What does US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mean?
The United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA or FDA) is a regulatory and enforcement agency under the United States Department of Health and Human Services. It is charged with overseeing the safe production, transport, sale, and consumption of all food, medicine, and cosmetic products in the United States.
The task of approving marijuana’s use for medicinal purposes ultimately falls under the guidance of this federal agency.
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The FDA is divided into four primary departments:
- Medical products and tobacco
- Foods and veterinary medicine
- Global regulatory operations
- Policy and USDA operations
Each department is charged with their respective tasks to ensure that producers are complying with all relevant legislation.
As of 2017, the FDA has yet to approve marijuana for any medicinal purposes. They have, however, approved two medications that either contain synthetic compounds found in marijuana or mimic their effects (Marinol and Syndros).
The FDA has indicated that they are working together with states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal use to ensure that any subsequent research follows protocols that the FDA has in place for non-cannabis medicines.
The agency states that they do not object to the clinical evaluation of medical marijuana, though to date they still have not approved any applications made to them for their development.