How FDA regulations affect CBD marketing approach

CBD FDA regulations
CBD FDA regulations

While CBD is known to be free of adverse effects associated with marijuana, it is still in a legal grey area. A lot of regions have strict regulations that actually prohibit CBD distribution as a schedule 5 controlled substance. So even if you as a marketer or distributor are sure that CBD cannot be used to get “high” and doesn’t have any documented adverse effects, you should be careful about the way you market your product. It’s also important to understand how to advertise CBD products without the risk of breaking the FDA regulations. In this article we will discuss the dos and don’ts of advertising your CBD brand.

To illustrate the power of FDA on the CBD market we will use the recent events.

Covid-19 is a danger zone

As the world emerges from the first big pandemic of the new century, we see a lot of ways people try to make a fortune on other’s immediate needs: skyrocketing prices on the masks and hand sanitizers, creating fake produce deficits and so on. Some marketers turned to one of the oldest sales drivers: fear. Some nonchalant CBD sellers started promising that their products are able to cure the dreaded virus or at least shield the users from getting it. Some manufacturers and marketers got into hot waters for labeling their products as a cure for coronavirus or using promo materials that implied the unproven antivirus effects.

There were plenty of ridiculous Covid-19 claims on anything from supplements to a toothpaste and the FDA was quick to react. Now, if you use false claims in your packaging or marketing materials, you risk to receive a warning from the FDA. This very likely puts you on a radar nobody wants to be on. You risk the further scrutiny of your marketing materials and practices and in the worst cases product seizure and criminal prosecution.

Don’t rely on medical claims

It’s generally advised not to use any language related to the virus at all. Even trying to put in a respective hashtag might get you in trouble. Remember, there are no studies that show the efficacy of CBD against viruses or as a support for immunity. The FDA regulations are here to protect the customer, and they are actually good for the CBD market. Promising something you cannot deliver may lead to customers’ complaints and lawsuits. If you are here to build a sustainable market presence, it’s not wise to deplete it in an attempt to make a quick buck. Hopefully, the global pandemic will come to its end and these problems won’t be relevant. We advise you to create a sustainable, research-based marketing program that is not dependent on global catastrophes. 

How to market without trouble?

So we have established that the pandemic is not the great theme for your marketing materials. But what about other medical conditions people are seeking treatment for? CBD has a promising potential in many areas, but it is still to be thoroughly studied and proven. Make sure to use the legitimate studies to prove your point and avoid hot claims with words “cure”, “treatment”, “prevention”.

Be careful when marketing to the audiences that are looking for the cure for their ailments. Vet all your promo materials and those of your affiliates: blog posts, testimonials, infographics and videos you put out can be potentially scrutinized. Check your hashtags for compliance as well! Every little thing counts.

Advice for Affiliate marketers

If you are an affiliate, consult with the brand you would like to promote and ask them for the promo material guidelines. It’s especially important if you are marketing in foreign countries where laws may be different. We mentioned in one of our articles that advertising on some of the large platforms is still prohibited as of August 2020. This means that you have to be aware not only of the laws of the country you market in, but also follow the regulations of a specific platform. You may need to vet your copy, images and hashtags.

This may seem like a lot of hustle, but we are sure it will pay off eventually. Knowing the ins and outs of the CBD affiliate marketing before you even begin gives you a great advantage. But even if you are a seasoned marketer, you need to keep an eye on the new market and regulation developments to be able to react to the market changes quickly.


Creating a sustainable presence on the CBD market is important for a brand to flourish. This is why producers and marketers should be very careful with the type of materials they put out. Getting FDA warnings or being involved in a lawsuit has never been a good thing, so we advise you to pay attention to the current situation on the market and the state regulations. Visit sources like this page dedicated to CBD on the official FDA website to be informed. Educate your partners about the importance of compliance for the future of your brand and the market in general.

We dedicated this blog to gather useful information concerning CBD advertising and affiliate marketing, so keep in touch and be informed about the new developments with us!

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