NOV 09, 2017 10:12 PM PST

FDA Acts on Bogus Marijuana-based Cancer Therapeutics

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings because of four companies that are marketing unproven marijuana-based products as preventing, treating or even curing cancer. That is an illegal act because the claims are unsubstantiated. The FDA sent letters were sent to Greenroads Health, Natural Alchemist, That's Natural! Marketing and Consulting and Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises LLC. The products being sold online by these companies supposedly contain a chemical found in marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD), which has not been approved by the FDA as a drug product for any condition.

"Substances that contain components of marijuana will be treated like any other products that make unproven claims to shrink cancer tumors," said FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb. "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."

"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."

Many products that contain CBD have entered the market, like teas, oils, syrups, capsules, creams, and lotions. They are being sold as therapeutics that can reverse or halt cancer, or other serious diseases including Alzheimer’s. There is, however, no evidence to back up these sweeping pronouncements that are unfortunately directed at very vulnerable people. 

Not only is the sale and marketing of these items a clear violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, it could also be putting people’s health in serious jeopardy. People may be seeking out and using these kinds of drugs instead of obtaining medical care from health professionals, which could seriously hinder a patient’s ability to get well. 

"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.

While marijuana may have tremendous potential as a medicinal product, the FDA wants sellers to prove their claims before peddling these products as therapeutics./Image Credit: Marijuana Wellness Products, Hollywood, Portland, Oregon / Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Another Believer

The FDA has sent over 90 letters in the past ten years to address this issue. The agency noted that over 25 products have been sold as inhibitors of “cell division and growth with certain types of cancer,” which contain a chemical that “combats tumor and cancer cells” because "CBD makes cancer cells commit suicide without killing other cells.”
 
The FDA is not against products that contain chemicals derived from marijuana; they only want to make sure they are safe and effective before being sold to people who need help. "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,” Commissioner Gottlieb concluded.

Doctors and patients are encouraged to come forward if they have an adverse reaction, or quality issue with an “FDA-regulated drug, biologic, medical device, dietary supplement or cosmetic.” Their MedWatch program also looks for counterfeit medical devices.

Source: FDA

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
MAR 11, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
MAR 11, 2020
Generating Human Tissues in Space
Researchers from the University of Zurich are studying how weightlessness impacts the production of human tissue.
MAR 29, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
MAR 29, 2020
Learning More About Boosting Immunity in Older Adults
Older adults are more susceptible to infections and don't generate a robust immune response after a vaccination.
APR 09, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
APR 09, 2020
A Model of Spinal Development Provides Insight Into Disease
The spinal column develops from a row of structures called somites, which bud off sequentially in a process called somit ...
APR 20, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
APR 20, 2020
Worst COVID-19 Cases May be Caused by Immune Cell Overactivity
The SARS-CoV-2 virus causea huge range of symptoms, and researchers are learning more about the worst cases, which may h ...
APR 23, 2020
Cardiology
APR 23, 2020
Arteries Respond in Different Ways in Females and Males
Exploring Arterial Smooth Muscle Kv7 Potassium Channel Function using Patch Clamp Electrophysiology and Pressure Myograp ...
MAY 06, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
MAY 06, 2020
SARS-CoV-2 Can Infect Intestinal Cells
Once thought to cause symptoms that primarily affect the respiratory system, there has been evidence that the virus can ...
Loading Comments...