For a “highly addictive drug with no medicinal value”, marijuana is the foundation of three separate medications that are currently on the market.
For the purposes of this article the first medication doesn’t really count because it’s not approved in the United States, but it’s still worth noting if only to point out how far behind our country is with regards to medicinal marijuana. Sativex is composed of both THC and CBD. It is currently being used in 25 countries to treat muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis.
Now for the meat of the story, the other two cannabis based medications available today have actually been approved by the FDA. Pharmaceutical companies AbbVie and Valeant (otherwise known as the highest bidders) have been approved to distribute Marinol and Cesamet. Both are used to treat the nauseous side effects of treatments such as chemotherapy and both are made of a synthetic form of THC.
The most interesting (and important) point to be stated here is that Marinol is classified as a Schedule 3 drug and Cesasmet is classified as Schedule 2. The irony here is that marijuana, the foundation for these lower scheduled drugs, is classified as a Schedule 1 by the DEA. (read more here: The Motley Fool)
What do the DEA schedules mean?
Schedule 1 is reserved for what the DEA considers to be the most dangerous of all drugs. they are said to have a high potential for abuse and no known medical value. Examples of schedule 1 drugs include heroin, LSD and marijuana.
Schedule 2 drugs are still considered to have a high potential for abuse, but they are also believed (by the DEA) to be less dangerous than Schedule 1 drugs. They are normally used to treat severe mental or physical dependence issues. Examples of schedule 2 drugs include cocaine, methamphetamine, Adderal and more. Yes, you read that right … our government considers cocaine and meth to be less dangerous than marijuana. Do they know how methamphetamines are made?!
Schedule 3 drugs are your standard prescription meds such as Vicodin, Tylenol with codeine, testosterone, etc.
(read more here: US Department of Justice)
Even more hypocritical is that the Department of Health and Human Services holds a patent on the use of CBD’s as a potential treatment for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. (read more here: US Patent 6630507) While I have a lot to say about our government holding a patent on a naturally occurring substance they have deemed illegal, that is another article for another day. For the purposes of this discussion, I’d like to question why there are so many different departments in charge of the taking different positions on the same thing. Keep in mind that it is a rhetorical question as we all know that our government can’t draw a straight line to anything, but it’s definitely time to start demanding more. There is no reason for there to be so many cooks in any kitchen … especially when the well being of American citizens are at stake.