Did You Know the US Government Has a Patent on Cannabinoids?

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Most people with some knowledge of cannabis know that the US federal government considers “marijuana” a Schedule I drug. As is the case for all Schedule I drugs, this means cannabis is designated as a substance with no medicinal potential.

 

Therefore, it might come as a surprise that the federal government has also patented cannabinoids as substances that might prevent brain degeneration. If cannabis—and, by extension, the cannabinoids it contains—has no therapeutic value, why has the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) patented cannabinoids as a potential medical therapy?

 

Once your outrage at this absurd hypocrisy subsides, you’ll be left with some critical, unanswered questions. Let’s take a look at what Patent No. 6,630,507 is and what it means regarding the government’s stance on cannabinoids.

What are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are naturally occurring substances that are only found in Cannabis sativa, which is more commonly known as “hemp” or “cannabis.” While some cannabinoids, like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), have their fair share of downsides, others are practically devoid of side effects and show enormous therapeutic potential.

 

Cannabidiol (CBD), for instance, has been approved as an anti-epileptic treatment in the form of Epidiolex, a prescription drug made by GW Pharmaceuticals. This doesn’t mean all CBD products have been FDA-approved, but it proves that hemp has scientifically demonstrated medicinal potential. CBD is non-intoxicating, and the potential benefits of CBD oil[1]  appear to extend far beyond just epilepsy.

 

Another non-intoxicating cannabinoid that’s starting to show promise as a potential medical treatment is cannabigerol (CBG). Slightly different from CBD in its effects and possible applications, CBG oil[2]  is nonetheless just as unlikely to cause serious side effects.

Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants

So, what does Patent No. 6,630,507 tell us about the government’s true position regarding the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids? Despite continued refusal to reschedule the federal status of cannabis, this patent blatantly admits that cannabinoids “have been found to have antioxidant properties.” Even though the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) still designates cannabinoids as substances with “no current accepted medicinal value in the United States,” this patent—filed on behalf of the federal government—goes on to say this “new found [antioxidant] property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases.”

 

What’s more, Patent No. 6,630,507 identifies cannabinoids as offering “particular application as neuroprotectants” that might limit neurological damage caused by strokes and brain injuries. It also suggests cannabinoids might be useful for neurodegenerative diseases like “Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and HIV dementia.” Later on, the patent specifically identifies CBD as being particularly useful due to its low toxicity.

What Does It All Mean?

In a fair and just nation, the filing of this patent—filed by the federal government’s own HHS, if you’ll recall—would have immediately triggered a thorough revision of the federal scheduling of cannabis. Regardless, the DEA has pointedly refused to do so as recently as 2016 and still apparently has not even developed a plan to reschedule cannabis anytime in the near future.

 

Just as it’s clear the federal government should rethink its stance on cannabinoids, it’s equally clear that not all cannabinoids are the same. The fact that THC, for instance, has a certain genuine ability to do harm, however, shouldn’t delay efforts to liberate seemingly harmless cannabinoids like CBD and CBG from a decades-old prohibition law that still significantly hinders research into these clearly beneficial substances.

 

We aren’t sure why the federal government is dragging its feet regarding cannabinoid reform—we can only guess. The fact remains, however, that Patent No. 6,630,507 clearly shows the US government doesn’t even believe its own official position on cannabinoids.

 

Any time the government does one thing but says another, the citizenry should be concerned. Add to that the fact that millions of CBD and CBG users still wonder if they’re breaking the law, and the need for federal accountability regarding cannabinoids becomes even more obvious.

US Patent No. 6,630,507—Final Thoughts

Over the last 50 years, the trust Americans place in their government has plummeted. While it can seem to be far from the most pressing issue facing the American people today, the continued prohibition of cannabinoids is yet another thorn in the average citizen’s side whenever they pay taxes or vote officials into public office. For people who could be helped with cannabinoids but worry about access due to outdated prohibition laws, this breach of trust is even more acute.

 

Thankfully, reduced faith in their government has incentivized Americans to do things their own way—CBD and CBG products are now widely available online. Try these cannabinoids today to find out what all the fuss is about. Perhaps, like countless others, you’ll discover their healing power even without the government’s help.

 

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