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Cannabis Companies Exploit Academic Partnerships for Marketing

A new study found that cannabis companies regularly use academic partnerships and early-stage research to imply that their products are safe and effective without evidence to support their claims. This is a dangerous marketing practice that puts the consumer at risk.

Consumers often assume that when the products they purchase at their local grocery or convenience store make a particular health claim, they have the support of the FDA, but this study proves that there are thousands of companies claiming their products can cure all sorts of ailments without any such evidence or support.

Partnerships between cannabis companies and researchers are not inherently bad – and early-stage research often conducted by universities is critical to inform fellow researchers and scientists about cannabis’ therapeutic potential. However, the study found that cannabis companies are using very early ‘data’ or simply the announcement of a partnership or study as a marketing ploy to tout “science-backed” evidence for health claims about their products.

In short, the findings show that these companies are misrepresenting their work with academia to mislead the public for commercial advantages rather than to ad­vance the science behind cannabis as a potential therapeutic ingredient. These companies were found to be making almost a thousand false medical claims – marketing products as treatments or cures for ailments including mental health issues, COVID-19, cancers, and more, without investing the time and money needed to complete the kind of thorough research required for FDA-approved products.

These cannabis companies are just “talking the talk” of performing research and not “walking the walk” to actually prove the safety or efficacy of their products through the globally recognized gold standard FDA approval process.

Consumers deserve better.

To read the full study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, click here.

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