Wednesday, February 24, 2010


THAT'S RIGHT, FOLKS. Now figure this one out, and try to get the DEA to explain it: Marijuana, Cannabis Sativa, the plant used around the world as a smoked, eaten, or brewed drug is on the Drug Enforcement Administration's "Schedule I" right along with heroin and LSD as a public health menace. BUT the ACTIVE INGREDIENT in marijuana, Tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC) ; the stuff that makes pot so supposedly dangerous, is on SCHEDULE THREE (III); and is so loosely regulated that it can be prescribed as a toothache remedy.


A little background here. As did a lot of my generation, I smoked pot when I was a lot younger. It has been quite a while since I have even seen the stuff and I really don't have the time to go looking for it, nor do I care to deal with the sort of people who deal in it. And I consider the arguments of both the radical advocates of legalization and the radical opponents of legalization to be equally full of crap. Marijuana is not a cure-all, it is not a viable source of automobile fuel, is not a superior source of industrial fiber, and food made with marijuana-seed byproducts (such as a beer "flavored" with "hemp seed") tastes like crap. BUT ALSO pot is not a "gateway" to "stronger illegal drugs" except for the fact that-due to the very fact that it is illegal-stronger and more dangerous stuff is often obtainable through the same channels. There's a lot more derision I could throw at both sides, but you get the point. Nevertheless, personally I think marijuana should be legalized and taxed. I will save arguments on that point for another time.

Now there has been for some time a "medical marijuana" movement, and indeed it has been shown that marijuana does have some beneficial effects. People wasting away from AIDS or as a result of chemotherapy and the concomitant loss of appetite have benefitted greatly from getting the "munchies", for example. But the government and certain high-profile folks have kept up a steady drumbeat about the dangers of marijuana. Well.

Out of little more than boredom, I paid the DEA's website a visit and looked at the FAQs about pot. In answer to criticism about DEA opposition to "medical marijuana", the DEA said: "Medical Marijuana already exists! It is called "Marinol"....."

"Marinol"? Hmmmm.....

I had heard of Marinol a few years ago, and thought it was THC produced with an additive that blunted the "fun" aspect of THC. This , as it turns out, is not the case. Marinol is synthetic THC in a sesame-seed oil base, administered in gel-caps. Swallow a dose of Marinol and within 30 minutes to an hour you will be as high as if you had been smoking pot for real. But Marinol is not a Schedule I drug, or even a Schedule II drug. It is Schedule III, and may be prescribed for "off-label" purposes. That is, the manufacturer designates as "indications" nausea, anorexia, etc; but if a physician decides it might be useful for something else, he may prescribe it for that purpose. It costs about $25 per dose, which is about the price you would pay for an equvalent-in-THC amount of Red Lebanese Hashish (which is ditto Schedule I).

I am not going to go into a satirical rant here, although the situation begs for one. But Federally speaking, the marijuana plant is so allegedly dangerous that it cannot be grown, sold, or posessed except under the ultra-strict supervision of the DEA; and penalties carry the life-ruining stigma of a felony conviction under Federal law. But THC - so long as it is made synthetically in an authorized laboratory - can be sold by prescription; and can be prescribed for just about anything some doctor thinks it would be good for. Hell's bells, it has been prescribed to treat Hyperactivity/Atttention Deficit Disorder in SCHOOLCHILDREN and the DEA hasn't battted an eye. But grow a little pot so you can have a few tokes to ease your stress and enjoy dinner (a purpose that Marinol can be prescribed for) and you are facing major slammer time.

Is it just me, or is there some fucked up and tortured logic being used to justify marijuana prohibition? Huh?

1 comment:

The Donkey said...

At 25 bucks a dose, sounds like somebody is bogarting that Marinol.


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