Big Pharma steals the pot again — this time, literally

Earlier this week, I talked about some unconventional prescriptions for chronic conditions. And I’m going to touch on this topic of interest again, especially after hearing about some pretty big breaking news featuring Epidiolex — the country’s first-ever FDA-approved medicine made from marijuana.

Epidiolex is an oil made from cannabidiol, or CBD — one of marijuana’s therapeutic components… the one that doesn’t get you “high.” (That’s tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — which has also made some interesting headlines recently.)

And it’s now approved for use in patients with two rare forms of epilepsy, as research shows it can slash their number of seizures nearly in half.

According to a statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb: “This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies. And, the FDA is committed to this kind of careful scientific research and drug development.”

Call me paranoid, but it strikes me as noteworthy that the FDA only has praise for the power of marijuana when Big Pharma is involved…

In fact, they make a point of saying that this particular approval is not a blanket approval of medicinal marijuana. (It’s similar to how they claim fish oil doesn’t work unless it’s “pharmaceutical grade.” Translation: if you want your product approved, you have to pay to play.)

Tightening the leash

In the same breath, the FDA has vowed to continue cracking down on any company selling CBD oil outside of their regulation. (There are a lot of CBD products out there, as you may already know. And while their legality is still technically questionable, many of my patients use them with great success.)

So you can see my issue here. This particular medicine comes from a proprietary strain of marijuana, owned and bred by a company called GW Pharmaceuticals. Once again, the drug industry always finds a way to appropriate an effective natural cure and get their piece of the pie.

When essentially, this is an herbal remedy that should be accessible to anyone who can benefit from it… not repackaged under a fancy name and peddled at a gross markup.

Historical, regardless

Nonetheless, this is a landmark development — one that speaks to shifting attitudes toward medicinal marijuana in this country. And personally, I’m 100-percent on board with that.

In fact, you might remember that I recently became a licensed prescriber of marijuana. And as a result, I’ve gained a whole new respect for the many things this little plant can do.

It’s safe. It’s effective. And it’s natural. As an integrative physician, marijuana checks every one of my boxes. As far as I’m concerned, the sooner it’s fully legal, the better.

But I also understand how lingering stigma could keep many Americans from embracing medicinal marijuana. Maybe you’re one of them.

If so, I urge you to put all politics aside and read the most recent issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives. This month, I dive into some of the latest research on medicinal marijuana and explore some of the ways that it could change the lives of chronic pain sufferers in particular.

So if you’re not a subscriber already, hop on board today.  You don’t want to miss this.