Analysis: Little Evidence to Support Health Benefits Claims of CBD Products Available Over-the-Counter

London, United Kingdom: There exists little clinical data supportive of the therapeutic use of commercially available CBD-infused products, according to a literature review published in the journal Therapeutic Advancements in Psychopharmacology.

A team of researchers affiliated with King’s College in London assessed the safety and clinical efficacy of commercially marketed, hemp-derived CBD products available over-the-counter.

Researchers reported that the contents of OTC (over-the-counter) CBD products are generally “of variable quality” – a finding that is consistent with numerous prior analyses, such as those here, here, and here. Authors further reported that most OTC products contain amounts of CBD that are well below the doses associated with therapeutic benefits in controlled clinical trials.

They concluded: “Although there is enormous consumer interest in CBD, there is little evidence that OTC preparations have significant pharmacological activity or provide health benefits. … [C]ontrolled trials of OTC preparations are needed to address this issue. There is also a need for more accurate labelling and advertising of OTC CBD products.”

Survey data compiled earlier this year by the National Consumers League reported that more than eight in ten US voters desire greater federal regulatory oversight over the labeling and marketing of commercially available CBD products.

Regulators at the US Food and Drug Administration in March informed members of Congress that it “is actively evaluating what and how much data would be sufficient to support a conclusion that CBD can be safely allowed in dietary supplements under certain conditions.” At that time, the agency reiterated its longstanding position that the majority of OTC CBD-infused products are marketed in a manner that is inconsistent with the Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act.

Full text of the study, “Lack of evidence for the effectiveness or safety of over-the-counter cannabidiol products,” appears in Therapeutic Advancements in Psychopharmacology. Additional information is available from the NORML fact sheet, “FAQs About Cannabidiol.”