Historic First Proves Marijuana is Indeed Medicine
OTTAWA, CANADA -- The Canadian government today announced final approval of a natural marijuana extract, sold under the brand name Sativex, as a prescription drug. The action marks the first time a natural marijuana product has been approved for prescription sale anywhere in the Western Hemisphere since marijuana prohibition was instituted in the last century.
Sativex -- a liquid that is sprayed into the mouth -- has been initially approved for treatment of neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis patients.
"This confirms that virtually everything the U.S. government has told us about marijuana is wrong," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "GW Pharmaceuticals has proven -- and the Canadian government has Acknowledged -- that marijuana is indeed a medicine, one that is both effective and remarkably safe. This natural plant extract is nothing like Marinol, the THC pill sold in the United States, and GW's research shows conclusively that marijuana's medical benefits go far beyond THC."
Kampia noted that Sativex is, for all practical purposes, marijuana in liquid form. Made from marijuana plants bred for specific levels of various active components, called cannabinoids, Sativex resembles marijuana extracts and tinctures that were legally available in the United States -- manufactured by major drug companies and sold through pharmacies -- until the federal government banned marijuana in 1937.
In clinical trials, Sativex relieved MS-related pain and sleep disturbance that were not helped by standard drugs, with remarkably few side effects.
"This product offers patients and doctors a new option, and we hope Americans will have access to it soon, though at this point no one knows how many years that may take," Kampia said. "The bottom line is that patients should have access to marijuana in whatever form they and their doctors find most useful. Sativex is to marijuana as a cup of coffee is to coffee beans, and there is simply no justification for arresting patients for using different varieties of the same medication. In addition, marijuana in its natural form has significant advantages, including low cost and nearly instantaneous relief of symptoms. While we wait for Sativex to reach the U.S., the cruel and pointless policy of arresting medical marijuana patients should stop now."
With more than 17,000 members and 150,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. For more information, please visit http://www.MarijuanaPolicy.org.
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