You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not make deceptive medical claims about your CBD products. Santa isn't the only one with a naughty list this year. The feds have one of their own and they are doing more than just leaving coal in stockings.
The FTC announced a massive crackdown on claims used by some CBD companies on December 17. They described the crackdown as Operation CBDeceit, stating it "is part of the Commission’s ongoing effort to protect consumers from false, deceptive, and misleading health claims made in advertisements on websites and through social media companies such as Twitter."
While they focused on only a handful of companies for the time being, smaller companies should be aware of the situation. Besides the public verbal flogging, the companies listed in the press release will have to pay out a monetary settlement and cease all deceptive claims.
If you have a website with CBD products, taking a double look at the copy on your site may be a good idea. Doing an early spring cleaning can help avoid falling prey to the FTC.
But what should you avoid when writing copy for your online CBD store or reading material for your marketing campaign? Here is a list to help you get started:
"Safe for all users"
Hemp is a herb. And just like any herb, they can affect everyone differently. People with various health conditions or on medication should always consult with their doctor before adding CBD (or any cannabinoid) to their routine.
Any medical claim
Stay away from "Treats", "Cures", or "Medically Proven". At the time of this writing, there is still more in-depth research needed before we can confidently make medical claims. Current research may point to potential treatments, but for now, it is advised to avoid those buzzwords.
Don't fake statistics/research
This should be a no brainer. It's 2020 (almost 2021), a toddler can fact check. Cite your sources and provide valuable information that will help educate your customers. No one wants to get caught in a lie, especially when it's the FTC doing the fact-checking.
The hemp industry is still in its wild west stage, and while cannabis laws are beginning to make research more available, there is still so much more we need to learn about this plant before making medical claims. Cannabis education is highly valued by consumers, and implementing regulations can help keep companies honest and deter the spreading of false information. The war on drugs spread false information about cannabis for years. The last thing we need is shady companies doing the same thing. Cannabis research and education is important and should be a goal we all work towards in 2021.