FDA Slaps Four Companies for Marketing Cannabidiol Products as Disease Treatments

November 3, 2017

The FDA warned four companies for illegally branding cannabidiol products as treatments for cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Cannabidiol (CBD), derived from the marijuana plant, is not approved for use in any drug products. It is marketed in various forms including capsules, syrups, lotions and oil drops. The FDA issued warning letters for products that marketed CBD products with unsubstantiated claims that it could prevent or cure cancer, as well as inhibiting tumors or cancer cells. The companies also marketed some products as Alzheimer’s treatments.

The agency issued warning letters to Natural Alchemist, Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises, Greenroads Health and That’s Natural! Marketing and Consulting, listing more than two dozen products.

The unsubstantiated claims included that it “combats tumor and cancer cells,” and how “non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD (cannabidiol) may be effective in treating tumors from cancer —including breast 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,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, in a comment on the warnings.

“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,” he said.

The enforcement action comes as part of an increased FDA crackdown on fraudulent or unsubstantiated claims that products that claim to treat or cure cancer. In April, the agency warned 14 companies for false or unsubstantiated claims that their products, ranging from pills to topical creams, treated cancer. In the past 10 years, the FDA has warned companies and online retailers for unapproved cancer claims on more than 90 occasions.

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