The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is issuing warning letters to four manufacturers of products containing marijuana component cannabidiol (CBD).
The companies are, in the FDA’s view, “illegally selling products online that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure cancer without evidence to support these outcomes.”
The move, announced Wednesday, comes less than a month after FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a Congressional hearing that the agency would soon begin to proactively examine health claims that marijuana providers are making about their products.
“Substances that contain components of marijuana will be treated like any other products that make unproven claims to shrink cancer tumors,” Gottlieb said in a press release about the new letters. “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.”
Medical marijuana is legal in 29 states, as well as in Guam and Puerto Rico. Studies have shown that it can have some benefits in reducing anxiety, counteracting some types of nausea, and that it may relieve some symptoms of glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.
A cannabis derivative called cannabidiol or CBD for short has been shown to help kids with a severe form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome and perhaps it can help treat Parkinson’s disease.
The companies targeted by FDA are Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises LLC, Greenroads Health, Natural Alchemist and That’s Natural! Marketing and Consulting.
“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,” Gottlieb said. “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.”