Last Update: 7:05 AM ET Jan. 4, 2006
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Britain's GW Pharmaceuticals on Wednesday said it received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to test a cannabis-derived drug to treat cancer pain.
The approval comes just a day after the state of Rhode Island approved marijuana use for medicinal purposes.
GW Pharmaceuticals (UK:GWP: news, chart, profile) said it's won approval to test its Sativex cannabis-derived cancer pain drug within the United States. It can start a Phase III trial immediately using the oral spray on very seriously ill patients.
The company added that it may file for U.S. approval as early as the end of 2008.
On the surface this may seem like a good thing but I can almost assure you that it is not.
Here is why.
1. All of the Canadians I know who have used this drug say it is ineffective for treating their symptoms. It simply does not work as well as the raw product, the dose is harder to titrate and so forth.
2. If Sativex is approved for use in the US it will give the feds the power to say,
"Well, you have Sativex so now there is no need for raw medical marijuana."
And that translates to the federal government still holding decision power over "what is best" for sick people ....sans medical degree.
This isn't more choices...as it may first appear....it's less enforced by the feds and paid for by the pharmaceutical companies who have lobbied to pass laws that ensure you get your drugs from them or else go straight to jail.