A cannabis oil firm is using an NHS-style logo on its advertising leaflet – prompting the Health Service to warn against ‘misleading’ use of the brand.
Natural Organic Pure Clean CBD Oils’ leaflets ape the familiar slanted block letter of the NHS logo, but to spell out ‘CBD’ – short for cannabidiol, a compound found in cannabis – in a blue box.
Last night, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘The public must be able to trust official NHS information, which is why its distinctive logo is rightly protected against exploitation.
‘We have already taken action against this organisation and will act swiftly against anybody seeking to misuse or imitate the NHS brand, particularly those attempting to deceive or mislead the public.’
Over the last few years there has been an explosion in companies selling cannabis oils containing the non-psychoactive compound CBD.
Some studies suggest it may help ease symptoms of a variety of conditions including chronic pain, multiple sclerosis and certain types of epilepsy.
However, most CBD oils are marketed as a food supplement rather than as a medicine, which means no health claims can be made for them.
On the front of the leaflet, above what appears to be a queue of people waiting to see a doctor, reads the headline: ‘Still waiting to start your personal CBD journey?’ Below them it asks: ‘Why wait?’ On the rear, set against a blue background, a message tells readers: ‘Medicinal cannabis (CBD) is now being prescribed by the NHS, but only for ‘exceptional clinical needs’.’
The leaflet – distributed as a flyer to London households – also provides what could be taken as official advice to the questions: ‘Can I get a prescription for medical cannabis?’, ‘What is CBD?’ and ‘How do I get a prescription?’
Last night, Sam Ahmedzai, Professor Emeritus of palliative care at Sheffield University, said many people would be confused as to where the leaflet was coming from, and what the product could be used for.
He said: ‘In my view, this is blatantly exploiting the interest of curious and desperate people by providing what looks like ‘medical’ literature when it is actually a marketing flyer, an advertisement.’
Darren Jacks, director of Natural Organic Pure Clean CBD Oils, said: ‘We would never try to impersonate the NHS. That’s certainly not the intention.
‘No way in this world would we try to impersonate or imply that we were associated [with the NHS] whatsoever.’