear message to the burgeoning CBD industry: Don't make spurious health claims that are unsupported by medical science,'' said Andrew Smith, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. ``Otherwise, don't be surprised if you hear from the FTC.''

According to the FTC's complaint against CBD Meds Inc., G2 Hemp Inc. and Lawrence Moses Jr., individually and as an officer of the corporate entities, the Winchester companies advertised CBD oil on their website and on YouTube.

The FTC contends that the firms made a number of false or unsubstantiated claims in their ads, including that CBD effectively treats, prevents or mitigates serious diseases and conditions like artery blockage, cancer, glaucoma, autism and schizophrenia, among many others. The respondents also falsely represented that some of the efficacy claims were scientifically proven or that the U.S. government has confirmed the health benefits of CBD, the FTC alleged.

The proposed administrative order settling the FTC's charges prohibits the respondents from making certain prevention, treatment or safety claims about dietary supplements, foods and drugs, unless they have the human clinical testing to substantiate the claims. More broadly, it requires them to have competent and reliable scientific evidence when making any other health-related product claims. Finally, the order requires the respondents to notify consumers of the commission's order.

According to the FTC's complaint against Costa Mesa-based Reef Industries Inc., Ontario-based Cannatera Inc., AndHemp Ltd. -- which has offices in Ontario -- and the companies' three principals -- Andrew M. Bouchie, John R. Cavanaugh and Shaun Paquette -- the respondents have sold a variety of CBD products directly to consumers on their website and Twitter accounts since at least January 2019 and misrepresented the health benefits of CBD.

The FTC alleges that the respondents made unsubstantiated claims that CBD can prevent, cure, mitigate or treat diseases and serious health conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, autoimmune disease and irritable bowel syndrome. The complaint also alleges the respondents falsely claimed that studies or scientific research prove that CBD is effective at treating, curing or mitigating these diseases and conditions.

The proposed administrative order settling the FTC's charges prohibits the respondents from making certain prevention, treatment or safety claims about dietary supplements, foods and drugs, unless they have the human clinical testing to substantiate the claims. More broadly, it requires them to have competent and reliable scientific evidence when making any other health-related product claims. Finally, it requires them to pay the FTC $85,000 and notify consumers of the commission's order.

Photo: Getty Images


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