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CBD’s alignment with health and wellness trends continues to drive consumer demand. However, manufacturers and sellers that market CBD products using prohibited health claims—or that sell CBD dietary supplements and pet treats—face regulatory scrutiny. Ensure merchant compliance by familiarizing yourself with the most common CBD-related questions below:


Q: What types of CBD health claims are problematic?

A: With extremely limited exceptions, only FDA-authorized drugs may be marketed with claims to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent disease. Problematic “disease claims” can be explicit (e.g., “treats cancer” or “prevents Alzheimer’s”) or implied (e.g., “relieves bronchospasm”). If a CBD product (that has not been approved as a drug by the FDA) is marketed with disease claims, it will be considered an “unapproved drug” by the FDA and will be subject to regulatory scrutiny.


Q: What CBD health claims have been flagged as problematic by the FDA?

A: The FDA has issued warning letters to several CBD manufacturers. It has found many claims to be problematic, including claims to treat:

  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Opioid withdrawal
  • Cancer


Q: What types of CBD products may be legally sold in the US?

A: Under federal law, hemp-derived CBD may be legally sold as a topical product (please note: some states prohibit CBD sales entirely or require CBD retailers to be licensed). Ingestible CBD products (other than FDA-approved drugs) are currently considered illegal in the US. CBD is also prohibited in animal foods, including pet treats.


Q: How fast is the CBD market growing?

A: Brightfield Group—analysts specializing in the CBD and cannabis industries—project that CBD could reach USD $24 billion in sales by 2023. Global CBD sales reached USD $1.5 billion in 2018.


Q: Where are future CBD transactions expected to take place?

A: Most CBD sales—$16.2 billion—are expected to come from chain-store retailers, followed by online and natural foods stores with $3 billion and $1.3 billion in sales, respectively.


Q: What is driving CBD market growth in 2019?

A: Large pharmacy, retail, and grocery chains are now entering the market, causing market growth. Those in this distribution channel are expected to garner 57% of market revenues in 2019.


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