Cannabis companies say their CBD products treat COVID, but FDA says they are wrong

Cannabis companies say their CBD products treat COVID, but FDA says they are wrong


Some cannabis companies are falsely saying their CBD products can treat, cure or prevent COVID-19, the FDA says. It sent out warning letters with the FTC.


Several companies are falsely advertising their cannabis CBD products with claims they can cure, treat or prevent COVID-19, the Food and Drug Administration is warning.

A total seven companies are accused of “using research studies to claim or imply misleadingly that their CBD products” can help when it comes to COVID-19, according to the FDA.

“The FDA has not approved or authorized any drug containing CBD for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.”

The agency issued joint warning letters with the Federal Trade Commission to each of the businesses. They include Cureganics, Heaven’s Organics LLC, Functional Remedies LLC, Greenway Herbal Products LLC, CBD Social, UPSY LLC, and Nature’s Highway.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of over 400 ingredients which make up the marijuana plant and is sometimes legally sold in stores. It can’t get a person high — unlike the more familiar psychoactive cannabis compound THC, which can create feelings of euphoria when smoked or ingested.

The FDA warnings come amid a growing body of studies analyzing how certain cannabis compounds may work against the virus. One such study published in January suggests a high purity dose of CBD could block a COVID-19 infection, McClatchy News reported.

CBD Social cited the study on their website to “misleadingly represent” their products containing the compound were “safe and/or effective for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19,” according to the FDA’s warning letter sent to the company on March 28.

“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.

Additionally, the FTC issued a “cease and desist demand” within the letter, writing 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 same FTC demand was included in each of the letters.

Another company, Nature’s Highway, is accused of sharing an online graphic titled “CBD + COVID-19 BREATHE EASIER?” and writing “several recent studies suggest that CBD, with other phytochemicals found in hemp, might open up your lungs, help fight inflammation there, and kick your immune system into higher gear.”

The FDA is calling for the companies to revise their websites and product labels “to ensure” they’re not falsely representing 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 agency added.

CBD can be smoked, vaped, ingested or applied topically, according to Healthline.

Smoking anything, including marijuana, is a risk factor for COVID-19 since it affects the lungs, WebMD explains.

This story was originally published March 30, 2022 6:02 PM.

Julia Marnin is a McClatchy National Real-Time reporter covering the southeast and northeast while based in New York. She’s an alumna of The College of New Jersey and joined McClatchy in 2021. Previously, she’s written for Newsweek, Modern Luxury, Gannett and more.

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