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National Consumer Protection Week: Beware of CBD Products

This National Consumer Protection Week, National Consumers League Director of Health Policy, Jeanette Contreras, shares an important reminder alerting consumers about the potential dangers of CBD – or cannabidiol.

It’s a buyer beware marketplace for the unsuspecting public where retail CBD products are gaining popularity and available nearly everywhere – in grocery stores, at the pharmacy counter, gas stations, mall kiosks, and on thousands of websites. Manufacturers often claim that these products are a “cure-all” for a variety of illnesses, and many have celebrity and influencer endorsements. But they do not have endorsement from the one body that matters most when it comes to health and safety: the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Unfortunately, because these products are so widely available and endorsed by public figures, most consumers likely don’t realize that these products are not scientifically tested or regulated, and the vast majority of wellness claims are unsubstantiated. What’s even more worrisome is that CBD can actually cause serious harm including liver toxicity. Untested CBD products can also cause severe side effects if mixed with other substances or medications. Consumers have been hospitalized. Some have lost their jobs and even custody of their children.

FDA – the gold standard in consumer protection – has stated that it cannot confirm that CBD is generally recognized as safe for use in food or beverages (GRAS). FDA last year tested a variety of CBD products and found that more than half of its sampling were mislabeled and contained 20 percent more CBD vs. what was advertised. Nearly half contained THC – Tetrahydrocannabinol -- the psychoactive component of marijuana. Needless to say, this is likely not what consumers expect when they are purchasing a product under the impression that it will help with their headaches, anxiety, or other stated claims.

This National Consumer Protection Week, remember: “The CBD market is a wild west, and it’s not worth risking public health.” Watch National Consumers League Director of Health Policy, Jeanette Contreras’ public service announcement here:

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