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Phoenix company selling CBD products among 15 to receive FDA warning

(Red Pill Medical Screenshot)

PHOENIX — A Phoenix company was one of 15 to receive a U.S. Food and Drug Administration warning over its marketing of cannabidiol, or CBD, products last week.

The agency said in a Friday letter to Red Pill Medical that its online marketing of its products as “new drugs” violates federal law.

CBD, which comes from the cannabis plant but does not cause a high, is legal. However, making medical claims about CBD products without FDA approval is not.

Dr. Gregory Smith, the owner of Red Pill, claimed in a blog post on the company’s website that CBD can help treat medical conditions including cancer, seizures, chronic pain and obesity.

The website also said “medical grade CBD” could be used to treat conditions including pain, anxiety, insomnia and depression.

The FDA said Red Pill’s products as advertised violate law “because they are intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease and/or intended to affect the structure or any function of the body.”

As of Nov. 22, the company had 15 days to notify the agency of steps it would take to correct the violations.

“We remain concerned that some people wrongly think that the myriad of CBD products on the market, many of which are illegal, have been evaluated by the FDA and determined to be safe, or that trying CBD ‘can’t hurt,’” Dr. Amy Abernethy, FDA principal deputy commissioner,  said in a press release.

“Aside from one prescription drug approved to treat two pediatric epilepsy disorders, these products have not been approved by the FDA and we want to be clear that a number of questions remain regarding CBD’s safety.”

According to the release, safety concerns related to CBD include potential liver injury, interactions with other drugs, drowsiness, diarrhea, impairment of sexual behavior in men and changes in mood.

The other companies included in the warning were from California, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Oregon, New York, Florida and Kentucky.

Red Pill was incorporated in California but lists a Phoenix return address online.

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