Part of the responsibilities of the Food and Drug Administration is to make sure products aren't claiming benefits that they don't provide. And now, according to the FDA commissioner, that means marijuana could be in the crosshairs.
FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb testified before Congress this week on a matter unrelated to marijuana. But somehow the conversation turned towards cannabis, which is when Gottlieb said the FDA may need to begin intervening when marijuana products claim unsubstantiated health benefits.
“I see people who are developing products who are making claims that marijuana has antitumor effects in the setting of cancer,” Gottlieb told Congress. “It’s a much broader question about where our responsibility is to step into this.”
He also said, “We’ll have some answers to this question very soon because I think we do bear some responsibility to start to address these questions."
While Gottlieb didn't offer any specifics, it's clear that the FDA is considering how to handle marijuana products and their various health claims.
The problem is there isn't an abundance of research on marijuana for the FDA to draw upon. There actually are studies that showed cannabis use both slowed the progression of cancer and even reduced tumors in some cases. But since the federal government continues to classify marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic, studies are rare and there isn't a ton of evidence to definitively prove what the drug can or cannot do.
But considering the federal government's history of rationality with marijuana, we're sure the FDA will go about this in the most reasonable manner.