Will Big Pharma Take Over The American Market For Medical Marijuana?

MedMarjIf the hundreds of uses for cannabis doesn’t plead the case for its legalization, the money made from its medical industry just might do it. The Washington Independent reports:

The American Independent has previously reported on the growing corporatization of the incipient medical marijuana industry at a time when medical marijuana dispensaries scrabble to hold on to their businesses in the face of a multi-pronged federal crackdown. But there are signs afoot that it just may become ever more corporate if a Big Pharma push to get the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to recognize a cannabis-derived drug is successful.

Last week, British prescription drug manufacturer GW Pharmaceuticals announced a licensing agreement with drug giant Novartis, maker of Ritalin and Excedrin, to begin selling GW’s drug Sativex in markets across Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Middle East. The medication is already available in Britain, where it’s produced and marketed by Bayer, and in Canada and Spain. It’s on the market in those countries as a liquid that patients spray under the tongue and is prescribed primarily for sufferers of multiple sclerosis and cancer.

If the name “Sativex” rings a distant bell, that’s because it’s derived from Cannabis sativa, the scientific name for the plant from which both hemp and marijuana are harvested. It’s an appropriate name because, unlike other cannabinoids produced for recreational and medicinal use (and plagued by side effects not present in natural cannabinoids), Sativex is not a synthetic concoction, but essentially liquefied marijuana. It’s an extract of whole-plant cannabis that includes the psychoactive agent THC as well as cannabidiol (CBD), the chemical thought to be responsible for some of the anti-nausea and cancer-cell-killing effects of medical marijuana.

[Continues at The Washington Independent]

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  • DeepCough

    I can’t help but think that this was the WHOLE point of the War on Drugs: to keep it ultimately in the hands of the corporate thugs who want to make money off of it.

  • DeepCough

    I can’t help but think that this was the WHOLE point of the War on Drugs: to keep it ultimately in the hands of the corporate thugs who want to make money off of it.

    • Erinsworld5

      thats what i thought

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    What a great way to fight drug use…just make it cost 500 bucks a dose and make it give you nine kinds of f*cking cancer if you use it. Trust a pharmaceutical company to put in overtime finding ways to finally make pot bad for you. Somehow I don’t see the market for homegrown suddenly taking a dip anytime soon.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    What a great way to fight drug use…just make it cost 500 bucks a dose and make it give you nine kinds of f*cking cancer if you use it. Trust a pharmaceutical company to put in overtime finding ways to finally make pot bad for you. Somehow I don’t see the market for homegrown suddenly taking a dip anytime soon.

  • Butter Knife

    I have full faith in Big Pharma’s ability to regulate themselves into a monopoly on medical marijuana.

    I have less faith in their ability to do so with regard to recreational marijuana, which I suspect is more likely to be dominated by Big Tobacco (for fairly similar reasons).

    Both are are inevitably going to be a part of the landscape, the writing is on the wall for marijuana prohibition, and the big question now is who will reap the rewards of being first to market with it.

  • Butter Knife

    I have full faith in Big Pharma’s ability to regulate themselves into a monopoly on medical marijuana.

    I have less faith in their ability to do so with regard to recreational marijuana, which I suspect is more likely to be dominated by Big Tobacco (for fairly similar reasons).

    Both are are inevitably going to be a part of the landscape, the writing is on the wall for marijuana prohibition, and the big question now is who will reap the rewards of being first to market with it.

  • Haystack

    I’m all for legalization, but I think people have been too naive about what that will look like. It’s hard for me to imagine any outcome where the marijuana industry does not end up dominated by ugly, self-interested corporations, whether it be big pharma, tobacco companies, or something similar.

  • Haystack

    I’m all for legalization, but I think people have been too naive about what that will look like. It’s hard for me to imagine any outcome where the marijuana industry does not end up dominated by ugly, self-interested corporations, whether it be big pharma, tobacco companies, or something similar.

    • Darklord

      That’s exactly what will happen but as long as citizens have rights to grow a quantity themselves for personal or trade. I will happily accept policy change. One paranoid as myself would think that it’s only illegal because the chemicals in it are not cancerous enough for slavlings to consume.

  • Darklord

    That’s exactly what will happen but as long as citizens have rights to grow a quantity themselves for personal or trade. I will happily accept policy change. One paranoid as myself would think that it’s only illegal because the chemicals in it are not cancerous enough for slavlings to consume.

  • Nedhoey

    Does Anheuser Busch, Miller and Coors dominate beer? Yeah but so what? I drink plenty of beer and I haven’t consumed one of their products in 30 years. I’m not convinced corporations will be able to deliver an appealing product to today’s discerning aficionados. Even if they find a way to dominate shelf space in Trader Joes and Costco, that is not going to prevent small boutique producers from providing far superior gourmet product. Jeez calm down, we’re still a LONG way from that day. This story is about a prescription product that will be something more like Vicodin or Percoset in how difficult it will be to get. All solutions that do not legalize to a degree about the same as beer and wine will fail.

  • Nedhoey

    Does Anheuser Busch, Miller and Coors dominate beer? Yeah but so what? I drink plenty of beer and I haven’t consumed one of their products in 30 years. I’m not convinced corporations will be able to deliver an appealing product to today’s discerning aficionados. Even if they find a way to dominate shelf space in Trader Joes and Costco, that is not going to prevent small boutique producers from providing far superior gourmet product. Jeez calm down, we’re still a LONG way from that day. This story is about a prescription product that will be something more like Vicodin or Percoset in how difficult it will be to get. All solutions that do not legalize to a degree about the same as beer and wine will fail.

  • Erinsworld5

    thats what i thought