In November, the New York Times reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned a number of companies selling marijuana dietary supplements with the claim that they cured cancer.
While there have been numerous scientific studies showing health benefits related to marijuana consumption, the FDA has drawn a line in the sand for companies that claim that pot cures the disease.
Canopi Cannabis Dispensaries looks at the ruling, the claims, and the scientific fact.
FDA Warning to Curb Misleading Advertising
The FDA issued a warning letter to four companies:
- Greenroads Health
- Natural Alchemist
- That’s Natural! Marketing and Consulting
- Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises LLC.
The FDA press release that accompanied the warning letter stated that these distributors had more than 25 products that falsely claimed to treat or cure cancer. These products contained cannabidiol (CBD) a part of the marijuana plant that isn’t FDA approved to treat any illness, let alone cure cancer, as the products claimed.
These products included drops, capsules, teas, syrups, lotions, and more. The FDA cited these products for advertising that stated these products:
- Prevented cancer;
- Reversed or cured cancer;
- Inhibited the growth of cancer cells;
- Or other anti-cancer health claims.
The FDA Commissioner stated that there are a growing number of powerful therapies for many types of cancer. However, the FDA press release state:
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…”
In early 2017 The National Academics of Sciences Engineering and Medicine conducted a thorough review of the existing literature related to the scientific benefits of cannabis consumption. The committed determined:
- Based on the current cannabis research, there is conclusive evidence that cannabis is effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults.
- That cannabis helps with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
- That it also helps with multiple sclerosis spasticity symptoms.
Current research also shows “moderate evidence” that marijuana consumption helps with obstructive sleep apnea and fibromyalgia. The comprehensive study also suggested:
There is no or insufficient evidence to support or refute the conclusion that cannabis or cannabinoids are an effective treatment for cancers…
What the analysis of scientific studies to date proves is simply that more research needs to be done. Because marijuana is still listed as a Schedule I substance at the federal level, it is very difficult to achieve grant dollars to research the plant. Schedule I substances have no medical benefit, according to the federal law. Clearly, with this federally sponsored study, it’s clear that even the narrow amount of research is showing that there are real medical benefits to cannabis.
With more than 28 states moving to legalize some form of cannabis consumption, the federal government’s effort to still criminalize pot is as misguided as it is harmful to millions of Americans suffering from physical illness.