Op-Ed: US Government Holds Patent For Medical Marijuana, Shows Hypocrisy
On the one hand, United States federal government officials have consistently denied that marijuana has any medical benefits. On the other, the government actually holds patents for the medical use of the plant.
Just check out US Patent 6630507
titled "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants" which is assigned to The United States of America, as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The patent claims that "Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia."
The patent was obtained in October of 2003.
, for those who were wondering, are a group of chemical compounds found in marijuana that are also referred to as terpenophenolic compounds. One specific cannabinoid compound found in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC. This substance gives marijuana its psychoactive effects.
The US government may hold this patent, but that will not stop their officials from consistently denying the benefits of medical marijuana. An FDA spokesperson, for instance, has claimed
that "smoked marijuana has no currently accepted or proven medical use in the United States and is not an approved medical treatment."
I guess she didn't get the memo.
It makes you wonder why the U.S. government is so unwilling to admit that marijuana has some valid medical properties. It seems unlikely that there is a popularity issue, especially when 60%
of Americans believe that doctors should be allowed to prescribe marijuana. Maybe there are some lobbyists or bigwig campaign contributors that would get a little upset.
Since one part of the government applied for the patent of medical marijuana, and another part of the government approved that patent, it seems logical to conclude that the federal government knows that marijuana has some valid medical properties.
Now the hard part. How do we get them to admit it?