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All sorts of ads for CBD oil have been popping up on my Facebook news feed. Many of them feature Dr. Oz. They have much in common, although they promote different products.

Today’s teaser says “Finally found the answer to my pain and stress!” When you click on the “Learn more” tab, you get a page with a picture of Dr. Oz and the headline “Dr. Oz Announces His Specially Formulated, Potent CBD Product Is Available on Trial for Less Than $5”. It says Dr. Oz considers it “absolutely imperative that anyone out there suffering from pain or anxiety needs to incorporate CBD into their daily routine”. He claims to have been working on a project for ten years with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and to have recently announced it on his TV show. They allegedly hired a team of 10 doctors who worked for four years (or was that ten years?) to create a product that exceeded all expectations (10X more potent!).

Here they call it Tetra CBD Oil. In other ads, there are other names. Other ads feature different celebrities such as Dr. Phil and Oprah Winfrey; some quote a price of $7. They claim that large pharmaceutical companies immediately tried to buy them out, and that Dr. Gupta refused, saying he and Dr. Oz wanted to give everyone a better life without pharmaceuticals, even if it meant the failure of a pharmaceutical company. The ads all feature similar testimonials from several people including Garth Brooks. The faces looked familiar: I think they are the same people in ads for different products.

They quote the Journal of the American Medical Association as stating:

Users of Tetra CBD Oil are experiencing results that before now were only possible through prescription medication. It’s obviously much cheaper, and [sic] safer alternative and because of that pharmaceutical companies are finding it harder to keep patients using their prescriptions.

I don’t believe that could have come from the JAMA unless it was from a paid advertisement. And of course they don’t mention any peer-reviewed studies showing their product is superior, or even that it is safe and effective; no such studies have been done. The Tetra CBD Oil website claims it relieves chronic pain, reduces anxiety and stress, lowers blood sugar levels, supports healthy sleep, and much more. It offers no scientific evidence. It urges prompt action because “supplies are limited.” Where have we heard that before?

There are plenty of red flags in these ads, but there is no need to point them out, because this announcement is featured on the Dr. Oz Facebook page:

Thank you to everyone who has reported fraudulent ads through “Oz Watch”. Remember, I don’t endorse anything, so if you see something using my name or likeness, it is fake!

When I tried to revisit the first ad I saw, featuring large pictures of Oprah and Oz (but not together), I couldn’t find it again. I suspect Facebook removed it. Their stated policy is “Facebook does not allow its advertisers to directly feature CBD in an ad.”

Science-based Medicine has covered CBD several times, most recently in Steven Novella’s September 2020 article. His review concluded “The science is not yet in on cannabinoids for most indications. We should wait until it is.”

Conclusion: Bogus ad

I wish all dietary supplement ads were this easy to debunk.

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Posted by Harriet Hall

Harriet Hall, MD also known as The SkepDoc, is a retired family physician who writes about pseudoscience and questionable medical practices. She received her BA and MD from the University of Washington, did her internship in the Air Force (the second female ever to do so),  and was the first female graduate of the Air Force family practice residency at Eglin Air Force Base. During a long career as an Air Force physician, she held various positions from flight surgeon to DBMS (Director of Base Medical Services) and did everything from delivering babies to taking the controls of a B-52. She retired with the rank of Colonel.  In 2008 she published her memoirs, Women Aren't Supposed to Fly.