Drug Law

Britain Approves Liquid Marijuana as Prescription Medicine

| by Marijuana Policy Project

Major news: It was announced today that Sativex, a cannabinoid-based liquid medicine sprayed under the tongue, has been approved for use in Great Britain to help treat the muscle spasticity suffered by multiple sclerosis patients. Sativex is a natural marijuana extract that is produced by British-based GW Pharmaceuticals. It has been approved for use in Canada to treat neuropathic pain since 2005.

“Once again, the scientific community has confirmed that marijuana is medicine and it can provide safe and effective relief to patients suffering from certain conditions,” said Rob Kampia, MPP’s executive director, in an statement issued today. “Sadly, our federal government, through the Drug Enforcement Administration, has blocked effective research into the therapeutic effectiveness of marijuana. The United States could be leading the world in the development of cannabinoid-based medicines, but instead our government has ceded this industry to the U.K., while intentionally prolonging the agony of patients in this country.”

The Food and Drug Administration has already approved the pill Marinol, which contains marijuana’s main psychoactive component, THC, for medical use in the United States, but unlike Sativex, Marinol does not contain all of marijuana’s more than 60 different cannabinoids, and therefore doesn’t offer the full therapeutic potential of marijuana. Among patients, Marinol is notoriously ineffective.

“The good news is that this announcement buttresses our argument that marijuana is an effective medicine. To have liquid marijuana legal for medical use but marijuana illegal would be like having coffee legal but coffee beans illegal,” Kampia added.

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