The cannabis market has earned a reputation among enthusiasts as a potential key to unlocking improved treatments for serious diseases, like cancer. That said, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning on Wednesday (November 1) for all companies to restrain from marketing “products derived from marijuana” as cures or treatments for cancer.
The warning comes in the wake of certain companies claiming their products are able to treat or cure cancer. While the FDA accepts that cannabidiol (CBD) is used for several types of products in the market, the agency hasn’t approved it as part of any “any drug product for any indication.”
Cannabis analyst at 420 Investor Alan Brochstein told INN in an email, companies need to be “very careful” to not make any health claims with their products.
Alongside the general warning, the FDA issued official complaints against four business relating to the misleading marketing of their products. Greenroads Health, Natural Alchemist, That’s Natural! Marketing and Consulting, and Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises LLC, all received these complaints.
Brochstein told INN he is not aware of any time a publicly traded cannabis company has been called out by the FDA. Brochstein also said he is generally skeptical of companies in the public market focused on CBD.
In its notice, the FDA shared examples of the types of claims it intends to prevent, including lines claiming CBD “combats tumor and cancer cells.” The agency also included a claim saying “non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD (cannabidiol) may be effective in treating tumors from cancer – including breast cancer.”
Established hemp company receives warning
Brochstein further noted the warning sent to Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises LLC, relating to the CW Hemp company, selling products based on “hemp genetics,” whom he called “pioneers.”
The FDA signaled the “Everyday Dietary Supplement,” “Everyday Plus Dietary Supplement,” “Everyday Advanced Dietary Supplement” and “Charlotte’s Web Gel Pen” products as the direct target of their complaint against Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises LLC.
In its letter addressed directly to Joel Stanley, chief executive officer of the company, the FDA said these products would be classified as “new drugs” with no prior approval.
“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,” FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in the statement.
CW Hemp did not immediately reply to a request for comment by INN.
Lack of data has prevented more significant advancements for medical cannabis
In a previous interview with INN Dave Berg, chief technology officer for software company Strainprint, which collects data on cannabis strains for consumers, said the molecular composition of cannabis has made it complicated to study in a more traditional way.
“[I]t’s been very difficult for people to study cannabis in a clinical way, but there’s been a ton [of] observational data that clearly people have said ‘you know this is great for my arthritis, this is great for my tendonitis, this helped me through my cancer treatments or others.’
A lack of medical research data has slowed down discoveries relating to the medical elements of CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
“There’s no really strong observational data set that allows us to make proper decisions,” Berg added.
Back in August the deputy commissioner for policy, planning, legislation, and analysis for the FDA Anna K. Abram sent a notice requesting comments on the benefits of CBD alongside other substances.
“CBD has been shown to be beneficial in experimental models of several neurological disorders, including those of seizure and epilepsy,” the document indicated.
Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.