The proliferation of CBD products in the “wellness” industry seemed to happen overnight. CBD, a byproduct of marijuana and hemp that does not get users “high”, has been marketing as a cure-all to everything from arthritis to anxiety. Some sellers even claim that CBD can help fight cancer by lowering inflammation levels. Now, the FDA is stepping in and warning users and manufacturers that these products not only may be modern-day “snake oil” but also can cause real damage to some people’s health.
What is CBD, Exactly?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a chemical that’s found in all types of cannabis, even the male plant which is not smoked or used as a drug. Instead of getting a user high, CBD is supposed to have a host of health benefits and has been proven to help with rare seizure disorders in children. However, that’s where the clinical testing has stopped. CBD is being marketed and sold by hundreds of companies, yet it hasn’t been undergone a clinical trial for most other health conditions advocates say it helps.
Nevertheless, it’s available for purchase practically everywhere, from Amazon to your local drug store. The upscale beauty brand even sells CBD in their skin products. There are even products for pets, although they haven’t been tested in any clinical trials, either. There are tinctures, pills, smokables, candy bars, lotions, mints and more.
CBD has been viewed as relatively harmless by the mainstream media, but the FDA has begun investigating claims made by manufacturers, and they’re ready to shut down and misuse that they can.
FDA Calls Out Dangers of CBD
CBD has never been officially declared legal, which is interesting considering how many companies have decided to make products for the market. While the FDA has only started investigating products, they say that most of them, as well as their uses, are illegal.
The FDA sent letters to at least fifteen companies last Monday telling them to stop making health claims and manufacturing their products. The administration says that the companies broke federal law by marketing the unproven health benefits of their CBD products. They did not get approval to mix the drug into food and are deceptive when they sell CBD as a dietary supplement. What’s more, these companies may have placed their customers at unknown risk, the FDA said.
“We remain concerned that some people wrongly think that the myriad of CBD products on the market, many of which are illegal, have been evaluated by the FDA and determined to be safe, or that trying CBD ‘can’t hurt,'” Dr. Amy Abernethy, the FDA’s principal deputy commissioner, told reporters. “In reality, the FDA does not have enough data to say whether CBD can be “generally recognized as safe.”
They point to data showing that many CBD products being sold have contaminants such as fungus or pesticides, and the amount of CBD in each product makes them highly unreliable. Some studies have even shown that CBD might cause harm to the liver or interact with drugs in a dangerous way, releasing far more into the bloodstream than users realize.