Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Food and Drug Administration has sent numerous warning letters to companies for misrepresenting their CBD products as treatment options for patients.
According to an analysis published in the Journal of Cannabis Research, cannabidiol products were among those most frequently cited by the FDA for violations.
Authors reported: “We reviewed letters over 18 months (March 6, 2020, to August 30, 2021) sent to violating companies by the FDA’s CDER [Center for Drug Evaluation and Research]. We included letters of violations with the subject labeled as ‘Unapproved and Misbranded Products related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).’ … Cannabidiol-related substances led the spectrum of products with unsubstantiated claims to treat COVID-19 infection. … CBD products contained false promotion and misleading claims that may have consequences to public health.”
NORML has repeatedly cautioned consumers to beware of online misinformation surrounding the commercial marketing of either whole-plant cannabis or CBD as potential remedies for the COVID-19 virus. While some preclinical data has suggested that cannabinoids may potentially play a role in mitigating COVID infections, there nonetheless remains an absence of clinical data supportive of CBD as an effective antiviral agent. Most recently, clinical trial data published from a team of Brazilian researchers reported that the daily administration of CBD oil extracts does not aid COVID patients in their recovery from the illness.
Hemp-derived CBD products are not currently regulated by the FDA and a spokesperson for the agency recently affirmed that the agency is not anticipated to provide any guidance for the either production or marketing of these products any time soon. It is the current position of the agency that companies which market CBD-infused products as either food products or as dietary supplements are violating the Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics Act.
The full text of the study, “Unsubstantiated health claims for COVID-19 infections are led by cannabidiol,” appears in the Journal of Cannabis Research.