In a Wednesday press release, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration levied warnings against four companies whose products contain cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive component found in cannabis.
An Official Warning
The FDA formally issued warning letters to the following companies: Greenroads Health, Natural Alchemist, That’s Natural! Marketing and Consulting, and Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises LLC. Per the press release, the FDA believes the four corporations are “illegally selling products online that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure cancer without evidence to support these outcomes.”
The warnings come less than a month after FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb declared in a congressional meeting that the administration will further examine the health claims made by cannabis companies regarding their CBD products.
Gottlieb reaffirmed the policy in Wednesday’s release.
“Substances that contain components of marijuana will be treated like any other products that make unproven claims to shrink cancer tumors. We don’t let companies market products that deliberately prey on sick people with baseless claims that their substance can shrink or cure cancer and we’re not going to look the other way on enforcing these principles when it comes to marijuana-containing products,” said Gottlieb. “There are a growing number of effective therapies for many cancers. When people are allowed to illegally market agents that deliver no established benefit they may steer patients away from products that have proven, anti-tumor effects that could extend lives.”
The press release also provided examples of some claims made by the four companies on their websites, social media sites and online stores.
Per the release:
- “Combats tumor and cancer cells;”
- “CBD makes cancer cells commit ‘suicide’ without killing other cells;”
- “CBD … [has] anti-proliferative properties that inhibit cell division and growth in certain types of cancer, not allowing the tumor to grow;” and
- “Non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD (cannabidiol) may be effective in treating tumors from cancer – including breast cancer.”
Gottlieb added that while the FDA doesn’t have an issue with CBD products on the market, the administration prefers to see manufacturers have their products go through a standard drug approval process before making health claims.
“We have an obligation to provide caregivers and patients with the confidence that drugs making cancer treatment claims have been carefully evaluated for safety, efficacy, and quality, and are monitored by the FDA once they’re on the market,” Gottlieb noted. “We recognize that there’s interest in developing therapies from marijuana and its components, but the safest way for this to occur is through the drug approval process – not through unsubstantiated claims made on a website. We support sound, scientifically-based research using components derived from marijuana, and we’ll continue to work with product developers who are interested in bringing safe, effective, and quality products to market.”
Final Hit: FDA Sends Out Warnings To CBD Companies
While this does appear as somewhat of a hindrance to CBD companies, it’s hard to argue with the FDA’s stance on proper product testing. If anything, FDA-approval would add to the legitimacy of said products.
One of the main issues is the fact that cannabis is still considered a Schedule I narcotic by the federal government, which has restricted overall product testing and clinical trials. But it’s no secret that CBD has some miraculous medical benefits, and more likely than not, most of these health claims check out. It’s just a matter of the process of proving it.
If, or rather, when medicinal cannabis is approved on a federal scale, these issues will become, essentially, non-existent.