By Lanny Swerdlow, RN, LNC
Next year, the patent on Marinol—the synthetic version of THC—comes to an end, opening the market for synthetic THC distribution to all takers. Pharmaceutical companies know a cash cow when they see it and they are lining up en masse to produce their version of Marinol.
Sativex, produced by UK firm GW Pharmaceuticals, distributed in Canada and in many European countries and is in stage III trials in the U.S., utilizes naturally derived THC from the cannabis plant in its sublingual spray. A number of pharmaceutical companies have petitioned to use similar naturally derived THC rather than its more costly to produce synthetic version.
This is Big Pharma asking for legal medical marijuana now. With their legions of lobbyists on Capitol Hill and tens of millions of dollars pouring into the re-election war chests of politicians of both political parties, they are likely to get their way.
Now that may not seem fair that patients and small time collective operators get jail and fat cat corporate executives get to rake in billions for doing the same thing, but that’s the way it goes in this country. Giant corporations call all the shots in Washington and with the unfathomable number of deluded Americans enthusiastically supporting the corporate welfare-toting Tea Party pandering legislators, it’s only going to get worse.
Since the amount of money Big Pharma will make on the sale of medicinal marijuana will be directly proportional to the volume of marijuana consumed by patients, what do you think the pharmaceutical companies will do—instruct their lobbyist to seek legislation restricting the sale of marijuana only to people with one foot in the grave or start advertising on TV?
Since there will be no longer be an exclusive patent on producing THC derived medications, no one company can control the distribution and hence charge monopoly prices. With competition from a multitude of pharmaceutical corporations wanting their slice of this new multi-billion dollar pie, good old-fashioned American competition and innovation will drive prices down, down, down.
Of course, the widespread use of marijuana could cost pharmaceutical companies billions in lost sales of analgesics (painkillers), anti-psychotics and sleeping pills. Although these are amongst the most profitable drugs they produce, those loses will be dwarfed by the billions taken in from having total control of the legal marijuana market.
No one knows what form it will be in. Marinol is a pill, Sativex is a spray, but since it is going to be all about money, no doubt some innovative company will find some way to deliver this natural product in its natural form.
To obtain Big Pharma’s marijuana, you will get the old-fashioned prescription from a doctor instead of the new-fangled recommendation. Getting a prescription should be as easy as a getting a recommendation. Like Marinol, marijuana will be a Schedule III drug, which is much less tightly regulated than Schedule II drugs, which require special prescription pads with reporting to the DEA. Doctors hand out prescriptions for Schedule III drugs such as Vicodin like water, so it will be extremely easy to obtain a marijuana prescription from almost any doctor.
Not only will it be easy to get, but your insurance company will pay for the doctor visit. They might even pay for your marijuana. Why shouldn’t they? Insurance companies will save billions on the medications that doctors won’t have to prescribe because their patients have chosen to use marijuana instead.
Another major benefit for patients of having Big Pharma control marijuana distribution would be that since marijuana would be a prescription medicine, it would not be subject to taxes. The onerous prospects of a $50 to $100 per-ounce tax or the current business and sales taxes now being levied on collectives by cash-strapped cities would vanish. Since marijuana can be produced relatively cheaply if it is a legal crop, marijuana would become cheaper than aspirin.
Lanny Swerdlow, RN, LNC, hosts Marijuana Compassion& Common Sense every Monday at 6PM on Inland Empire talk radio station KCAA 1050AM and simulcast at http://www.kcaaradio.com. He can be reached at (760) 799-2055 or email@example.com.
Article from Culture Magazine and republished with special permission
Posts Tagged ‘fake marijuana’
Synthetic marijuana is interesting because of who would choose to use it. Yes, marijuana is illegal, especially on the recreational front, but weed dealers abound, and it’s easily the most common drug you’ll find just about everywhere. College dorm room, city street corner, random dude’s apartment, NYC mother’s medicine cabinet, the list could go on and on because there is such a ubiquitous nature to the drug, so what’s with this synthetic stuff?
What’s the allure? I get the allure of other drugs, but why would you want a synthetic compound nature grows so fabulously on it’s own? Why am I posing this question to imaginary readers, and why am I now posing a question to myself about asking imaginary readers (aside from the usual drivel about egomaniacal behavior); it’s because the inventor of synthetic marijuana DOES NOT WANT YOU TO SMOKE IT. READ ON to find out why (if my lede and your common sense didn’t answer the question for you already).
He’s now Professor Emeritus at South Carolina, but John Huffman is the inventor of the fake cannabis you see on the market today. As an organic chemist at Auburn University, Professor Huffman invented the appetite stimulant known as JWH 018–which mimics the effects of THC. The JWH -018 compound he invented was used to make the cannabinoids like Kronic you could enjoy as synthetic marijuana (until the DEA banned it).
The use of his work did not surprise him at all, “He said he was ‘not the least bit surprised’ that the compound had been adapted to make cannabinoids, such as Kronic, which was widely available throughout New Zealand and Australia.” That doesn’t mean he’s not concerned with its use, and he did not equivocate when asked whether people should indulge in the cannabinoid knock-offs that have sprung up in the wake of his discovery:
“It can lead to serious psychological problems… It’s not known if they are irreversible.”
Imitation-cannabis products, largely manufactured in China, were marketed in the US as Spice or K2, and producers “wouldn’t listen as long as they are making money”, he said.
However, Professor Huffman stopped short of recommending NZ ban or even reclassify the product.
“It’s probably useless. Marijuana has been illegal in the United States since 1937.”
Well, it’s illegal unless the new bill gets passed, but Professor Hoffman isn’t the only one who warns against the synthetic alternatives.
One person supporting a ban is Dr Leo Schep, a toxicologist with the Dunedin-based National Poisons Centre, who said people should take heed of Professor Huffman’s warnings over the effects of synthetic cannabis.
“He would know this product better than anyone else in the world.
“If he said don’t use it, I would respect that opinion.”
There is a lot of tasty nugget out there which isn’t a cheap knock-off that may or may not be legal or good for you. Marijuana is from the earth, and the only side-effects after centuries of testing is munchies and giggling (there are others–but this is a pro marijuana blog and I don’t have the time to get into them). Stick with real herb, and leave the synthetic crap to idiots that are too scared or stupid to find the real thing. It’s just not worth it.