The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just reprimanded four major companies for their claims surrounding cannabis-based products and their effects on cancer.
In a press announcement released by the FDA on November 1, 2017, four companies—Greenroads Health, Natural Alchemist, That’s Natural! Marketing and Consulting, and Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises LLC—are being accused of engaging in “deceptive marketing” and “health fraud” due to their claims that their cannabidiol (CBD) products could help treat cancer patients.
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“The FDA has grown increasingly concerned at the proliferation of products claiming to treat or cure serious diseases like cancer,” the press release said. “The deceptive marketing of unproven treatments may keep some patients from accessing appropriate, recognized therapies to treat serious and even fatal diseases.”
To combat these false statements, the FDA issued warning letters to the companies in question and publicly announced their specific violations, some of which include claims that their products do the following: “combat tumor and cancer cells, make cancer cells commit ‘suicide’ without killing other cells, has anti-proliferative properties that inhibit cell division and growth in certain types of cancer, and may be effective in treating tumors from cancer—including breast cancer.”
Clearly these claims can be dangerous, especially if patients choose to forgo traditional cancer treatments and opt to trust these products as their solution instead. “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 FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD. “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.”
While there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the usage of marijuana in cancer remedies, there is no sufficient, scientific evidence to support the idea that cannabis can cure cancer. “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,” concluded Gottlieb.
The FDA is requesting that the companies under scrutiny respond to the recent warning letters with ways in which they will correct the violations listed above. If they choose to ignore the agency’s request, they may be met with “legal action, including product seizure and injection.”