Big Pharma Seeks to Capitalize on Pain-Reducing Compound Derived From Cannabis

(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout)(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout)

The medicinal properties of cannabidiol (better known as CBD), a compound found in the Cannabis sativa L. plant species, are quickly drawing the attention of scientists, plant-medicine lovers, dietary-supplement companies, venture capitalists, professional athletes and Big Pharma — not to mention people living with serious, chronic medical conditions. Insiders predict the burgeoning market will be as profitable as the NFL.

Today, if you run a search on PubMed.gov, a medical research database, you’ll find more than 1,500 academic articles on cannabidiol.

Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD has no euphoric properties whatsoever, and carries no street value. What it does offer, however, are a host of health benefits. According to a 2013 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, CBD has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation and also has anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and antidepressant properties.

Despite CBD’s incredible profile and ability to reduce human suffering, there’s a continuing debate over its legal status. Parts of the law are fuzzy and up for interpretation, depending on whom you ask.

“There is this issue of speaking out of both sides of one’s mouth when we discuss CBD,” said Joy Beckerman, president of Hemp Ace International, a Seattle-based consulting firm.

Big Pharma is now swooping in to monopolize both the THC and CBD markets.

For instance, the jury is still out when it comes to a whole slew of issues surrounding the plant compound: Is CBD truly legal in all 50 states, just some states or none at all? Meanwhile, it’s also unclear as to whether CBD is more legal if it’s being imported into the country compared to being grown on American soil. And finally is it safe to sell across state lines? And how about “CBD-only” medical marijuana laws? (Seventeen states, including Alabama and Florida, have legalized CBD for medical use while keeping THC illegal.)

“All of those questions…

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