September 1, 2020 – Lawsuit One of a Few CBD Cases Paused Pending FDA Rules on CBD Supplements
The proposed class action detailed on this page has been paused pending long-anticipated FDA regulations for CBD products, Law360 reported on August 11.
The suit is one of a number of cases put on hold in recent weeks as the agency continues to deliberate on how CBD can be offered legally, whether these products should contain certain dosages and how CBD goods should be made, tested and labeled to ensure regulatory compliance.
To date, the FDA has officially approved only one CBD product, a prescription drug to treat two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. The agency’s website relays it is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to food or labeling it as a dietary supplement.
From Massachusetts district court comes a proposed class action wherein a consumer claims Global Widget LLC, which does business as Hemp Bombs, has intentionally and “grossly under-dosed” the amount of cannabidiol—CBD—in its products.
Cannabidiol is a naturally occurring chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant and used to impart a feeling of relaxation and calmness. The case expands that CBD does not give users a “high” feeling, which stems from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Per the lawsuit, CBD products have grown exponentially in popularity and demand due to both the absence of psychoactive effects and their reported health benefits, which include pain relief and treatment for anything from anxiety and stress to osteoarthritis and cancer. Moreover, CBD’s possession of a foothold in the realm of pain treatment has been aided by the ire drawn by and well-documented side effects and addiction potential of opioids and other pharmaceuticals.
While the demand for CBD products is unmistakable, the lawsuit concedes that a lack of substantive research on CBD makes it difficult to determine the compound’s true benefits. The FDA has said as much, acknowledging that it wants to compile more information on CBD to consider how production, labeling, marketing, distribution and dosage might be regulated. Given that CBD products are not regulated by the FDA, consumers may be susceptible to buying a product whose dosage is more or less potent than advertised, the lawsuit says.
Hemp Bombs, which makes everything from CBD gummies, liquid vape oil and lollipops to CBD syrup, pills and pain gels, is alleged in the lawsuit to have created a marketing scheme meant to capitalize on the swelling demand for CBD products. According to the complaint, Hemp Bombs “makes numerous false and misleading claims” on its product labels and website with regard to the CBD potency of its wares. At issue, the plaintiff claims, is that Hemp Bombs’ products contain less CBD than their labels represent, and are “grossly under-dosed.”
Citing “independent laboratory testing,” the lawsuit alleges Hemp Bombs’ products do not contain the advertised amount of CBD. The plaintiff alleges that Hemp Bombs “knew that consumers would pay more for a product labeled ‘pure’” and intended to deceive proposed class members.
“Defendant knew that the labeling of CBD Products are [sic] false and misleading to a reasonable consumer, because they contain either no amount of the challenged ingredients, or amounts too low to have any pharmacological effect,” the complaint alleges.
According to the case, the CBD dosage of the defendant’s products is material to consumers who rely on such representations and effectively pay a premium price for high dosages of cannabidiol. The lawsuit stresses that the plaintiff and proposed class members would not have bought the defendant’s products, or would have paid less for them, had they known they contained a lesser amount of CBD than advertised.