The FDA issued a letter warning seven CBD companies to refrain from falsely claiming their products can help treat or prevent coronavirus infections.
It has been over two years since COVID-19 turned the world upside down and we still have no viable treatment for the often devastating viral disease. While there are vaccines and other treatments aimed at helping people avoid or diminish the effects, there are still very few reliable treatment options.
Nevertheless, this has not stopped some CBD companies eager to sell their products to falsely market them as a cure, treatment or prevention for COVID-19.
As such, the FDA accused seven CBD companies of “using research studies to claim or imply misleadingly that their CBD products” can alleviate or treat the coronavirus.
“The FDA has not approved or authorized any drug containing CBD for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19,” the agency previously noted.
Joint warning letters were issued with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to these businesses: Cureganics, Heaven’s Organics LLC, Functional Remedies LLC, Greenway Herbal Products LLC, CBD Social, UPSY LLC, and Nature’s Highway.
“We request that you take immediate action to cease the sale of any unapproved and unauthorized products for the mitigation, prevention, treatment, diagnosis, or cure of COVID-19,” the FDA wrote.
What Does The Research Say?
The FDA warning letters come at a time when more and more studies are examining the way certain cannabis compounds can help fight the infection.
One such study was released in January. According to the report, “Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants,” published in the Journal of Natural Products posited that certain cannabinoid acids from hemp (Cannabis sativa) can prevent infections from the virus that causes COVID-19 by obstructing its entry into cells.
Some CBD Companies Are Clear
The study was led by Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State's Global Hemp Innovation Center, College of Pharmacy and the Linus Pauling Institute, who discovered that two cannabinoid acids in hemp - cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid (also known as CBDA) have the ability to bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein – the virus that causes COVID-19. By binding to the spike protein, these acids can block the virus from reaching into cells and causing infection, concluded the research.
Several months after the discovery Dr. van Breeman launched his own firm, The van Breemen Company, which seeks to deliver plant-based and natural wellness products to the consumer marketplace. Shortly afterwards, the company launched its first hemp-based wellness product, the Original Wellness Formula. This is a proprietary blend that stems directly from Dr. van Breemen's research.
Unlike the FDA-cautioned companies above, The van Breeman Company made it clear that the product is not FDA-approved for the treatment of COVID-19, though van Breeman intends to submit elements of this formula in the near future for approval.
Cease And Desist Demand
At the end of the letter, the FTC issued a “cease and desist demand,” stressing that “it is unlawful ... to advertise that a product can prevent, treat, or cure human disease unless you possess competent and reliable scientific evidence.”
The FDA asked the CBD companies to review their websites and product labels to make sure they are not falsely advertising them as “safe and effective for a COVID-19-related use.”
“Failure to adequately correct any violations may result in legal action, including, without limitation, seizure and injunction,” the FDA concluded.
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