Washington unshackled the industrial hemp industry when former president Donald Trump signed the GOP tax package at the end of 2017. That opened the door to what is now a huge catalog of CBD products. Meanwhile, thirty-six states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical cannabis. Some have made recreational use legal as well. Is it any wonder that cannabis marketing now seems like it’s everywhere?
One can barely get through the day’s email without finding at least a few messages touting the benefits of CBD oil. Medical marijuana dispensaries are getting in on the act, using the latest and greatest digital marketing techniques to get patients to their sites. If you believe all the hype, cannabis is a miracle cure for just about anything that ails you.
If you are considering either CBD or medical marijuana, please talk to your doctor first. Be very wary of cannabis marketing, too. Remember that marketers have but one goal: to get you to buy something. They are not necessarily concerned with the accuracy of their messages.
Unsubstantiated Medical Claims
Medical marijuana in Utah is strictly regulated. In fact, Salt Lake City’s Beehive Farmacy says that Utah is one of the strictest among the thirty-six states with medical cannabis programs. Other states are far more lenient. California and Colorado immediately come to mind. Unfortunately, approaching cannabis with a lenient mindset invites misinformation and unsubstantiated claims.
If you need an example, just run an internet search on using CBD to treat vertigo. Just within the first five or six results, you will find web pages containing information suggesting that CBD is an effective vertigo treatment. But dig a little deeper and you will discover that no studies have ever been done to determine whether or not that’s true.
So, how do they get away with making such claims? They cite other studies relating to CBD as a treatment for epilepsy and cancer pain. Because those studies show that some patients found relief from dizziness and nausea, they feel free to suggest that vertigo sufferers could find similar relief.
Extrapolation Isn’t Science
Lawmakers in three dozen states have decided that medical cannabis should be made available to patients suffering from a limited list of qualifying conditions. It turns out that the vast majority of patients use CBD and THC products to manage chronic pain. That is all well and good. But there isn’t enough scientific data to accurately paint any broad strokes regarding medical cannabis and its effectiveness.
Going back to the vertigo example, extrapolating from other studies isn’t science. It is guesswork. It might be intelligent guesswork, but it is guesswork, nonetheless. Hard science proving CBD as a vertigo treatment would offer data demonstrating a direct correlation between CBD consumption and vertigo symptoms. Furthermore, the data would be based on studies specifically targeting vertigo – not dizziness and nausea caused by other conditions.
Why Trepidation Exists
This post is by no means intended to disparage medical cannabis or those who use it. Rather, it is to explain why trepidation still exists among both consumers and lawmakers alike. It is to explain why a marijuana dispensary in Utah is so much more highly regulated than one in California.
Cannabis marketing has become big business because cannabis itself is big business. We must always take marketing claims with a grain of salt. And in this particular industry, because it is a nascent industry in so many states, we have to be particularly careful when it comes to marketing. Every claim made by cannabis marketers should not be assumed true. Caution is the rule of the day.