CBD is the latest buzzing ingredient that every one wants to get their hands on! From health and wellness brands to beauty and fitness companies, almost every company is hoping on the CBD bandwagon and curating a gamut of products for consumers. You can find CBD infused version of almost everything: chocolates, gummies, coffee, beer, burgers, vapes, ointments, tincture, oil, cream, masks, moisturizer, shampoo, mints and even pet treats!
A survey revealed in January that about 65 million Americans have tried CBD in some form, with 63% finding it effective. CBD is finally going mainstream, especially after the federal law legalized hemp derived cannabinoid with a maximum concentration of 0.3% THC per unit. As a non-psychoactive compound of the hemp plant, CBD does not alter the state of mind and renders its healing capabilities all too well.
The market for CBD is undeniably humungous, estimated to grow as high as $16 billion over the next few years. People have started relying on CBD as an alternative to medical prescription drugs. If there is something that your regular medicine is not able to treat, there is a high chance that someone would recommend you using CBD.
On the other hand, Facebook still treats CBD like the contraband it isn’t. Lacey Steffes is the owner of Spa Serenity, a small business in Baraboo Wisconsin, which offers a wide variety of CBD infused treatments. When she tried to post an ad earlier this year featuring a marijuana leaf, talking about CBD, her business ad account was immediately disabled.
Steffes was annoyed at what had happened but she wasn’t alone. Nearly anyone dealing with CBD ads on Facebook have had some version of that experience. Monika Allen, a freelance copywriter who handles social media for one of her clients in the health and wellness genre also faced something similar to Steffes.
Allen’s client had planned to host an open house with presentations from members of the local community, and one suggested to cover CBD oil and how it can be beneficial for consumers. They put up an ad on Facebook regarding the same and the account was shut down within 5 minutes of posting the ad.
While Facebook does mention in its policies that one can not promote or sell marijuana on the platform, it doesn’t make any mention about CBD or hemp derived cannabinoid specifically. But a spokesperson for the company confirmed that users are not allowed to post ads mentioning CBD or ingestible hemp, and that promoting those posts is also not allowed.
The only sign of this in the company’s advertisement policies is a prohibition against “illegal products or services”, “drug & drug-related products,” and “unsafe supplements,” the last of which as “determined by Facebook in its sole discretion.
So basically, Facebook treats CBD the equivalent to marijuana, which is bizarre for people who know the extract and how it impacts users. Since, there is no public mention of the issue, there’s a high probability that not everyone who wants to advertise their CBD products would know the risk they’ll be taking.
Jen Rudis, founder of the Wisconsin wellness outfit Jenerate Wellness says the de facto ban appears to be in place for years. Rudis’ clients had been coming in frequently to enquire aboutanxiety, pain management, stress and the kind of thing CBD is colloquially known for treating. So Rudis introduced CBD in Jenerate as she was familiar with the compound and had been working in the “alternative medicine and healing” space for more than over a decade.
Rudis says she wasn’t really aware of where Facebook stood on CBD ads till she shared a picture of the CBD product on her shelf – and she was careful to note that she wasn’t claiming anything about its efficacy and posted it.
She posted it on Friday, the same night she got a call from her marketing team saying they are unable to log into the Facebook account – it was deleted by Facebook. Rudis was upset that she didn’t just the CBD ad but her entire business accounts with a ton of other ads and paid campaigns. Facebook didn’t give any email or signs of deletion or warning before they literally uprooted the entire account.
Facebook is currently facing lawsuits over these enforcement actions, one that alleges common law fraud and deceptive ad practices. Felicia Palmer, founder of one of the oldest hip hop websites on the internet, brought the law suit to the courts. She became familiar with cannabis after her interaction with breast cancer in 2016.