The United States federal government holds a “medical patent” for all cannabinoids — a patent which it has held since 2003.
Let’s take a look at the rationale behind this patent, and highlight the good news it actually contains for disease prevention, medical treatment and for cannabis legalization.
This patent was the outcome from research conducted by:
• Dr. Aiden J. Hampson, a neuropharmacologist at the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda, Maryland
• Dr. Julius Axelrod (1912-2004), Professor Emeritus, National Institutes of Health, pharmacologist and neuroscientist who shared the 1970 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine
• Dr. Maurizio Grimaldi, professor of neurology/neuropsychopharmacology and toxicology, NIMH
Here’s how it all went down in 1998.
Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services (Washington, D.C.)
Patent Title: Cannabinoids act as antioxidants and neuroprotectants
The present invention concerns pharmaceutical compounds and compositions that are useful as tissue protectants, such as neuroprotectants and cardioprotectants. The compounds and compositions may be used, for example, in the treatment of acute ischemic neurological insults or chronic neurodegenerative diseases.
Definitions in this patent: Cannabinoid
“As used herein, a ‘cannabinoid’ is a chemical compound (such as cannabinol, THC or cannabidiol) that is found in the plant species Cannabis sativa (marijuana), and metabolites and synthetic analogues thereof that may or may not have psychoactive properties.”
Claims Found In Patent:
Claim #1: A method of treating diseases caused by oxidative stress, comprising administering a therapeutically effective amount of a cannabinoid to a subject who has a disease caused by oxidative stress.
Claim #15: A method of treating an ischemic or neurodegenerative disease in the central nervous system of a subject, comprising administering to the subject a therapeutically effective amount of a cannabinoid.
Claim #24: (A method of treating) wherein the ischemic or neurodegenerative disease is an ischemic infarct, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and human immunodeficiency virus dementia, Down’s syndrome, or heart disease.
If you read my last “Worth Repeating” post, “Cannabis May Help Combat Aging of the Brain,” you’ll remember I presented current evidence for cannabis and neuroprotection.Well, apparently the U.S. government was way ahead of the curve on this one. Thank you, President Clinton, for filing this patent (April 29, 1999). Yo!
Maybe you didn’t inhale, but you may have legalized cannabis as a medicine through a back door during your presidency!
The “Assignee” on the patent is the United States of America. This means the people who are its citizens, who fund the government with their taxes, and are represented by it, and who in effect employ it to act as our agent protecting our welfare. The government works for us, and exists to serve us. We, the American people, are the ultimate owners of this patent that it holds for us.
In order to produce the maximum benefit for the most people, in the shortest time, we would like our patent to produce “fast tracked” cannabis-based medicines to treat the following medical conditions.
If you look at the chart below at the 10 o’clock position , “neuroprotection” is just the first benefit of this wonderful plant. We just scratched the surface of its full potential.And again, thank you for standing up for the people of this country first, not corporations. Thank you so much for looking out for our interests and securing the rights to this medicine so that it may be used by us, the American people.
That was eight years ago.
It makes one wonder what the U.S. government was thinking when, this past March, it made the National Cancer Institute scrub its newly created cannabis web section to delete the phrase:
“In the practice of integrative oncology, the health care provider may recommend medical cannabis not only for symptom management but also for its possible direct anti-tumor effect.”
This, mind you, is after receiving a patent specifically on the point that cannabinoids are powerful anti-oxidative medicines that fight oxidative stress diseases. One of the main causes of cancer is oxidative stress disease.
“Many forms of cancer are thought to be the result of reactions between free radicals and DNA, resulting in mutations that can adversely affect the cell cycle and potentially lead to malignancy.”
Cancer patients need unrestricted access to cannabis products. The drug is self-regulating; if you use “too much,” you fall asleep.
This patent makes the case that cannabinoids should definitely be part of an integrative medical treatment plan for cancer and a multitude of other conditions as per the above statement.
All cannabinoids act as potent free-radical scavengers. Interesting fact: the patent claims that THC is equal to cannabidiol as an anti-oxidant in strength.
Only problem: it is “psychotoxic,” to use the patent’s terminology.
Translation: it gets you high.
Example of an Oxidative Disease
Hydrogen peroxide‘s actions come from the fact that it oxidizes tissue.
This is how hydrogen peroxide gets that bloodstain out of your white shirt; it dissolves the cells by stealing electrons from proteins. Oxidation is to human DNA as rust is to an iron bridge, and as paint protects it from oxygen, cannabinoids are the “paint” that protect your DNA from destruction.
The cannabis plant originated in the mountains at high altitudes in Kurdistan. To protect itself from harmful ultraviolet radiation at in the thin air, the plant developed a chemical defense to protect itself. It evolutionarily selected for cannabinoids, antioxidants which counter this high intensity, less filtered form of sunlight radiation.
Now imagine this chemical reaction happening in your brain, just ripping apart neurons which are your individual brain cells. That is what neuroinflammation is. The good news is that cannabinoids shut down this reaction in the human body.
“Oxidative associated diseases include, without limitation, free radical associated diseases, such as ischemia, ischemic reperfusion injury, inflammatory diseases, systemic lupus erythematosis, myocardial ischemia or infarction, cerebrovascular accidents (such as thromboembolic or hermorrhagic stroke) that can lead to ischemia or an infarct in the brain, operative ischemia, traumatic hemorrhage (for example a hypovolemic stroke that can lead to CNS hypoxia or anoxia), spinal cord trauma, Down’s syndrome, Crohn’s disease, autoimmune diseases (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes), cataract formation, uveitis, emphysema, gastric ulcers, oxygen toxicity, and neoplasia (cancer tumors).”
And radiation sickness, which I’m sure we will find in the Japanese population for years to come.The government’s public mantra has always been that marijuana is not a medicine in any form, as in Schedule I, which means (a) the drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse; (b) it has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States (Remember U.S. Patent 6,630,507 B1?); and (c) there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.
While spending billions of dollars to promote its anti-drug meme behind the scenes, it was simultaneously trying to prove to the Patent Office that cannabinoids are powerful anti-oxidative medicines that fight oxidative stress diseases in everyone.
So the crazy Catch 22 is that the U.S. government is now claiming cannabis is medicine, but is also saying it isn’t medicine and that it needs to be against the law.
How can any sane person explain this cognitive dissonance — this bipolar reefer insanity on the part of the government?
This patent contradicts the very definition of “Schedule I.”
And does the government’s patent also hold the cure for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, and many other oxidative stress-related disorders?Point to remember: this patent is making medical claims for cannabidiol only. THC is cannabidiol’s therapeutic partner, and they work together best in a synergistic fashion, which can be described as “cannabinergic.”
The patent acknowledges that all cannabinoids are therapeutic, but claims very high doses are needed to get the effect. This is an untested negative assumption about marijuana’s ability to change consciousness that has been an ideologically driven bias against cannabis since 1937.
This therapeutic dose would produce unwanted side effects if THC was used in this amount. The high from THC is described as “psychotoxic” in the patent. This is true if THC is not used with cannabidiol, as it is found in the whole plant.
From U.S. Patent #6,630,507 B1:
“As referred to herein, the term ‘psychoactivity’ means ‘cannabinoid receptor mediated psychoactivity.’ Such effects include euphoria, lightheadedness, reduced motor coordination, and memory impairment. Psychoactivity is not meant to include non-cannabinoid receptor mediated effects such as the anxiolytic effect of CBD.”
Translation: Euphoria, literally, to “bear well,” is medically recognized as a positive mental, emotional state defined as a profound sense of well-being or wellness.
Lightheadedness, reduced motor coordination, and memory impairment, of course, can be bad. These last three apply to alcohol, high blood pressure meds, and many psychiatric meds in general.
Anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) is good.
Question: How does one separate “anxiety-free” from “experiencing joy and happiness”?
Why do we live in a Buzz-Kill Nation?
I have discovered that suffering and pain and very overrated, and don’t build character.Did your last root canal surgery make you a better person? It only works if others in your peer group witness it and reward it within the group.
Pain and suffering damage the immune system.
Joy and happiness and giggling and laughing boost the immune response. When you laugh, your immune system laughs with you, and a laughing immune system is a good thing to have when you are fighting cancer or any serious illness.
Reduction of laughter frequency is a symptom of a diseased state.
Mirthful laughter has a positive effect on stress and natural killer cell activity.
From U.S. Patent #6,630,507 B1:
“THC is another of the cannabinoids that has been shown to be neuroprotective in cell cultures, but this protection was believed to be mediated by interaction at the cannabinoid receptor, and so would be accompanied by undesired psychotropic side effects.”
Here’s what happens when THC is used without its partner, cannabidiol.
Intravenous THC and Cannabidiol ExperimentWhat anti-marijuana researchers do is isolate and give pure THC only to test subjects, which in large amounts can cause psychosis-like symptoms. Then they claim marijuana causes psychotic behavior.
Both THC and cannabidiol are both equal in strength as antioxidants. But THC gets you high, which disqualifies it as medicine.
A medicine that makes you laugh is bad?
The patent made it sound like getting high — or should I say having a marijuana-induced “peak experience,” which leads in time to varying degrees of self-actualization — is a bad thing.
The “high” is therapeutic in its own right, being that cannabis is an entheogen drug and not an intoxicant. It can’t be included in the intoxicant category due to the fact that it is not toxic, and has never caused a recorded death directly from its use.
The change in consciousness induced by the THC/cannabidiol combo is anxiolytic, anti-depressive, and antipsychotic in nature. A cancer diagnosis with harsh chemo and radiation produces intense periods of anxiety and depression through the long course of treatment.So let me get this part straight: the serious untoward side effects of cannabis are red eyes, lightheadedness, intense bouts of uncontrollable enlightened laughter, intense hunger followed by periods of deep mystical introspection, followed by deep sound sleep.
In short, hungry, happy and sleepy.
Cannabis is not an intoxicant. It is an entheogenic substance. Think altruism, group bonding and cooperation, nonviolence and sharing. Think Woodstock!
“Splendid by Law! Declaring Law, truth speaking, truthful in thy works, enouncing faith, King Soma! … O [Soma] Pavāmana, place me in that deathless, undecaying world wherein the light of heaven is set, and everlasting lustre shines … Make me immortal in that realm where happiness and transports, where joy and felicities combine.” ~ from the Rig Veda, the “Creator of the Gods.”Cannabis is like yoga for your mind. But only different — and oh, the places you’ll go!
I believe if you live long enough, through many decades, absorbing the tragedies of the human condition, you have a high probability of developing a type of “generalized life PTSD.” It’s part of the psychological profile of aging, and it can’t be helped.
Life wears you down over time.
Cannabis is just a milder, non-toxic form of MDMA, which is helping some of our combat vets who return home with PTSD.
Many who are lucky enough to survive cancer go on to develop a “cancer PTSD” syndrome that will always be there.
So what are free radicals?
“Radicals (often referred to as free radicals) are atoms, molecules, or ions with unpaired electrons on an open shell configuration. Free radicals may have positive, negative, or zero charge. With some exceptions, the unpaired electrons cause radicals to be highly chemically reactive. Radicals, if allowed to run free in the body, are believed to be involved in degenerative diseases and cancers.
The antioxidants give an electron to the free radical so its outer shell is complete. If not, the free radicals degrade your DNA by plucking electrons from its structure. This damages the correct code for making new proteins that cells use to rebuild; this process is called “oxidation stress,” which means your cellular DNA is under attack by highly reactive chemicals.
What causes this oxidation?
• X-rays and all forms of radiation, even sunlight.
• Cancer treatment: chemotherapy, radiation treatment. From the patent: “The invention includes methods for using cannabinoids in subjects who have been exposed to oxidant inducing agents such as cancer chemotherapy, radiation, and other sources of oxidative stress.”
• Chemicals in our water and air that are toxic to cells. We live in a close bio-system; anything we dump down the drain winds up in the food chain, in the water we drink, and in the air we breathe.
It’s the sum total of every chemical and radiation assault against your DNA at the cellular level, inside the nucleus of your cells, that you don’t see. This damage causes mutations in cells that lead to abnormal cell growth and cancer.
Cannabinoids protect the cells from oxidation. Marijuana saves lives!
Think of cannabis as a super free-radical-fighting vegetable. Get at least one serving of this green phytochemical per day to maintain good health!
Perhaps the FDA should consider adding cannabis to its new Food Pyramid. ☺
Thank you, Julius Axelrod (1912-2004), for all your hard work. Perhaps someone will name a medicine strain of cannabis for you.
Editor’s note: Ron Marczyk is a retired high school health eduation teacher who taught Wellness and Disease Prevention, Drug and Sex Ed, and AIDS education to teens aged 13-17.
He also taught a high school International Baccalaureate psychology course. He taught in a New York City public school as a Drug Prevention Specialist.
He is a Registered Nurse with six years of ER/Critical Care experience in NYC hospitals, earned an M.S. in cardiac rehabilitation and exercise physiology, and worked as a New York City police officer for two years.
Currently he is focused on how evolutionary psychology explains human behavior.