WEED FEED / John Ross Ferrara / Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 @ 10:38 a.m.

Weed Feed: FDA Warns Companies to Stop Making Unproven Claims That Cannabis Can Prevent, Cure Cancer

Graphic by John Ferrara.

The FDA has sent out a warning letter to several companies making unfounded claims that their cannabis products can prevent, slow or cure serious diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s.

According to a statement put out by the FDA last week, the federal agency has requested the companies correct these fraudulent claims or face legal action, including product seizure and injunction.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in the statement that the federal agency will not allow marijuana companies to prey on sick people by claiming their products offer unproven health benefits.

“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,” Gottlieb said. “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 letter was sent to four companies: Greenroads HealthNatural AlchemistThat’s Natural! Marketing and Consulting and Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises LLC.

The FDA claims that all four companies made unsubstantiated claims tied to more than 25 different products through web pages, online stores and social media posts.

“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 said. “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.”


The Weed Feed is a weekly column written by John Ross Ferrara.

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