The Food and Drug Administration has sent a warning letter to four CBD companies demanding that they stop making claims that their products “prevent, diagnose or cure cancer” without evidence to back their claims. Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises, the makers of Charlotte’s Web, are among the four companies to receive the letters, along with Greenroads Health, Natural Alchemist, and That’s Natural! Marketing and Consulting.
Specifically, the agency takes issue with the companies’ claims that CBD shrinks tumors and “combats cancer cells,” CBD makes cancer cells “commit suicide” without harming healthy cells, and that CBD products prohibit cancer cell proliferation.
“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 Dr. Scott Gottlieb 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.”
CW Hemp, the Stanley Brothers’ company, indicated in an NBC News report that they had not made such claims and blamed customer testimonials for going too far, promising to work with the FDA to “better monitor” how they share third-party customer testimonials on social media and the CW Hemp website.
“Our customers love to share their very personal stories about how our products helped improve their lives or those of their loved ones,” the company said in a statement to NBC News.
Tisha Casida, the CEO of That’s Natural!, said that while the company would comply with the FDA request to remove the language, she maintains that consuming CBD is an “individual’s natural and constitutional right.”
“Anything that comes naturally from a plant should never be able to be taken away from the people,” she said in an email with CBS News. “People have a right to grow and consume plant-based medicines without the approval of any government agency.”