Think you’re free? Think again.
Marijuana — a plant that has been cultivated for thousands of years and in that time, has killed 0 people, remains classified as a Schedule I drug at the federal level in the United States. This puts it alongside heroin, ecstasy, LSD, and peyote “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”
Those who are paying attention know that this is ridiculous. To begin with, more people die from drinking coffee than marijuana — not to mention alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs. Additionally, there are over 100 peer-reviewed studies confirming a component of the cannabis plant — cannabidiol (CBD oil) — cures various forms of cancer.
The government knows how beneficial cannabis is. That’s why the US National Cancer Institute lists CBD oil as a potential treatment for cancer on its website. The reason cannabis remains illegal nationwide, however, is because there is no profit in allowing the masses to cultivate and use it in its natural form. No, that’s where synthetic marijuana becomes so valuable — despite being incredibly deadly and dangerous.
While millions of Americans gorged on Thanksgiving dinners, the FDA quietly approved synthetic THC — the main psychoactive component in cannabis — for medicinal use. Meanwhile, the real stuff remains illegal in states that have not passed their own medical (and/or recreational) marijuana legislation.
In its announcement, the DEA granted Dronabinol (formerly known as Syndros), which is produced by the pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics, Schedule II classification. This means the DEA recognizes its medicinal potential and believes it is beneficial enough to become a federally regulated prescription drug.
The DEA announced:
“[I]t should be noted as a preliminary matter that any form of dronabinol other than in an FDA-approved drug product remains a schedule I controlled substance, and those who handle such material remain subject to the regulatory controls, and administrative, civil, and criminal sanctions, applicable to schedule I controlled substances set forth in the CSA and DEA regulations.”
Per the restrictions, Insys now has the freedom to set the price point for its own legal brand of THC. Consumers may or may not have to pay between $1,000 to $2,000 a month.
Unsurprisingly, the DEA has received hoards of criticism for allowing synthetic THC but outlawing the natural, less harmful plant. The agency wrote in response, “The DEA notes that FDA-approved products of oral solutions containing dronabinol have an approved medical use, whereas marijuana does not have an approved medical use and therefore remains in schedule I.”
Others have filed official comments with the DEA, suggesting it is giving pharmaceutical companies leverage the well-being of patients purely for profit. The claim might border on conspiracy, but it is legitimate, considering synthetic marijuana is incredibly unsafe. Several studies have concluded that synthetic marijuana (also referred to as “K2” or “Spice”) is linked to serious side effects, including seizures, psychosis and even death.
In a new review of studies concerning this topic, the authors wrote: These compounds “produce a variety of dangerous acute and chronic adverse effects … with a greater severity and frequency than observed following marijuana use.” Therefore, “K2/Spice products are clearly not safe marijuana alternatives,” the researchers concluded.
Let’s not forget, Insys has proven itself to be riddled with corruption. In October, Insys founder Dr. John N. Kapoor stepped down from his position after he allegedly bribed doctors to prescribe a fentanyl product produced by the pharmaceutical company. The product is Transmucosal Immediate Release Fentanyl known as Subsys. It was meant for cancer patients, but was prescribed widely to those without the affliction.
Said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich in a consumer fraud filing: “Insys engaged in a nationwide scheme in which it deceived insurers, patients, and doctors. Insys lied to insurers, concealed key facts from doctors and patients, and paid doctors sham ‘speaker fees’ in exchange for writing prescriptions, all to increase the sales of Subsys, without regard for the health and safety of patients.”
If you think you’re free, think again. If the system in place had your ultimate well-being in mind, agencies would not jeopardize consumers’ interest for profit. Marijuana, in its natural form, is a healing herb that needs to be decriminalized so patients everywhere can benefit from its therapeutic components.
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