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Mark on National Post 2003 (txt)
Trial date:
April 10.2006
361 University Avenue
Toronto, ON.





From David Bronner, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps


Now approved for the treatment of MS pain in Canada, GW Pharma's

Sativex is a standardized cannabis extract combining a very potent

"marijuana" form of cannabis high in the cannabinoid THC with an

"industrial hemp" form of cannabis high in the cannabinoid CBD. Both

THC and CBD have been found to have medical utility, although THC is

the more famous. GW Pharma has developed a delivery device which

administers a standard titratable dose of the medicine sublingually

under the tongue, and Sativex has cleared with flying colors the

clinical trials for pain with MS patients in the UK, demonstrating

yet again the therapeutic value of medical marijuana. A whole

plant/flower extract of cannabis, Sativex's approval proves to

American law enforcement, legislators and society at large that

American patients are right now legitimately vaporizing medical

marijuana flowers for medical relief of severe symptoms (at least for

pain associated with MS, and soon other conditions/symptoms will have

similar clinical proof of relief).


GW Pharma views its pharmaceutically standardized whole-plant medical

marijuana products as superior and preferable to vaporizing or

smoking medical marijuana flowers to address medical conditions and

symptoms, and is certainly entitled to this view. However, many

patients do not share this view and find that they can titrate their

doses and find relief just fine through vaporizing and smoking the

herbal flowers of the cannabis plant itself. According to GW

Pharma's own literature, dosage and titration of Sativex is highly

variable from individual to indivdual. Vaporizing a preferred

relatively consistent strain of herbal marijauna flowers can also be

easily titrated, and vaporizing in particular largely avoids burning

plant material that results in tars and other carcinogenic compounds

being produced. Patients also find this is much cheaper than paying

through the nose for pharmaceutical products that are in their

judgement no better in the medical relief provided.


If only this difference of opinion could be gentlemanly, live and let

live, where patients who prefer to cultivate and vaporize their

medicine for relief at a much lower cost are free to do so alongside

those who prefer to place their trust in the standardized titratable

liquid medical marijuana extract that GW Pharma offers. Alas, GW

Pharma has partnered with Bayer, and with standard slick industry

marketing PR strategy, has retained former Deputy Director of Demand

Reduction for the Office of National Drug Control Policy Andrea

Barthwell. GW Pharma plans to sick Ms. Barthwell and its attorneys

on medical marijuana advocates and organizations who illustrate the

efficacy of medical marijuana by virtue of GW's standardized

marijuana extract medicines. Most regrettably certain medical

marijuana "patient advocates" and "reformers" also seem to be

involved, although hopefully not because they are investors. GW

Pharma wants to eradicate its main non-patentable competition, and is

perfectly willing to on the one hand champion the incredible history

of safe use of medical marijuana when it suits its marketing

objectives, but on the other contributes to the hysteria maligning

medical marijuana as "unacceptably dangerous" outside of its

standardized extract delivery system it has developed and brought to



GW Pharma's Sativex, along with GW's other medical marijuana products

in development, may just be the next Marinol (synthetic THC in a pill

developed and marketed in the late 1980's), which many patients find

less preferable to addressing their symptoms then vaporizing actual

medical marijuana flowers. With Marinol, the government arbitrarily

rescheduled "synthetic THC in sesame oil developed and sold by

Pharma" out of Schedule I, while leaving medical marijuana flowers in

Schedule I and patients using medical marijuana flowers for relief

subject to all the terrors of the out of control drug war.

Apparently GW Pharma would be more than happy to see the same happen

for its "standardized marijuana extracts sublingually administered,

developed and sold by Pharma, that we don't want to call or associate

with medical marijuana", leaving medical marijuana flowers and

patients subject to the drug war police state as always.


Patient advocates and reformers cannot allow this to happen again.

Patient advocates and reformers need to do some serious

soul-searching to know when quibbling and nit-picking on behalf of GW

Pharma is helpful for patients, and when they are acting as a

smokescreen for the monster GW is becoming. Electoral reform started

out great but turned into a travesty, and that's being paralleled by

GW. It would be great for GW and the reform community to get along,

and agree on a message that GW's products prove on a certain basic

level the medical efficacy of medical marijuana, leaving alone the

route of delivery (i.e. smoking versus vaporizing/sublingual dosing).

Unfortunately, it looks like the reform community has to take on GW's

denial of its products' intrinsic identity with medical marijuana

directly and as a priority. We hope that ASA, CSDP, MPP, DRCNET,

NORML and others have the cajones to do so.