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Advertising Restrictions in the CBD Industry

If you’re new to CBD, you probably found out about it from word of mouth or an online article that prompted a web search. That’s because CBD advertising faces some pretty tough restrictions. Far from just affecting businesses, the regulatory restrictions CBD companies operate under can also make it harder to find out more information about what CBD can do and how to use it for consumers. It’s an issue that is rooted in industrial hemp’s rumor-marred past.

How Cannabidiol Got A Bad Rap

To understand CBD advertising restrictions, you need to know Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is an active compound found in cannabis plants. Along with other cannabinoids, it works on your body’s endocannabinoid system, where it elicits a biologic reaction. CBD products today come from industrial hemp, but for many years, hemp was considered the same plant as its close (and illicit) relative, marijuana. When the Controlled Substances Act effectively banned marijuana in 1970, hemp was included in the restrictions thanks to a decades-long lobbying effort.

Hemp Redeemed

That began to change as more and more people began reviewing the anecdotal evidence related to the medical use of both kinds of Cannabis sativa plants. In the 2014 Farm Bill, states were allowed to set up pilot programs to explore the commercial use of industrial hemp, and it was followed four years later by the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized industrial hemp and offered broad regulatory guidance. This guidance is key to the restrictions placed on CBD advertising.

What Is CBD?

This question is at the heart of the matter. First, CBD is not a drug, though it is and has been in the FDA’s evaluation process under several different formulations for consideration as a new drug. That doesn’t mean it’s a nutritional supplement. In fact, it means the opposite. Once a substance has been submitted for evaluation, it can no longer be offered as a nutritional supplement. CBD is considered a food substance. This status creates very narrow parameters companies can use in their CBD advertising.

Neon lights and signs in a busy intersection

No Medical Statements

Since the FDA hasn’t evaluated and approved medical uses for hemp, no manufacturer can claim that their product is intended to treat, prevent, diagnose, or cure any illness, disease, or condition. No matter how carefully formulated it is with certain effects in mind, regulations don’t allow specific health claims for CBD products. For people new to CBD who are interested in adding it to their wellness routine, this can lead to confusion. That’s why independent research is so important.

While a CBD business can’t tell you why or how you should use your CBD products directly, there’s nothing to stop other users from sharing their first-hand experiences. This anecdotal evidence has been the basis for many peoples’ self-care decisions. In addition, more and more limited studies are reaching the points where they can offer early results. While these may not hold sway with the FDA and may not effect CBD advertising, they do add to a growing body of evidence that point to CBD’s effectiveness at promoting wellness in a variety of different situations.

But Didn’t I See Benefits Listed In A Product Description?

Even though CBD companies can’t make the sort of health claims that reassure customers and help ensure they find the most appropriate products, there is plenty we can do to give you a starting point for your own research. It’s not uncommon to see the following phrases in hemp and CBD advertising:

  • …studies indicate CBD may…– There are not a lot of large, peer-reviewed studies out there, but there are plenty of small studies and early results. This phrase lets you know that research is being done, and a quick web search will probably help you find more detailed, relevant information.
  • …users report… – Anecdotal evidence isn’t always reliable, and your personal results may differ from someone else’s. Unfortunately, this word-of-mouth treatment advice is one of the most plentiful sources of CBD information right now. As always, consider what you’re told carefully, as not everything that winds up on the internet is true.
  • …designed for/with [condition] in mind… – While a CBD company can’t say a specific product treats a specific condition, it is not prohibited from formulating products with a specific set of results in mind.
  • …promotes health/wellness… – If promote seems like a very vague word, that’s because it is out of necessity. Just as with the terms health and wellness, it is a broad term that lacks any specific act, extent, or content. It is a way to indicate that a given product has a beneficial effect, without promising a specific effect or outcome.

These phrases give CBD companies a limited ability to talk to you about potential uses so you can narrow your own individual research’s focus. They’re the easiest way to comply with CBD advertising guidelines, but still offer potential users a minimum of guidance.

Not So Social Media

Social media advertising is big business, and most marketers feel that it is one of the most important ways to tell your brand’s story to potential customers. Unfortunately, that path is largely closed to CBD companies. Pages that attempt to sell or advertise CBD products are often taken down and their administrators face potential banishment. Paid ads are not accepted, and depending on the platform’s algorithms, your group or page may not be findable.

Keeping It Organic

This has left hemp businesses with little more than organic CBD advertising in the form of satisfied customers telling friends or writing about their favorite products. While slower growing, it helps ensure a more knowledgeable consumer base, since they had to actively want to find CBD products in the first place.

If you’re considering adding CBD to your daily wellness regimen, make sure it’s the best CBD on the market. We carry the top products from the top brands you can trust with your health. Order your high-quality CBD products online from CBD Choice today.

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