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FDA To Review Medical Claims About Marijuana

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A top Trump administration health official says the federal government may soon begin to proactively examine health claims that marijuana providers are making about their products.

“I see people who are developing products based on marijuana making all kinds of clinical claims in the market. I see people who are developing products making claims that marijuana has anti-tumor effects in the setting of cancer,” Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in an appearance before Congress on Tuesday.

“And I think reasonable people can ask reasonable questions about whether marijuana is a chemotherapeutic agent,” he said. “It’s a much broader question about where our responsibility is to step into this and start to ask questions about the claims that are being made… We’ll have some answers to this question very soon, because I think we do bear responsibility to start to address these questions.”

Gottlieb was responding to queries from Congressman Buddy Carter (R-GA) during a hearing before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health. The congressman said he feels the federal government is “putting their head in the sand” about the growing number of states that are allowing medical cannabis.

The FDA chief spoke about some 20 active investigational new drug projects the FDA is reviewing for marijuana products, pointing out that most of them are for extracts. “Delivering an active pharmaceutical ingredient through inhalation isn’t always the most efficient route.”

Without revealing when or how the agency would begin to review and weigh in on the issue of cannabis companies medical claims, he said, “We will address the sweep of these questions in time.”

Gottlieb’s remarks were first reported by Bloomberg.

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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