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























 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 04, 2015
Vincent J. Roscigno
University Bureaucracy as Organized Crime
Paul Street
Bernie Sanders’ Top Five Race Problems: the Whiteness of Nominal Socialism
Ramzy Baroud
The Palestinian Bubble and the Burning of Toddler, Ali Dawabsha
Herbert Dyer, Jr.
Is White Supremacy a Mental Disorder?
Pepe Escobar
Reshuffling Eurasia’s Energy Deck — Iran, China and Pipelineistan
L. Michael Hager
The Battle Over BDS
Eric Draitser
Puerto Rico: Troubled Commonwealth or Debt Colony?
Colin Todhunter
Hypnotic Trance in Delhi: Monsanto, GMOs and the Looting of India’s Agriculture
Benjamin Willis
The New Cubanologos: What’s in a Word?
Matt Peppe
60 Minutes Provides Platform for US Military
Binoy Kampmark
The Turkish Mission: Reining in the Kurds
Eoin Higgins
Teaching Lessons of White Supremacy in Prime-Time: Blackrifice in the Post-Apocalyptic World of the CW’s The 100
Gary Corseri
Gaza: Our Child’s Shattered Face in the Mirror
Robert Dodge
The Nuclear World at 70
Paula Bach
Exit the Euro? Polemic with Greek Economist Costas Lapavitsas
August 03, 2015
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Atomic Era Turns 70, as Nuclear Hazards Endure
Nelson Valdes
An Internet Legend: the Pope, Fidel and the Black President
Robert Hunziker
The Perfectly Nasty Ocean Storm
Jack Dresser
The Case of Alison Weir: Two Palestinian Solidarity Organizations Borrow from Joe McCarthy’s Playbook
Ahmad Moussa
Incinerating Palestinian Children
Greg Felton
Greece Succumbs to Imperialist Banksterism
Binoy Kampmark
Stalling the Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Failure of the Hawai’i Talks
Ted Rall
My Letter to Nick Goldberg of the LA Times
Mark Weisbrot
New Greek Bailout Increases the Possibility of Grexit
Jose Martinez
Black/Hispanic/Women: a Leadership Crisis
Victor Grossman
German Know-Nothings Today
Patrick Walker
We’re Not Sandernistas: Reinventing the Wheels of Bernie’s Bandwagon
Norman Pollack
Moral Consequences of War: America’s Hegemonic Thirst
Ralph Nader
Republicans Support Massive Tax Evasion by Starving IRS Budget
Alexander Reid Ross
Colonial Pride and the Killing of Cecil the Lion
Suhayb Ahmed
What’s Happening in Britain: Jeremy Corbyn and the Future of the Labour Party
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington