Sample Size CBD Cream, Full Size Fiasco

Topical products photographed with cannabis leaf.

Sterling Anthony, Product Packaging Expert

Case Summary:  Plaintiff was given a sample size jar of a cream containing cannabidiol (CBD) oil at an exhibition show.  The cream was to be applied topically, for relief of pain and tension.  Plaintiff alleged that after applying the cream to her neck one day, when relief wasn’t fast enough, she applied a heating pad over the area. 

After a while, Plaintiff experienced a burning sensation.  She sought medical attention that same day and was diagnosed with second-degree burns.  Plaintiff’s condition worsened throughout the following weeks, resulting in an infection, surgeries, skin grafts, and disfigurement.  Plaintiff’s attorney retained an expert in preparation for the ensuing lawsuit, which alleged unreasonably dangerous product, strict liability, negligence, failure-to-warn, and defective packaging. 

Expert Analysis:  Like most other oils, CBD oil has the capacity to absorb and transfer heat.  Considering the intended use of the cream, for alleviating pain and tension, it was foreseeable that a user might use the cream in combination with a heating pad or a similar therapeutic device.  The analgesic effects of the CBD oil would create a reasonably foreseeable delay in the user’s ability to recognize any discomfort that may result from applying a heating pad to the same area where the cream was administered. 

A warning against combined use of the cream with heat therapy is warranted because the hazard is not “open and obvious.”  By not carrying an adequate warning, the product packaging embodied a marketing defect.  The size of the sample that the woman received does not provide an adequate defense, as there are proven ways to convey warnings when the primary package is sample size.

Result: The case settled.

Categories: Product Liability | Product Packaging Expert | Sterling Anthony

Tags: Cannabis | CBD Oil | Consumer Safety | Medical Marijuana | Product Packaging | Warning Labels


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