The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a consumer update on cannabidiol (CBD) products and other products containing ingredients derived from cannabis. The update clarified that FDA “is concerned that people may mistakenly believe that trying CBD ‘can’t hurt'” because the agency has “seen only limited data about CBD’s safety and these data point to real risks that need to be considered.” FDA warned that CBD may have potential to injure the liver, cause negative drug interactions and affect male reproductive health, safety risks the agency identified during its review for the drug form of CBD.

FDA’s update coincided with the release of several warning letters to CBD companies from the agency’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. The letters warned companies that the language used to describe the benefits of CBD amounted to adulterated foods and misbranded drugs.

Following the November 25, 2019, update, consumers filed several lawsuits in multiple states alleging the CBD products they had purchased violated consumer-protection statutes because the products are illegal. DaSilva v. Infinite Prod. Co., No. 19-10148 (C.D. Cal., filed November 27, 2019); McCarthy v. Charlotte’s Web Holdings, No. 19-7836 (N.D. Cal., filed November 20, 2019); Colette v. CV Sciences Inc., No. 19-10227 (C.D. Cal., filed December 3, 2019); Ballard v. Bhang Corp., No. 19-2329 (C.D. Cal., filed December 4, 2019); McCarthy v. Elixinol LLC, No. 19-7948 (N.D. Cal., filed December 4, 2019).

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.