FDA Chief Hints at Marijuana Reform, But Offers Few Details | Marijuana

FDA Chief Hints at Marijuana Reform, But Offers Few Details

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Federal action on marijuana policy is inevitable and will happen “soon,” according to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

Exactly what kind of action he’s anticipating is unclear, though. After dismissing the idea that botanical cannabis has therapeutic value, Gottlieb said in a CNBC appearance Nov. 16, 2018, that there’s “probably going to be a policy reckoning around this at some point in the future.”

“Obviously it’s happening at the state level, and I think there’s an inevitably that it’s going to happen at the federal level at some point soon,” he said.

Gottlieb’s comments could be interpreted as a suggestion that legalization is happening at the state level and the end of federal cannabis prohibition is the inevitability. Or the “policy reckoning” could be some kind of increased enforcement of federal marijuana laws.

If it’s the former, it’s possible that the commissioner could be alluding to a bipartisan bill that would amend the Controlled Substances Act to exempt state-legal marijuana activity from its provisions — a piece of legislation that Gottlieb’s boss, President Donald Trump, said he “really” supports.

In response to Marijuana Moment’s request for clarification, an FDA spokesperson said, “Unfortunately I don’t have anything additional to share.”

During the CNBC interview, “Squawk Box” co-anchor Joe Kernen claimed that “every spirits and wine company sees a huge opportunity in cannabis” and asked if the country will be “OK” if marijuana becomes as common as alcohol.

“Because it’s a different high, it’s a different feeling,” Kernen said. “You know, you can have two drinks — if you take two hits of the way pot is nowadays, it’s like terminal pricing. You get there right away.”

“Is society going to survive OK, do you think?”

Gottlieb said that recreational marijuana doesn’t “fall within our purview right now” and then talked about the agency’s role in policing medical claims that some companies have made about cannabis.

The FDA issued warning letters to several manufacturers of cannabidiol (CBD) products in 2017 claiming the businesses were “illegally selling products online that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure cancer without evidence to support these outcomes.”

“But look, we do regulate compounds that are making drug claims and we regulate botanical use of marijuana,” the commissioner said in the TV interview. “We have approved compounds derived from marijuana, but there is no demonstrated medical use of botanical marijuana. That’s the bottom line.”

“All the people who are making claims around botanical marijuana — medical claims around it and around its purported benefits — those haven’t been demonstrated.”

Of course, there have been numerous studies demonstrating that botanical cannabis has medical value, but this isn’t the first time that Gottlieb has drawn that distinction. In September 2018, appearing on the same news program, the commissioner said he worried about the impact of natural marijuana on the lungs and developing brains.

At the same time, however, he signaled support for federal marijuana decriminalization.

Gottlieb seems especially bullish about researching and approving synthetically produced cannabinoids or medicines derived from cannabis like Epidiolex, a CBD epilepsy medication the FDA approved earlier this year.

That said, in the process of approving Epidiolex, the FDA also concluded that CBD doesn’t really deserve to be federally scheduled at all. The ingredient has “negligible potential for abuse” and “currently accepted medical use in treatment,” the agency said.

This article has been republished from Marijuana Moment under a content syndication agreement. Read the original article here.

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2 Comments

  1. It sounds very much to me like the FDA is spouting carefully engineered, highly selective Reefer Madness for the perpetual purpose of shilling for Corporate America, at the expense of actual people: American citizens.
    ..
    Here’s the give-away: it defies credulity that an agency SPECIFICALLY TASKED with responsibility for both FOOD and DRUGS could be so ignorant as to “dismiss the idea that botanical cannabis has therapeutic value” while simultaneously promoting its own, corporate-approved, products for sale. More likely, this is a grand display of Willful Ignorance for the sake of profit.
    ..
    Gottleib is talking out of both sides of his mouth when he says “We have approved compounds derived from marijuana, but there is no demonstrated medical use of botanical marijuana. That’s the bottom line.”
    ..
    The difference is Money. Money, Money, Money. In other words, with respect to cannabis, it’s medicine for the affluent, and prison for the rest of us.

  2. Every office holder will have to decide if rewarding financial sponsors like pharmaceutical companies will influence or corrupt their regulatory decisions. I read all the studies and the rainbow effect of botanical Cannabis is by far the most preferred and is [highly] evaluated as best for success regarding health benefits.

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