Scores of companies that sell cannabidiol (CBD) products were shocked on November 1 to find a warning letter from The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA warned against making claims about the efficacy of CBD for ailments such as cancer and other illnesses.
The Stanley Brothers, who developed the life-saving CBD-rich product Charlotte’s Web, received a warning letter on October 31. Charlotte’s Web was named after Charlotte Figi, who stopped having 300 seizures per day, thanks to cannabis oil. Natural Alchemist, Greenroads Health and That’s Natural! also received letters.
“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,” warned FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “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.”
Baseless claims? There are innumerable clinical tests to support CBD’s efficacy against intractable cancer and embolisms, and the list keeps on growing. 20,000 published studies makes cannabis the most studied plant on Earth, according to NORML. Despite the massive trove of evidence, companies cannot claim medical benefits in the United States without FDA approval.
The FDA doesn’t deny CBD’s efficacy altogether, however. “CBD has been shown to be beneficial in experimental models of several neurological disorders, including those of seizure and epilepsy,” the FDA admitted last August, while continuing to reject the approval of CBD.
An FDA approval does not necessarily have any bearing on the safety of medical products. Take Fentanyl, for instance, which the FDA approved in 2006. By 2016, Fentanyl and its analogues have killed 20,100 people.
In order to keep the FDA off of the trail, companies must be extremely careful about the wording of medical claims.