Saturday, September 24, 2011

On The Pharmaceuticalization of Marijuana- Lester Grinspoon


There is little doubt that pharmaceutical companies will develop some cannabinoid products which will be at least as useful as marijuana, and some will be uniquely so. Also, some may be expected to be free or nearly so of psychoactivity; this will allow them to be placed outside of the constraints of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Act classification, or at most assignment to Categories IV or V. They will require prescription and they will be expensive, but there will be a market. What is uncertain, and of course critical to a decision to develop new cannabinoid products, is the anticipated size of the market. The "pharmaceuticalization" of marijuana will only succeed if the pharmaceutical products displace marijuana as a medicine. This seems unlikely in view of the latter's limited toxicity, easy availability, low cost relative to pharmaceuticals, ease with which it can be self-titrated, growing access to vaporization devices, and its remarkable medical versatility. And if the legal costs of using marijuana are presently not so high that most people choose marijuana over dronabinol, it is difficult to imagine a level of enforcement which would eliminate use of the plant material.

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