CBD, or cannabidiol, or a compound found in marijuana and hemp, or a non-psychoactive cousin of THC, or whatever you want to call it – has been undeniably making waves in the past years. By 2026, CBD is expected to reach a generous $16.32 Billion as an industry, according to Global News Wire. How? Well, you can find CBD in almost any product nowadays, from skincare to foods and drinks to dog treats. The industry is involving so fast that more changes probably have been made to its regulation ever since you clicked on this article.
Because of the influx of CBD products and brands, more and more information is pumped out every single day on what CBD actually is. We are not going to discuss that today. Instead, let’s talk about something that’s arguably even more confusing: CBD in Advertising.
Are You Allowed to Advertise CBD Products?
If you think that cannabis advertising is a headache, brace yourself for this article on CBD in advertisements. Long story short, there are a lot of gray areas, since CBD use, sales, and promotions are not as inhibited as cannabis products, but it’s also still not entirely welcomed by Federal, states, and social media guidelines. Let us explain that a bit more.
Since CBD can be derived from hemp or marijuana, its legality depends. To keep things short and simple, CBD derived from marijuana (not legalized every state) is legal depending on each state to state understandably. But even hemp-derived CBD (hemp is now legal thanks to the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) is only legal under certain guidelines. It’s extremely important to keep yourself up-to-date with these policy updates and industry movements.
In our article on cannabis advertising, we mentioned the power that Federal law, State laws, and social media guidelines all have on cannabis advertising. When it comes to CBD, the fourth player enters the game: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
While CBD in under the overhead FDA regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-derived products, the FDA can be more intense on CBD products as compared to, say, good ole’ marijuana. This is because CBD is a new industry to have made so many claims on health and dietary benefits (anxiety, sleeping aid, etc.), and it’s in virtually anything and everything. According to the FDA, CBD products can not be sold as dietary supplements, and the agency can take actions on CBD-infused or topical cosmetic products.
What to Avoid When Advertising CBD Products
Because of this, CBD brands and marketers need to be extremely careful with any health claims they make on a CBD product, or in the advertising language. This includes:
- Health and Medical claims: Brands and agencies can’t advertise CBD as a miracle cure for cancer, epilepsy, insomnia, chronic pain, and a wide array of other medical conditions.
- Non-tested testimonials: Anything that can’t be proven, including testimonials or medical advice for CBD products can not be used in marketing materials.
- Anything that’s not approved by the FDA: As mentioned above, the FDA does not recognize the selling of cannabis-derived dietary supplements, and any other topical CBD products are under strict regulations. For this reason, brands must be careful in their marketing efforts.
Even when your product is approved by the FDA, there are still hurdles when it comes to actually delivering your advertisements. social media platforms like Facebook or Google ads all have strict guidelines for cannabis advertising, and it’s no different when it comes to CBD products, although there seems to be more leeway compared to cannabis products.
There is no official communications or policy to depict exactly where Facebook or Google or Instagram are at with CBD brands and products, which makes it exactly that much more confusing. But apparently, Facebook now allows some CBD ads, and same with Google.
Even then, it is believed that Facebook and Google are only softening their policies to topical CBD products, and as long as they don’t directly mention CBD. How is this any better, you ask? It’s not. But it will be. For now, there are a few other alternatives to the traditional ads that brands and marketers can venture to.
Content and Branding
The majority of CBD users or people interested in CBD products are young women. This is extremely important for brands and marketers to pay attention to your branding and content, which drives organic growth. Especially in an industry like CBD, contents not only need to be fresh, but also exciting, educational, and relevant.
When your main marketing channel isn’t mainstream advertising, you need to go the organic route. Invest in an intensive Search Engine Optimization (SEO) focus, which will drive up your website visits through organic searches online. Having a strong SEO strategy can also establish your brand as the industry leader, or at least a trusted information hub, which essentially leads to engagements from customers.
The easiest way to get your name out there without running ads is to collaborate with influencers. Influencers can combine the best of both worlds for you: Reaching new audiences and creating authentic content that drives awareness and engagements to your brand. Unlike cannabis influencers, CBD influencers can include a wider range of types of influencers – health, lifestyle, beauty, and anyone in between.
So it comes down to this: Who would be the best influencer to represent your brand, how to find them, how to reach out, and what kind of collaborations could best promote your products without crossing any lines with the FDA. Find out more information in this last article of this series: Cannabis Influencers Are Changing the Marketing Landscape.
Don’t miss out on the rest of this series:
Cannabis Advertising: Turning Challenges into Opportunities
Cannabis Influencers Are Changing the Marketing Landscape