US authorities stamp down on false claims of anti-coronavirus properties

Bogus claims that products containing CBD may have any beneficial effects in treating or warding off coronavirus risk incurring the wrath of authorities in the US – and could ultimately damage CBD’s reputation.

There is no evidence that CBD can help in any way with COVID-19 and CBD sellers that even mention coronavirus have faced enforcement action.

“CBD has no testing to my knowledge for coronavirus in humans,” Matthew Mintz, a physician and specialist in CBD, told CBD-Intel.

US federal and state governments are exercising wide-ranging powers in the face of the coronavirus pandemic – and that includes rapid response and enforcement against anyone looking to cash in on fears sparked by the global emergency.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on 9th March that it had sent warning letters to seven companies it said were selling “fraudulent COVID-19 products” – essential oils, teas, colloidal silver and other herbal remedies that merchants claimed could help fight the virus.


No FDA-approved products to treat coronavirus


FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn warned against unscrupulous operators marketing unlawful products, and affirmed: “There are no FDA-approved products to treat, prevent or cure coronavirus.”

On 18th March, the Oregon attorney general’s office directed a CBD store in Portland to take down an advertisement with the word “COVID” on it as a potential violation of the state’s Unlawful Trade Practices Act.

An Idaho herbalist who mostly sells CBD products was warned by the FDA to drop a listing of a herbalist’s ”coronavirus protocol” – one of the products targeted by the above-mentioned warning letters – even though it wasn’t tagged to a specific advertisement for CBD products.

Kali-Extracts issued a press statement in late January claiming its planned new CBD formulation RespRx was being evaluated “as a treatment for coronavirus symptoms”, along with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The RespRX website still mentions COPD, but any reference to coronavirus has been scrubbed from the site. Kali-Extracts did not respond to a request for comment.


The truth about hand sanitisers


One hemp industry specialist was quoted online as saying CBD could help fight COVID-19, but when contacted by CBD-Intel claimed that “what I said was horribly twisted by the journalist,” and declined to comment further.

Some blogposts are still online discussing CBD’s more general reputed benefits as they relate to anxiety, pain, and immune system support. But these posts are littered with disclaimers that clearly state there is no science supporting taking CBD to help in any way address the risks posed by COVID-19.

Several companies appear to have elected to go down the route of selling hand sanitisers.

Some of those reviewed by CBD-Intel have enough alcohol to meet US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for minimum alcohol content meaning they should be as effective as any other alcohol gel. Research by CBD-Intel indicates that 19 brands in the UK and US are now selling CBD/CBG hand gels.

However, there is no evidence that the addition of CBD or CBG (cannabigerol) will make sanitisers any more effective against COVID-19.


What This Means: When historic events happen, get-rich-quick schemes are sure to follow. In this instance, victims of some of these scams could include the CBD industry.

If dishonest operators take advantage of the lack of public knowledge of the true effects of CBD and peddle it as a miracle cure, that reflects very badly on legitimate merchants.

CBD businesses and users may be well advised actively to notify their customers and networks that, while CBD might be good to help deal with aches, pains or stress while self-quarantining, it is not going to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Sam Newhouse CBD-Intel contributing writer

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Benefits of subscription plans:

  • Stay informed of any legal and market change in the sector that impacts your organization
  • Maximise resources by getting market and legal data analysis daily in one place
  • Make smart decisions by understanding how the regulatory and market landscape evolves
  • Anticipate risks in your decisions by monitoring regulatory changes that impact your organization