Marketing in general has become more complex as the media landscape shifted so dramatically with the rise of the internet and digital communications. The field as a whole has become more fluid and fast-changing. This complexity is compounded when marketing a product like CBD that has had a complex and confusing legal standing in the past.
Many marketers might not know the legal standing of CBD today, and how that’s changed in recent years. CBD, like hemp, was federally illegal in the United States for many years because of its close relation to Cannabis.
That all changed in 2018 with the introduction of what’s been known as the 2018 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill effectively legalized hemp on the federal level, and classified it as an agricultural commodity. As a result, CBD made from hemp is now federally legal.
It’s important to remember that you could still run into legal troubles when dealing with CBD that is made from Cannabis. The key difference is that CBD made with Cannabis could contain legally restricted amounts of THC.
THC is the psychoactive compound found in Cannabis and it’s the primary reason why Cannabis still remains federally illegal, despite being decriminalized by some state and local governments, and legalized by others. In order for CBD to be considered federally legal, it must be produced from a hemp plant containing less than 0.3 percent THC.
All of these legal distinctions are important to know before beginning any marketing efforts. Now that you understand the basics, let’s dive deeper and look at five specific tips to keep in mind when marketing CBD products.
- Consider Local Regulations
While the possession and consumption of CBD is now federally legal, it’s important to consider that certain regulations do still prohibit the sale of CBD products, particularly if there are unsubstantiated health claims made. Technically, the FDA has prohibited the sale of CBD as part of any unapproved health product. In theory, that means that the FDA could come after an organization selling any CBD product other than Epidiolex, which is the sole FDA-approved CBD product.
In practice, however, it is highly unlikely that the FDA would raid sellers of CBD products, unless they are also selling illegal substances like Cannabis. Currently, the FDA has only issued warning letters to some CBD sellers. However, local law enforcement agencies in Texas, Ohio, and Iowa have raided hemp and CBD stores in the past. That’s why it’s crucial to understand the stance of local law enforcement on CBD’s legality before marketing any CBD products.
CBD marketers should also be skeptical in making definitive, unsubstantiated health claims. Marketers should also be extremely hesitant to claim that CBD is a cure or even a treatment for a specific condition. Instead, marketers should cautiously suggest CBD’s health benefits while citing reliable medical research and clinical studies.
This piece by the New York Times goes into more depth on CBD’s benefits, and cites the opinions of well-regarded medical experts.
- Consider Retaining a Lawyer with Knowledge of CBD
The best way to protect yourself or your company from facing any legal troubles while marketing CBD products is to retain an attorney that has specific knowledge on the topic of CBD. A trained lawyer will have the tools to properly research the current legal issues surrounding CBD, along with the will of local law enforcement to prosecute individuals for violations.
An attorney will be able to provide proper legal advice on how to navigate state and federal law. For example, in the FDA’s prohibition of CBD, there exists an important loophole. Technically, a company can legally sell CBD, as long as they don’t make any claims that any of the products they are selling have specific health benefits or put it in any food or dietary supplements
The issue becomes murky when analyzing when exactly qualifies as a health claim. That’s when a well-trained lawyer can come in handy. A trained attorney can read any copy and messaging created by your marketing department to make sure it doesn’t violate any federal or state laws. Keeping up with a good business publication can also be a good way to stay in the loop with recent regulations and marketing trends.
- Cite Claims Made by Medical Experts
Any marketer should examine all of the relevant research and clinical studies on CBD done in recent years before marketing CBD products. The number of studies done on CBD are sparse due to CBD’s complicated legal history, but there have been studies looking at its numerous health benefits.
Some of the strongest medical evidence supports CBD’s ability to help alleviate cruel childhood epilepsy syndromes, including Dravet’s Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome according to Daily CBD Mag. That’s why the FDA finally approved the first ever Cannabis-derived medication for these syndromes. The medication is called Epidiolex and can now be prescribed by doctors.
Other studies suggest that CBD could be helpful in alleviating anxiety, as well as anxiety-induced insomnia. A study from the European Journal of Pain showed, using an animal model, that topically applied CBD could lessen pain and inflammation. When speaking about the health benefits of CBD, make sure to cite credible medical experts and clinical studies.
- Highlight the Low Risks of CBD
Like anything you put into your body, there are some potential side effects of CBD, but these side effects tend to be quite rare and mild. They include dry mouth, drowsiness, and reduced appetite.
Compared to pharmaceuticals that offer similar pain relieving benefits, the risks of CBD are relatively low. Evencin CBD tinctures, which are more potent than CBD oil, the possible risks are similarly low according to Kyro.
Be upfront about the possible side effects of CBD, and always encourage consumers to consult their doctor to see how it could react to any medications they’re currently taking. At the same time, highlight the relative safety of CBD.
- Focus on how CBD is All-Natural
Many health-conscious consumers today are looking for ways that they can rebalance their bodies and reconnect with the natural world.
Perhaps due to our sedentary and disconnected lifestyles, the draw towards making a connection to the natural world has never been stronger. Due to the rapidly spreading opiate epidemic, many consumers are also skeptical of extremely powerful and addictive pharmaceutical drugs.
Particularly in markets like California where consumers are looking for natural ways to get healthier, CBD sales have gone through the roof, as explained in this piece by the LA Times.
Many people are looking for natural and holistic ways to enhance their overall and treat symptoms. Emphasizing CBD as a safe, all-natural solution will position your products well in the current market.
Hopefully these tips will offer a good starting point in your marketing efforts when it comes to CBD. Make sure to keep them in mind.