The Federal Trade Commission announced a joint warning letter issued with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to Rooted Apothecary, LLC for selling products containing cannabidiol (CBD) online with potentially unsubstantiated claims that the products can treat autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, among other conditions.
Under the FTC Act, it is unlawful to advertise that a product can prevent, treat, or cure human disease unless the seller has competent and reliable scientific evidence substantiating that the claims are true when made. The letter states that the Commission is concerned that “one or more of the efficacy claims [the company made] may not be substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence.”
As described in the letter, the Florida-based company used product web pages and its online store and social media websites to make many heath and efficacy claims about several of its CBD products. Examples include:
- “Increasing evidence suggests that CBD oil is a powerful option for pain . . . anxiety . . . and autism . . . It seems like an attractive and safe option for children.”
- “CBD oil may have neuroprotective properties and may protect against neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.”
- “[P]ossible uses for CBD include helping with skin problems such as acne, autism, ADHD, and even cancer. It’s often used in conjunction with traditional treatments to provide extra help. Children can use high amounts of CBD safely and without any risk.”
The FTC has asked Rooted Apothecary to review the ads and respond within 15 working days stating how the company will address the FTC’s concerns. Violations of the FTC Act may result in legal action seeking a federal district court injunction or administrative cease and desist order, and an order also may require that a company pay back money to consumers. (The staff contact is Richard Cleland, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202‑326‑3088.)
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