The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warning letters to four companies illegally marketing products, derived from marijuana, that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure cancer without supportive evidence. 

The warning letters were targeted to manufacturers of products that allegedly contain cannabidiol (CBD), a part of the marijuana plant that is not approved in any drug for any indication. The companies had distributed over 25 different CBD-derived products with ‘unsubstantiated claims’ to prevent, reverse or cure cancer; kill/inhibit cancer cells or tumors; or other similar anti-cancer claims. Moreover, some of the products were marketed  as adjunct or alternative therapies for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and other serious conditions. The illegal products were marketed on webpages, online stores, and social media websites. CBD can be found in various formulations such as capsules, syrups, teas, lotions, and creams. 

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“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. 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,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD.

The FDA has requested responses from the companies to state correctional steps; failure to do so may result in legal action. 

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