As the first major high street retailer to start selling CBD (often misleading referred to as 'cannabis oil' by most media outlets), Holland & Barrett have been in the news a great deal in recent weeks. This caused quite a stir and subsequently their CBD sales have been soaring. On the surface, this seems a positive step forward for the industry, and in a way it is; increasing awareness of the medicinal value of CBD can only be a good thing. However scratching the surface just a little yields some worrying insight into H&B's practices and ethics.
When their range of CBD oil 'Jacob Hooy' was released, there were a long list of medical claims being stated by H&B that their CBD product could help with. Whilst this information provided was not necessarily false - there's research to suggest CBD can help with a wide range of ailments - it's in direct breach of MHRA government guidelines. CBD has to be sold as a food supplement in the UK, meaning sellers are not able to make any medical claims relating to CBD. To their credit, H&B were quick to spring into action and remove any medical claims from their CBD product page.
Even so, it's worrying that such a major brand made this mistake to begin with, the cause of which can only be two possibilities:
1) H&B were unaware of the regulations in place. For a leading food supplement provider this would be very worrying indeed.
2) H&B were aware of the regulations, but decided to go ahead and make medical claims anyway in order to make a much bigger impact and capitalise on sales. If that was their plan, they certainly succeeded.
The chances are, we will never know which of the above are true. Regardless, one has to wonder if H&B are putting profits ahead of their customer's wellbeing and health.