CBD marketing: a potted guide for budding entrepreneurs

The UK has a large consumer market for cannabinoid products and so the importance of ensuring that CBD advertising is compliant with the Advertising Codes is  essential. CBD containing products can be subject to complex regulatory regimes that could either prohibit their sale or affect the claims permitted in their marketing. This article provides four top tips to help your CBD ads get the regulatory A-OK:

1. Take Heightened Care with THC

CBD products may contain trace levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound in cannabis and a controlled substance in the UK. To ensure your CBD does not pique the interest of your local CID, marketers are strongly advised to read this Home Office factsheet and seek specialist legal advice before bringing a CBD product to market.

2. Don’t make a hash of the medical regulations

According to the MHRA, any CBD-containing products which are taken for medicinal purposes should be licensed as a medicine. If your product hasn’t been licensed by the MHRA, please refrain from using medicinal claims in your marketing- which includes the use of terms such as “cure”, “restore”, “prevent”, “avoid”, “fight” or “heal”. Also, it should go without saying, but claiming that your product treats cancer is prohibited by law.

More specific advice can be found here: https://www.asa.org.uk/advice-online/cannabidiol-cbd-containing-products.html.

3. Take a by-the-book approach with Novel Foods

Oral CBD containing products that are not licenced as medicines are likely to be classed as a ‘Novel Food’. Under the Novel Foods Regulations, risk assessments and authorisations are required before those foods can be sold. Marketers looking for more guidance on this should consider this Novel Foods guidance and this CBD products linked to novel foods guidance from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and contact them if unsure of the status of their product.

4. Make sure your Cannabidiol Edibles are Compliantly Incredible

Even if your product has managed to avoid the above hurdles, it is likely to be subject to general Food regulations. Of particular note, specific health claims listed as authorised in the Great Britain nutrition and healthcare register (or the EU Register, in the case of Northern Ireland) can be used in ads for foods, and only if the product can satisfy the conditions of use.  General health claims must be accompanied by a relevant specific authorised health claim.  

For further help with your non-broadcast hemp-related needs, please contact the Copy Advice Team.

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