- March 31 - In an historic step forward for medical marijuana,
GW Pharmaceuticals has applied to Great Britain's Medicines Control
Agency (equivalent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) for
approval of its Cannabis-Based Medical Extract (CBME). A series
of large, controlled trials showed that CBME provided substantial
and sometimes dramatic relief for patients suffering from chronic
pain and other symptoms resulting from multiple sclerosis or neurological
is, for all practical purposes, marijuana in liquid form. An
extract made from plants bred for specific levels of various
active components unique to marijuana, called cannabinoids,
CBME is similar to marijuana-based extracts and tinctures that
were legally available in the United States -- manufactured
by major drug companies and sold through pharmacies -- until
the federal government banned marijuana in 1937.
as a spray in the mouth, gave relief above and beyond standard
medications, often helping where standard drugs failed or caused
unacceptable side effects. CBME's side effects were few and
generally mild. Approval by the Medicines Control Agency is
expected before the end of the year.
research done by GW Pharmaceuticals has demolished virtually
every argument made by opponents of medical marijuana,"
said Robert Kampia, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based
Marijuana Policy Project. "They have shown, in rigorous,
scientific trials, that marijuana is indeed medicine, and that
it's both effective and remarkably safe.
is nothing like Marinol, the synthetic THC pill that is available
by prescription in the U.S.," Kampia added. "This
whole- plant extract truly is liquid marijuana, with the dozens
of naturally occurring components that scientists increasingly
believe contribute to marijuana's medical benefits. GW's work
proves what medical marijuana advocates have long known: Marijuana's
therapeutic benefits go well beyond THC."
not announced plans to seek approval in the U.S., where federal
rules regulating marijuana research -- which require use of
low-grade, government-grown marijuana -- make virtually impossible
the sort of research GW has done.
hope this product makes it to the U.S someday," Kampia
said. "But patients battling MS, cancer, and AIDS need
the relief marijuana can give them today. People who are in
pain now -- and who could get relief from a plant they can grow
in their own backyards -- shouldn't have to wait for a product
that may or may not ever come to this country."
announcement, background information on their product, and a
preliminary summary of study results are available at http://www.gwpharm.com
11,000 members nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the
largest marijuana policy reform organization in the nation.
For more information, please visit http://www.mpp.org