03 March 2022 |

Does Cannabis Have Medicinal Value?

By Kaitlin Domangue

Breaking down the idea that cannabis doesn’t have medicinal value

Words carry weight, and the scheduling of cannabis as a schedule I drug in the United States is a very clear demonstration of this.

Despite the fact that we now have 37 out of 50 American states providing patients with access to medical cannabis products, the U.S federal government remains set on scheduling cannabis as a Schedule I drug.

A Double Standard

The American federal government says cannabis has no accepted medical use. Really and truly, that’s what they say. 

The Drug Enforcement Agency says cannabis is a Schedule I substance, which “[is] defined as drugs with currently no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” LSD, heroine, and ecstasy are also classified as such. 

Consequentally, that’s why plant-touching cannabis businesses, like dispensaries, can’t claim standard business expenses on their taxes. 

Cannabis In The Capitol 

Regardless of what the DEA says, other pieces of evidence tell a very different story about the federal government’s stance on medical cannabis. 

For starters, Washington D.C. has a medical cannabis program such that in the same region where federal lawmakers govern the U.S, medical cannabis patients are legally purchasing cannabis and contributing to the lawmakers’ local economy. 

Additionally, about a month ago, The D.C. Council had a unanimous vote, allowing senior citizens to self-certify for a medical cannabis card without getting a doctor’s recommendation.

Better yet, Washington DCcreated a “holiday” coinciding with 4/20 where patients don’t pay the 6% sales tax Washington D.C. requires. 

All of this progress is great to see, however, it highlights the hypocrisy of the currently situation whereby federal lawmakers continue to deny the fact that the American population has already made it’s mind up on medical cannabis.

Over 85% of Americans supported legalizing cannabis for medical purposes in 2019, and this support to legalize cannabis has risen to as high as 91% in 2022.

That’s almost the entire country, and any federal government that truly works for the people should listen to this issue, however, there remains all too few politicians who are willing to risk their reputation to resolve it.

The Cannabis Patent 

While it might seem odd that the federal government would refuse to legalize cannabis for medical purposes with 91% of the nation supporting this decision, what’s even more interesting are the patents they hold.

One patent, United States Patent 6,630,507, involves the antioxidant and neuroprotective properties of cannabis.

This patent has been held by the U.S. government since 2003, specifically The Department of Health and Human Services, just a few years after California legalized medical cannabis. 

“The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia,” reads the patent. 

The Landmark Cannabis Case

There’s also Robert Randall, who won a landmark U.S. cannabis case in 1976.

He was arrested for growing cannabis on his porch, which he did to treat glaucoma. Randall underwent extensive testing to prove nothing else could lower the pressure in his eyes and slow his loss of vision. 

Randall pleaded not guilty and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia ruled in his favor. Randall became eligible for legal, medically supervised cannabis, and was shipped his medical cannabis allotment to a pharmacy in Sarasota.

He was given 10 “marijuana cigarettes” per day, seven days a week, making him the first person to successfully enter an arrangement like this with the U.S. federal government, however, such stories are all too uncommon.

Our Take: 

The scheduling of cannabis as a federal I drug undermines the scheduling of every other substance listed on the controlled substance list.

It’s common knowledge that cannabis has medical value, and the continued denouncement of this by the U.S federal government highlights a very large disconnect between the actions states are taking vs the federal leadership.

Nonetheless, with members of both the Republican and Democratic party supporting proposals to legalize cannabis, it certainty seems as though it’s only a matter of time until cannabis is rescheduled in the United States.