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Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Brief History of Cannabis: 1980's - by Chelsea Shaker

Marinol, (Synthetic THC) & Smoked Marijuana Tested on Cancer Patients

     “In 1980, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) began experimental distribution of a new drug called Marinol, an oral form of THC (the primary active ingredient in marijuana), to cancer patients in San Francisco. Simultaneously, six states conducted studies comparing smoked marijuana to oral THC in cancer patients who had not responded to traditional anti-vomiting medication. These state-sponsored studies revealed that thousands of patients found marijuana safer and more effective than synthetic THC. Meanwhile, the NCI experiments showed that some patients responded well to Marinol... Confronted with two different medical recommendations, the government chose to dismiss the state studies and give Marinol the green light.”

Kambiz Akhavan  “Marinol vs. Marijuana: Politics, Science, and Popular Culture,”, 1997

Legal Medical Marijuana Patients Form Organization
to Help Others Obtain Access

     “In 1981, Bob [Randall, the first legal medical marijuana patient under the IND program] and Alice [O’Leary, his wife] formed an organization called the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics or ACT, of which I was a charter member. Our goal was to help other patients and their doctors file Compassionate Care Protocols, and to guide them through the government maze.”
Irvin Rosenfeld  My Medicine: How I Convinced the US Government to Provide My Marijuana and Helped Launch a National Movement, 2010

U.S. Government Sells Marinol Patent

     “In 1981, the government agreed to sell the Marinol patent to Unimed, and Unimed applied to the FDA for permission to market the pill as a treatment for nausea. In November 1984, the FDA rejected Unimed’s application because clinical tests that had been done on the drug were deficient. But Unimed hustled up some more data, and by June 1985, the FDA delivered its approval. A year later, the DEA gave it a green light.”
Elsa Scott  “Marinol: The Little Synthetic That Couldn’t,” High Times Magazine, July 1994

May 1985
Marinol Approved by FDA

    “Made by Unimed, Marinol is the trade name for dronabinol, a synthetic form of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the principal psychoactive components of botanical marijuana. It was approved in May 1985 for nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy in patients who fail to respond to conventional antiemetic treatments. In December 1992, it was approved by FDA for the treatment of anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with AIDS. Marketed as a capsule, Marinol was originally placed in Schedule II.”

Mark Eddy  CRS Report for Congress: “Medical Marijuana: Review and Analysis of Federal and State Policies”

Anti-Drug Abuse Act Increases Penalties for Marijuana Possession and Dealing

     President Reagan signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, instituting mandatory sentences for drug-related crimes. In conjunction with the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, the new law raised federal penalties for marijuana possession and dealing, basing the penalties on the amount of the drug involved. Possession of 100 marijuana plants received the same penalty as possession of 100 grams of heroin. A later amendment to the Anti-Drug Abuse Act established a “three strikes and you’re out” policy, requiring life sentences for repeat drug offenders, and providing for the death penalty for “drug kingpins.”
Frontline  “Busted: America’s War on Marijuana,” (accessed July 21, 2010)

Sep.6, 1988
DEA Judge Francis Young Recommends Marijuana Be Placed in Schedule II

“Administrative law judge Francis Young was asked by the Drug Enforcement Administration in 1988 to comment on the merits of rescheduling marijuana [in response to NORML’s 1972 petition]. Young suggested that marijuana be rescheduled [from schedule I to schedule II] for nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy. He also concluded that the evidence was insufficient to warrant the use of crude marijuana for glaucoma or pain.”

Eric A. Voth, MD  Richard H. Schwartz, MD  “Medicinal Applications of Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Marijuana,” Annals of Internal Medicine, May 15, 1997

“The evidence in this record clearly shows that marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.”

Francis L. Young  “Ruling in the matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition”

Dec.30, 1989
DEA Administrator Overrules Francis Young and Orders That Cannabis Remain a Schedule I Controlled Substance

     “In December 1989, DEA Administrator Jack Lawn overruled the decision of one administrative law judge [Francis Young] who had agreed with marijuana advocates that marijuana should be moved from Schedule I to Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act. This proposed rescheduling of marijuana would have allowed physicians to prescribe the smoking of marijuana as a legal treatment for some forms of illness.

     Administrator Lawn maintained that there was no medicinal benefit to smoking marijuana... [and] that marijuana should remain a Schedule I controlled substance.”

US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)  “A Tradition of Excellence: The History of the DEA from 1973-2003,” DEA website (accessed Aug. 17, 2010)

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