CBD

How to fight fake claims about CBD & COVID-19

Be on the lookout for scams.

 With the whole world in virtual shut down mode and on the verge of widespread panic, there has been an upsurge in scams relating to the COVID-19 virus (CV). All over social media and the web, there are ads for “cures” and products making various claims the are false or misleading. This could well do major damage to the CBD industry if not addressed by legitimate suppliers. Straight.com reported that  “a CBD store in Portland, Oregon, was ordered by the office of the state’s attorney general to take down signs claiming that its products could boost immunity against COVID-19.

The claims range from boosting the immune system to protect against the virus, right up to killing the virus like some magic bullet. The fact is that CBD alone doesn’t do any of these things in the way that they are being advertised. CBD does indeed boost your immune system but it doesn’t offer some sort of magic shield against it. As with all diseases, a strong immune system offers better protection against sickness. It does not offer total immunity however and some sellers are implying this in their marketing material.

Other sellers are claiming that CBD sanitizers can kill  CV19 with the implication that the CBD is the active ingredient that does this. A further study of these products usually shows up a high content of alcohol in the sanitizer. It is this alcohol which does the sanitizing, in the same way as any other commercial product bought off the shelf for a fraction of the price. CBD may provide other benefits but it will not on its own protect against or cure COVID-19.

This sort of false advertising is not only wrong but could also cause a huge amount of damage to the CBD industry. All the gains that the CBD industry has made over the last few years risk being wiped out by these false and inaccurate claims. The CBD industry could end up being put into the same category as “snake oil” if this goes on. All it takes is one bad incident and it could do untold damage to the industry as a whole. If someone were to contract or even die from COVID-19 because of using a CBD product based on false claims, then the whole industry could be tarnished.

It’s bad enough that there is so much fake news going around these days, the last thing that the CBD industry needs is false advertising. While the majority of suppliers are responsible there are still a few that are making misleading claims. The main problem seems to lie in individual affiliates who are going off-script. They are advertising products with false claims before redirecting them to their affiliate site. Retail sites like Amazon and eBay tend to crack down on this very quickly but a few still get through.

Another problem is affiliates setting up stand-alone pages or affiliate sites and using SEO to target consumers. False claims made on this site will draw the consumer in. They then click on to the retailer’s site but they don’t see the disclaimer that is required by the FDA in the US. If something goes wrong and the buyer ends up blaming the product for an illness or death due to COVID-19 then it is the retailer that carries the can. It doesn’t matter that the affiliate made false claims because it is the company that will be the target of the media.

 

So, what can be done?

 

Retailers should contact all of their affiliates or their affiliate marketing companies. They should emphasise that making misleading or false claims will invalidate their agreement if applicable. It may also be worth adding a splash screen or popup that highlights any disclaimer relating to the products they sell. Typically this would be an FDA disclosure or disclaimer such as ” This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

 

It might also be worth retailers time doing a simple web search for their products and include certain keywords to find rogue offerings. Twitter and Facebook are especially vulnerable to false claims so suppliers should monitor these and other social media providers.

 

Conclusion.

 

It is in everybody’s interests that false claims and fake news about the CBD industry are stamped out. The media are constantly looking for new angles about COVID-19 coverage and a good “fake news” story about CBD would be too good to miss. It is not just individual suppliers and retailers that would lose out in this sort of situation. The whole industry could get tainted with the same brush. Suppliers and retailers should maximise the use of social media, email postings and group boards to ask people to report any suspect offerings of their products. Times are hard enough for everyone without some COVIDIOT ruining a business or even the whole industry.

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