Pubdate: Mon, 23 Jan 2012
Source: Daily Free Press (Boston U, MA Edu)
Copyright: 2012 Back Bay Publishing, Inc.
Bookmark: (GW Pharmaceuticals)


The debate over medicinal marijuana and cannabis products has been 
hotly contested for years. According to a Jan. 23 article on TIME's 
website, America has legalized medical use of marijuana in sixteen 
states, including the District of Columbia, and can be found in many 
products already on the market. Presently, a British company is now 
seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration for a spray 
that incorporates raw marijuana into its formula to ease cancer pain. 
GW Pharma, the company developing the spray, hopes to secure FDA 
approval by 2013.

If the medicine is approved, it would represent a significant shift 
in perception of the drug's medicinal properties. Medical marijuana 
products have been on the market for some time, but a medicine 
utilizing the plant itself will call into question how important its 
raw health properties are to patients in severe pain. The drug has 
already been approved in New Zealand, Canada, and several European 
countries in hopes that its introduction will underline the 
distinction, which sets medical use apart.

If its benefits are truly exceptional for cancer patients, the 
chances of the drug receiving the necessary approval will surely 
increase. In addition, the drug being manufactured in spray form will 
be much more practical for patients who are prevented from smoking or 
find it inconvenient. Savitex, the drug being produced by GW Pharma, 
is instigating optimism in the industry, but whether marijuana in its 
"crudest" form is truly useful will require much more research before 
it is admitted as fact.

Of course, the drug in question will be regulated through 
prescriptions to prevent any form of substance abuse. Potential side 
effects of depression will certainly inhibit progress in this 
specific field, but GW Pharma is hopeful this product will be an 
important breakthrough, helping other drugs emerge and offer another 
dimension to pain relief for cancer and relief from muscle spasms 
induced by multiple sclerosis. If the substance eases such unbearable 
pain, it is worth investigating further in order to explore medicinal 
options available to our society.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom