Google opens door, just barely, for advertising of CBD products

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Google will allow the advertising of hemp and topical CBD products in California, Colorado and Puerto Rico under an update to its policies on “Dangerous Products and Services and Healthcare and Medicines.”

Google did not make clear why it is restricting the advertising to the three distinct markets.

Advertising for CBD for internal human consumption remains off limits, the company said, including those for “supplements, food additives, and inhalants.” Also, masthead advertising on YouTube (owned by Google), which appears at the top of the page in the main feed across all devices, is not available to hemp and CBD products, under the policy revisions.

Applications open Jan. 20

Google also said pharmaceuticals approved by under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may now also be advertised in those jurisdictions. That part of the rule change will benefit only one producer, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, whose high-CBD Epidiolex is the lone such product approved by the agency to date. Epidiolex is prescribed for severe seizure disorders in children. It was approved by the FDA in 2020.

The changes, announced at the end of the year, take effect Jan. 20. Advertisers can request certification with Google starting on that date, when an application form will be published.

Samples, COAs required

Google said it has contracted with LegitScript, a Portland, Oregon-based internet and payments compliance company that provides certification in high-risk industries, as a clearinghouse to determine products’ advertising eligibility. Only products that pass muster with LegitScript can be promoted on Google platforms.

Those seeking certification to advertise on Google must provide samples of their products or THC testing and provide LegitScript with third-party certificates of analysis, according to Google.

‘Tainted, substandard, illegal’

In an industry that is still seeing widespread problems with products that are tainted, substandard, or illegal, it’s more important than ever to give consumers confidence that the CBD products they’re purchasing have been properly vetted,” said LegitScript CEO Scott Roth.

The internet giant apparently continues to be spooked by CBD products intended to be taken internally. Such products have drawn warnings from the FDA as various studies have shown many to be tainted with such adulterants as solvents and heavy metals. Hemp-derived delta-8 THC, produced through a synthetic process, was cited as the cause of a child’s death in a Virginia case last year.

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