The US approved the first-ever synthetic THC oil as a treatment for serious health conditions such as AIDS and cancer. Yet, it is still listing cannabis as a Schedule I drug that “has no medicinal value and a high risk for abuse”, despite evidence to the contrary.
Contradicting the United States’ official stance on that cannabis doesn’t provide any real medicinal benefit, federal health agencies in the US have approved synthetic versions of cannabis’ psychoactive components for the treatment of various health conditions in recent years.
One cannot help but see the irony in the fact that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the organization that poses one of the obstacles on the way to cannabis legalization, has just approved a liquid variety of synthetic THC that will be available as a treatment for AIDS and cancer patients.
Phoenix based Insys Therapeutics, a company widely known for the sale of the lethal drug Fentanyl as well as their opposition of Cannabis legalization. As reported in a previous article, Insys donated $660k to fight legalization in Arizona and now they want a piece of the “legalization” pie. As it turns out, Insys is among the long list of companies that are now wanting to get a foothold in the multi-million dollar medical cannabis market with their FDA-approved form of Dronabinol, which is a liquid THC synthetic (not in any way, is this cannabis or concentrate. this is lab made synthetic THC). The drug that will be sold under the name Syndros has already been approved for the treatment of “anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with AIDS, and nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy in patients who have failed to respond adequately to conventional anti-emetic treatments”.
It is to be expected that Syndros will be classified as a Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act, indicating accepted medical use and “low to moderate potential for abuse”. In contrast to this, cannabis is still considered a Schedule I drug which means that it is federally illegal, similar and equal to heroin.
Dronabinol itself is the generic name for Marinol, which is a synthetic cannabinoid pill that is on the market for more than three decades. Marinol is listed as a Schedule III but it never got very popular due to its potentially dysphoric side effects, delayed action or simply non-effective to patients.
Dronabinol will be offered as an “easy-to-swallow” liquid that is supposed to help with quicker absorption than its previous pill counterpart.
Insys has already indicated that they plan to convert the majority of their Dronabinol business over to Syndros. The company is meeting with nearly 8,000 physicians to discuss the benefits of their “updated product”.
While the synthetic drug is being sold as a Schedule III classification under the Controlled Substances Act (suggesting both medicinal value and a low risk for abuse), this sort of underlines the hypocrisy, when cannabis itself is still ranked as a Schedule I drug “having no medical value and a high risk for abuse”.
If that’s not enough, there is evidence that plant-based medications are far superior to their pharmecuetical counterparts due to how natural cannabinoids and terpenes work together synergistically in what’s called the “Entourage Effect”. When only one chemical is extracted from the plant (in the case of Dronabinol where THC is the only cannabinoid present) the medicinal effect is weaker. Lab manufactured drugs such as Syndros are missing the hundreds of other compounds that work together to provide a desired result in the natural plant counterparts.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta didn’t spare his criticism of Marinol:
“When the drug became available in the mid-1980s, scientists thought it would have the same effect as the whole cannabis plant. But it soon became clear that most patients preferred using the whole plant to taking Marinol. Researchers began to realize that other components, such as CBD, might have a larger role than previously realized”.
One cannot help but wonder how companies like Insys can successfully introduce and market their products despite the mountain of evidence and similar findings suggesting otherwise. The answer is that they are speaking the US government’s language. What is happening is that in order to bring “safe and effective” drugs on the market, cannabis is “dissected” and an artificial difference between its “beneficial” and “evil” components created – a myth that is still upheld by DEA officials. As a result, drug controllers can keep a tight leash on the product with the black market kept open, allowing the continued criminal prosecutions and steep taxes on legal cannabis businesses.