Meeting patient demand and providing increased pain relief
THE CHIROPRACTIC COMMUNITY is an enthusiastic adopter of CBD use, due in large part to its effectiveness for pain alleviation, anti-inflammatory properties and help with anxiety. Nearly 1/3 of chiropractors recommend CBD to their patients, according to Chiropractic Economics.
Although products containing CBD extract are legal in all 50 states, each state has specific restrictions on how those products can be marketed. These restrictions have hampered chiropractors’ ability to market CBD products to their patients, negatively impacting not only their ability to gain new customers but their bottom lines.
Pain management and CBD
Because approximately 64% of CBD users turn to the products for pain management, it makes sense for chiropractors to integrate the use of CBD into their treatment plans. Naturally derived, high-quality CBD products are especially appealing to patients, particularly oils, ingestibles and topical creams.
Inesa Ponomariovaite, the owner of a hemp company, has seen firsthand the positive effects that all-natural, organic CBD can have on patients and is grateful that the general population is starting to look at therapeutic hemp differently.
“There’s still such a stigma attached to hemp products, but when they’re produced correctly and with the highest quality in mind, they can bring invaluable relief to the user,” she says.
Regardless of CBD’s benefits, restrictions on how it can be marketed to patients still exist throughout the United States. How those will continue to impact the chiropractic community still largely depends on the growing demand for the products.
Roughly 26% of Americans use CBD in some form, and its popularity has piqued the interest of the U.S. government. Although CBD products are not regulated by the FDA, they are regulated differently by states in terms of how and where they can be sold.
The CBD industry has indeed boomed, but with a consumer-driven rush to bring new products to the market, many states were left playing catch-up in making the industry safer and more regulated. While the 2018 Farm Act legalized1 CBD federally, its language was worded such that it was largely left up to each state’s discretion to determine its own legal parameters, meaning CBD still remains illegal in some states (e.g., Idaho, Nebraska and North Dakota).
The Farm Act also did little to define the parameters of marketing and advertising CBD products. Despite the act’s passing in Congress, CBD still falls under the older and more descriptive Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, rendering the addition of CBD to food products or marketing it as a supplement illegal.
The FDA approved a drug called Epidiolex for use in adults and some children with specific seizure disorders but, beyond this, CBD still remains tightly controlled for today’s average CBD business.
Other CBD controls
Not only were regulations state-derived, but two of the biggest online marketing platforms — Facebook and Google — unleashed their own controls regarding marketing CBD.
As of March 2023, it is still against these platforms’ terms of service (ToS) to advertise CBD through paid ads. Amazon also tried to hand down some tight controls2 on CBD products sold through their e-commerce platform, yet some sellers have skated around these restrictions by labeling their products not as CBD, but as hemp.
The rules, however, are hazy. For example, Facebook still has CBD classified as a prohibited substance or drug in their ToS, but providers are allowed to still advertise their products on the site so long as they do not use the term CBD — similar to Amazon’s loophole. And while TikTok does not explicitly ban “CBD” by name in their ToS, most CBD marketing experts suggest steering clear of the term “CBD” when advertising on the site.
Chiropractors who want to offer full-spectrum CBD3 products either online or in their offices will need to be aware of their state’s specific guidelines, as well as what is allowed online, if they intend to continue to sell without inadvertently breaking the law. It would be up to the individual provider to decide whether or not jumping through these hoops is worthwhile.
DCs and CBD
Due to the wild inconsistencies in how CBD can be marketed, it may be difficult for chiropractors to know what they should do if they choose to offer CBD to their patients.
Online marketing platforms absolutely need to take customer demand as well as the natural, safe and effective nature of these products into consideration and update their terms. However, the regulations should not be dissolved completely. The CBD industry is still one in need of some guidance and oversight.
“In a free market economy, consumers choose according to the long-standing principle of caveat emptor,” Ponomariovaite wrote in a recent op-ed4 for the California Business Journal. “But the industry has become a breeding ground for product misrepresentation and scams that mislead and harm consumers.”
Chiropractors who wish to offer CBD oil for pain to their patients should heavily research the product to ensure that what they are offering is pure and extracted without any chemicals, solvents or heavy metals. Ensuring the product’s quality is the first step to marketing the product to one’s patients with integrity. Today’s marketing landscape requires that one understand how to market products to a predominantly online audience, so chiropractors who wish to go this route will need to get creative while also staying within the regulations established by their state.
One option is to lean on influencer marketing. While one may not be able to fully advertise CBD on Facebook or Instagram, one can still enlist the help of well-connected influencers to organically spread the word about the products offered by a particular office. Chiropractors can connect with actual customers who have strong social media followings or follow hashtags such as #CBD or #hemp to find people who may be a good fit for an influencer marketing campaign.
CBD marketing and your clinic
Other options would be to avoid marketing on social media platforms like Facebook altogether. Email marketing, for instance, can be extremely effective with the right audience.
Additionally, forming connections with like-minded podcasters and advertising through commercials on their content can help a chiropractic office get the word out about offering CBD products.
Chiropractors who want to offer their CBD product line in-office still need to be aware of how to best sell the products they offer and avoid language that could land them in hot water. It will benefit providers to err on the side of caution when marketing their CBD products so their ads and efforts are not removed.
CBD is a quickly evolving product line that is rapidly increasing in demand as more and more people discover the benefits it can offer them. Chiropractors can bring a world of relief to their patients through their expertise, their treatments and adding CBD to their service options. Although navigating the realm of CBD marketing can be challenging, chiropractors will continue to adapt to this ever-changing industry and become experts in their own right and be able to help their patients do the same.
AMANDA RESEBURG is a writer for Nesa’s Hemp and has been a freelance journalist since 2016, with work featured in Scary Mommy and the Beloit Daily News. She was a creative entrepreneur for 13 years and founded her own hospice photography volunteer program, profiled by PBS. She lives in Orlando with her husband and three children. To learn more about Nesa’s Hemp, go to nesashemp.com.