Celebrity endorsements of products, brands, and services are nothing new. Famous athletes, Hollywood types, fashion icons, media moguls, and other well-known personalities lend their names to back a variety of products – from sports equipment and cars to food and beverages – just to name a few. This is generally an accepted marketing tactic. But when a celebrity’s name is utilized to convince the public that a particular product is “legitimate” and “safe” while, in fact, its claims are misleading and potentially harmful, consumers should beware.
This happens more often than you think when it comes to the majority of CBD products, which are unregulated, untested, and often put consumers at risk.
Most recently, famed cooking maven, Martha Stewart, announced a new line of CBD gummies, soft gels, and drops. Stewart is not the first celebrity to lend her name to the growing marketplace of CBD products that claim to improve health and wellness.
Women’s soccer star, Megan Rapinoe, co-founded a company that makes CBD products that claim to increase healing and relaxation. Rapinoe says the products are the “secret sauce” to her daily routine of health and wellness.
Earlier this year, former All-Pro NFL offensive lineman, Kyle Turley, promoted CBD in the fight against COVID-19. Turley received warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The false claims have ceased.
TV host and actor, Montel Williams, claims CBD helps him relax and sleep better when he experiences multiple sclerosis (MS) flare-ups.
Jolene Goring, named by USA Today as one of "America's Premier Fitness Experts," partners with a company that claims its products are the “world’s best CBD.”
Comedian, actor, and screenwriter, Asling Bea, says a few drops of CBD helps with insomnia.
What most consumers don’t realize is, despite celebrity or influencer endorsements, CBD products have not been scientifically tested and are not regulated by the FDA, the gold standard in ensuring safety and efficacy for consumer products. The majority of CBD product claims are unproven, and labels are frequently misleading and confusing, with little to no information on ingredients and potency.
In fact, in a recent report to Congress, the FDA reported that internal testing of 147 CBD products found the majority were incorrectly labeled or contaminated. Nearly 40 products tested had more than 120 percent of the CBD level listed. This is troubling news for consumers using these products.
Late last year, the FDA confirmed that it cannot conclude that CBD is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in human or animal food. The agency considers CBD foods and supplements unlawful, which means these products are not subject to the same regulation and monitoring as other consumer goods.
The CBD marketplace is dangerous and risky. Without scientific evidence, proper testing, and regulation, it’s a “buyer beware” scenario. Celebrity hype is just that – hype. It’s time to take science, product testing, and regulation of CBD products seriously and look to experts for guidance and advice.