The Food and Drug Administration sent a stern message to marijuana companies making health claims: You’re breaking the law and putting patients at risk.
Four cannabis companies — including the Stanley Brothers, makers of the popular Charlotte’s Web CBD products — have been warned by the FDA to immediately stop marketing supplements as cancer cures.
“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,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said earlier this week in a statement.
“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,” Gottlieb added.
The FDA issued warning letters to four companies illegally selling products online that claim to “prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure cancer without evidence to support these outcomes.” The four companies — Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises, Green Roads of Florida, That’s Natural and Natural Alchemist — market products that promise patients a cure for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease or other serious ailments, according to the agency.
The FDA provided examples of claims made by these companies that do not comply with current policy:
- “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.”
Tisha Casida, CEO of That’s Natural, told the New York Times that she would comply with the agency’s demands. But she disagrees with the FDA’s stance. She told the Times:
“All free people have a right to experience health and wellness from naturally derived cannabinoids. We should not have to only take FDA-approved synthesized drugs. We should be able to experience natural plant-based medicine in its truest form.’’