CBD and COVID Claims, What You Can’t Say

It was big news when studies started to see a connection between hemp and COVID. Earlier this year, a study showed a link between cannabis and coronavirus prevention. From there, the idea that cannabinoids could in some way help has taken off. Tests must still get run, and no hard data is yet out there that’s going to lead your doctor to prescribe CBD or medical marijuana to keep COVID at bay. But, it could change one day.

This news though has gotten people excited. And, excited people can sometimes say things they shouldn’t.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has always been ready to slap hemp industry manufacturers on the wrist for making unsubstantiated claims about products. The truth is, not enough information exists yet to count as proof. The hot topic that COVID is though has led to people rushing to make hemp-to-COVID claims.

Don’t do this. It’s going to get you into trouble.

Claims you can’t make (yet) about cannabis and COVID any why

No matter what initial studies are saying, there’s no approved statement you can put on cannabis products about its link to COVID.

  • You cannot say that CBD products will cure, treat, prevent, or reduce COVID symptoms.
  • You can’t craft any messaging that misleadingly represents your product as a remedy to coronavirus.
  • Also, you can’t say it’s a ‘safe and effective’ treatment.
  • You can’t say it prevents anyone from getting sick.

The issue here is this messaging falsely represents a hemp-derived product. Consumers will see the flashy headline on a site, or read a product label, and think they can use this product in lieu of approved treatment for COVID-19. They may not get vaccinated since they’re taking CBD capsules instead.

Even though studies are producing positive results, they’re not making the same definitive claims as these. Studies will say that, within this specific context, this outcome happened. They then make sure you know that further testing is necessary to prove this outcome will happen all/most of the time.

Something gets lost in translation between the research and a hemp product. Language shifts so that suddenly big, declarative statements are being made about an idea still under development. Instead of saying, some studies have documented a link between cannabis and COVID-19, you’re saying, there is a connection between cannabis and COVID-19. Two very different assumptions come from this shift in language choice. That’s what the FDA is trying to curb.

What happens when you make a claim

The FDA is watching. If you’re not careful, and make a claim about your cannabis products that’s not yet substantiated, first comes the warning letter. Within that warning letter, you’re usually given a specific period, like 48 hours, to remove the claim from all product labels, websites, and social media posts. It has to be like the claim never existed.

Failing to comply with the directives in the warning letter can lead to product seizures, fines, and even criminal charges.

When are these claims okay?

You sadly will have to wait to talk about cannabis and COVID.

Studies will continue to publish about cannabis and COVID. But, until the FDA speaks, you have to keep these claims off your products and your website. Once the FDA approves or authorizes a cannabinoid for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19, the game could change, but we’re not there yet.

Protecting your products by saying it right

No matter what claim you want to make on the label of your hemp products you must handle the language with care. When it comes to products containing a cannabinoid, there’s so much you want to say that’s not yet approved by the FDA. You’re getting information from user experiences, seeing commonalities that lead you to want to say that XX cannabinoid does YY, but that’s not enough. There’s a process to get from what we observe to what is ‘true.’
To ensure your marketing content, labeling, and more are FDA-compliant, lean on the advice of the experts at Arbor Vita8. As experienced processors with our own online store and white labeling services, we understand what you can and can’t say. Stay out of trouble with the FDA, and avoid the expense of having to relabel all your products. Contact us today to learn more.


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