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FDA limits CBD advertising

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A company recently sent the Arkansas Times a press release advertising its cannabidiol (CBD) products, claiming they help with "relief of chronic pain," "anti-inflammatory benefits," "anxiety relief," "sleep," and "Cancer, Parkinson's, and Diabetes fighting properties."

Making such claims is against FDA guidelines. The FDA is researching cannabidiol "as a new drug for which substantial clinical investigations have been instituted and for which the existence of such investigations has been made public." Therefore, you cannot sell CBD as a dietary supplement — it's a drug. The FDA recently wrote warnings to a group of CBD sellers about this.

But that doesn't mean CBD products can't be sold. They just can't be sold as dietary supplements or vitamins. It's about the advertising.

The Times asked the Arkansas attorney general's office whether it would take action against someone advertising CBD products for health purposes. It issued this statement:

"The Attorney General's Office takes every false advertising complaint seriously. Our Consumer Protection Division investigates all allegations regardless of the nature of the product, and we continuously work with relevant agencies to protect Arkansas consumers by ensuring that businesses are operating within the bounds of the law."

The FDA's website says that "agency resources and the threat to the public health" determine when they'll take enforcement action. Of special interest to the FDA has been stopping those who claim CBD helps cure cancer.

Tree of Life Seeds, an Arkansas business, sells hemp products (hemp is not the same as marijuana; it contains less than .03 percent THC). Tree of Life CEO Jason Martin says the company does not advertise its products as "a cure for anything."

"The only things I guarantee my customers are the product that we describe it is exactly as we describe it," he said. "What you choose to use it for and how you choose to use it — that's up to you."

Tree of Life Seeds, the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association and Ounce Magazine will host a free educational seminar Feb. 22 for Arkansas farmers interested in growing industrial hemp. The seminar will held from 6:20 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Comfort Inn and Suites Presidential, 707 Interstate 30 in Little Rock. Tickets are free, but seating is limited. Seats may be reserved at treeoflifeseeds.com/growing-industrial-hemp-in-arkansas.

Several groups affiliated with medical cannabis and industrial hemp in the state plan to host the event "Arkansas Cannabis Patient Day at the Arkansas State Capitol" later this month, giving patients who hope to benefit from medical cannabis a chance to speak to their lawmakers and have their voices heard.

The event, sponsored by the Drug Policy Education Group, the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association, Illegally Healed and the Arkansas Hemp Association, will be held from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, at the Capitol, starting with a rally in the rotunda. Those who have pre-registered through Eventbrite.com will be able to pick up a free commemorative T-shirt.

After the rally, patients are encouraged to speak to their elected representatives. After that, participants will march to the Little Rock office of U.S. Sen. John Boozman at 1401 W. Capitol Ave. to ask for his support on federal medical cannabis issues. Lunch and fellowship at Vino's Brewpub at 923 W. 7th St. will wrap things up.

Organizers ask that persons interested in attending pre-register for the event at the link on eventbrite.com.

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