FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Pharmaceuticalization of Marijuana

by FRED GARDNER

G.W. Does the “Right” Thing

A hitherto reliable source says that G.W. Pharmaceuticals has hired Andrea Barthwell, MD, to lobby for approval of its cannabis-plant extracts in the U.S. G.W. manufactures a high-THC spray called Sativex that is awaiting marketing approval in Britain and Canada. They also make a high-CBD formulation, and a 50-50 mix. Barthwell, a specialist in addiction medicine, is a liberal Republican from Illinois. She was employed for two years in the Office of National Drug Control Policy under Bush’s “drug czar,” John Walters, and she left with an eye towards running for the Senate (for the seat that was won by Barak Obama).

G.W. has also hired John Pastuovic, who headed the Bush-Cheney campaign in Illinois in 2000, to handle public relations in the U.S. The implication of the hires is that G.W. founders Geoffrey Guy and Brian Whittle will use any means necessary to push their products as alternatives to smoked marijuana. Our source says, “As a stockholder -bravo! As a citizen -what a shame!” Lester Grinspoon, MD, foresaw this development several years ago and defined G.W.’s approach as “the pharmaceuticalization of marijuana.” After O’Shaughnessy’s published an article by Grinspoon, Guy expressed slightly hurt feelings, which I tried to assuage with a song. Approval by Britain or Canada will assuage them a lot better, no doubt.

Sativa is a pretty plant
It grows tall and green
With 68 cannabinoids
And the spicy-sweet terpenes
Guy says I can market this
I’ll put it in a spray
Grinspoon says let’s grow our own
Why should people have to pay?

Guy says some prefer it neat
And some don’t like the high
Grinspoon says the government
Won’t even let ’em try
Euphoria’s a side effect
Could do a lot of good
Guys says I’m all for ya, please
Don’t let me be misunderstood

We’re dealing with a system that
Is not about to change
Grinspoon says why not
Reinvent the grange?
And let a thousand farmers grow
Every helpful strain…
Guy says my approval wasn’t easy
Or cheap to almost obtain

Sativex is a useful drug
It bears the Bayer brand
Grinspoon shrugs his shoulders
Takes the bottle in his hand
“You’re right from your side
And I am right from mine
We’re just one too many mornings
And a thousand miles behind…”

 

Dueling Anti-inflammatories

This month the FDA ordered Pfizer to stop selling Bextra, a Cox-2 anti-inflammatory drug known to cause heart attacks and strokes, but made two moves in the drug company’s interests. Pfizer is allowed to keep marketing its top-selling Cox-2 inhibitor, Celebrex, with a “black box” warning. And, at the same time, the makers of other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories have been ordered to carry black-box warnings. So, millions of arthritis sufferers and other chronic pain patients are likely to conclude that Celebrex is as safe as the others -which it isn’t- and keep taking it.

Meanwhile, the April 7 issue of Nature published a study entitled “Low dose oral cannabinoid therapy reduces progression of atherosclerosis in mice” by a group of Swiss and German investigators led by Francois Mach. They fed THC in doses of one milligram per kilogram of body weight to mice with clogged arteries and found that cells involved in plaque formation “showed diminished proliferation capacity.” The effects were blocked by a CB2 receptor antagonist. Mach et al concluded, “THC or cannabinoids with activity at the CB2 receptor may be valuable targets for treating atherosclerosis.”

But don’t let ’em have any marijuana in the meantime.
Prop 215 Demographics

As the Drug Warriors strive to curtail implementation of California’s medical marijuana law, they increasingly invoke “the will of the voters.” It is now being alleged by politicians, editorial writers and law enforcement agents (whose unions strongly opposed Prop 215) that we, the voters didn’t really intend to authorize use of marijuana as a treatment for any condition for which it provides relief. Nor did we mean to confer immunity on doctors by the words “no physician in this state shall be punished, or denied any right or privilege, for having recommended marijuana to a patient for medical purposes.”

Although the meaning of the vote might be obscured, the margin of victory -56 to 44 per cent- is a historic fact. A more detailed breakdown was provided by the Los Angeles Times, which queried 2,473 Californians as they exited 40 polling places across the state on November 5, 1996. For the record:

% of All Voters Yes No
47% Male 53% 47%
53% Female 58% 42%

AGE
19% 18-29 62% 38%
35% 30-44 60% 40%
35% 45-64 53% 47%
11% 65 and Older 40% 60%

RACE/ETHNICITY
74% White 56% 44%
7% Black 70% 30%
10% Latino 49% 51%
5% Asian 49% 51%

EDUCATION
20% High School or Less 49% 51%
29% Some College 58% 42%
27% College or More 56% 44%
24% Postgraduate 58% 42%

INCOME
12% Less Than $20,000 62% 38%
24% $20,000 to $39,999 56% 44%
23% $40,000 to $59,999 51% 49%
15% $60,000 to $74,999 54% 46%
26% $75,000 or more 59% 41%

POLITICAL IDE0LOGY
21% Liberal 78% 22%
47% Moderate 63% 37%
32% Conservative 29% 71%

POLITICAL AFFILIATION
45% Democrats 70% 30%
14% Independents 65% 35%
38% Republicans 34% 66%

RELIGION
49% Protestant 44% 56%
24% Catholic 54% 46%
6% Jewish 75% 25%

FRED GARDNER can be reached at journal@ccrmg.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fred Gardner is the managing editor of O’Shaughnessy’s. He can be reached at fred@plebesite.com

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Lewis Evans
Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
David Rovics
The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Phillip Kim et al.
Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
Jeffrey St. Clair
Night of the Hollow Men: Notes From the Democratic Convention
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail