As CBD is relatively new on the market, there are strict rules which CBD merchants in the UK must abide by when advertising their products. In this post, we will cover the MHRA guidelines on advertising CBD in the UK to promote compliance in the CBD industry.
About the MHRA
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) ensures that both medicines and medical devices work and are safe. It is the executive agency of the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care responsible for products classed as CBD sold in the UK. It also issues guidelines on what can and cannot be said when advertising medicine or healthcare products.
MHRA guidelines on advertising CBD in the UK
In general, to stay compliant with the MHRA guidelines, CDB merchants in the UK MUST NOT:
- Make or infer in any written form and/or published articles medical claims with regard to CBD. This includes company names/logos, hashtags, links and any shared testimonials/reviews
- Make any unapproved health claims or wellbeing claims
- Link to sites/platforms which present CBD as a medicine
- Link to sites/platforms where customers can obtain more information about CBD and its uses
More specifically, CBD merchants in the UK are NOT permitted to:
- Make any explicit medical claims about their CBD products
- Offer any advice, nor offer CBD to treat any specific condition
- Link to sites/platforms that promote “cancer cures” or other medicinally bias sites/platforms
- Publish articles which imply that CBD can or has been used to treat any illness
- Suggest customers talk to any medical professional
- Use any graphics, imagery or product names that imply CBD is a medicine
- Make comparisons with licensed medicines
- Make references to medical and/or clinical research and testing
- Make references to the health risks of not taking CBD
- Publish editorial medical claims
- Publish recommendations by Doctors/healthcare professionals
- Publish testimonials that include/imply medicinal claims
- Make references to or reproduce “generic” information on CBD
- Make references to medical conditions major to minor, including colds, headaches, cuts and bruises, spots, smoking addiction, obesity, arthritis, depression, stress and all childhood disorders and serious diseases
- Make references to conditions of the mind such as depression, addictions, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, etc.
- Make references to the treatment or alleviation of adverse conditions, including decongests, relieves pain, reduces inflammation, calms, stops itching, cures insomnia, reduces blood pressure or reduces blood sugar levels
- Make references to the symptoms of disease such as pain, inflammation, etc.
The following words or phrases (not exhaustive) should be avoided to comply with MHRA guidelines on advertising CBD in the UK:
Clinical trials evidence
Helps body adjust after crossing time zones
Help maintain a normal mood balance
Help maintain a normal water balance
Increases metabolic rate
Is said to help with
Stimulates the nervous system
Stops craving for
Strengthens the immune system
Strips off sun-damaged precancerous cells
A claim to treat, prevent or correct disease or an adverse condition
Traditionally used for
*The intended and implied meaning of the above words/phrases are taken in context by the MHRA when determining whether they are a medical claim, i.e. considered together with the surrounding words.
NOTE: These guidelines apply to ALL published materials, including product, packaging, website, social media (posting, commenting, sharing), customer communications and advertising. The inclusion of a disclaimer on any site/platform also does NOT exempt merchants from the above guidelines.
What is allowed?
CBD merchants in the UK ARE allowed to:
- Make claims to “maintain” “help to maintain” or “support” health, healthy bodily functions or organs
However, any reference to restore, or help to restore a specific bodily function or organ to a normal healthy state is NOT allowed.
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