On Nov. 1, 2017, the FDA announced that it had sent warning letters to four CBD companies illegally selling products with false or misleading medical claims. Company marketing materials included claims that products could prevent, reverse or cure cancer; kill or thwart the growth of cancer and tumors; or treat Alzheimer’s, among other diseases.
“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,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., in a press release. “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.”
The FDA’s letter was sent to the following CBD companies: Greenroads Health, Natural Alchemist, That’s Natural! Marketing and Consulting and Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises LLC.
Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises LLC, doing business as CW Hemp, is the Colorado-based company behind Charlotte’s Web, a high-CBD strain, which the Stanley brothers believe prompted the increased acceptance of and demand for hemp-derived CBD.
“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 added.
This isn’t the first time the FDA has warned CBD companies about making false medical claims. The agency sent a round of letters back in 2015 and another round in 2016.
The FDA has asked the four CBD companies to reply with explanations as to how they will correct the violations, noting that failure to do so could result in legal action, such as product seizure and injunction.