Taking the fun out of marijuana.
We've taken the caffeine out of coffee, the alcohol out of beer, and the smoke out of tobacco. What's next?
Taking the fun out of pot.
What's that? Do I hear you snickering at your keyboard? You think this is a backdoor way of legalizing weed?
For shame, says the company:
Sativex is a cannabinoid pharmaceutical product standardized in composition, formulation, and dose, administered by means of an appropriate delivery system, which has been, and continues to be, tested in properly controlled preclinical and clinical studies. Crude herbal cannabis in any form—including a crude extract or tincture—is none of those things.
So there. Sativex isn't pot. It's a carefully refined derivative: "Once the plants have matured, they are harvested and dried. GW then extracts the cannabinoids and other pharmacologically-active components … [to] arrive at a pharmaceutical grade material." Patients are further expected to regulate their intake to separate pot's approved effects—relief of pain and spasms—from its unapproved effects:
By careful self-titration (dose adjustment), most patients are able to separate the thresholds for symptom relief and intoxication, the 'therapeutic window', so enabling them to obtain symptom relief without experiencing a 'high'.
Bummer, eh? The company knows exactly what you're thinking:
Why not just let patients smoke cannabis?
In GW's opinion, smoking is not an acceptable means of delivery for a medicine. We believe that patients wish to use a medicine that is legally prescribed, does not require smoking, is of guaranteed quality, has been developed and approved by regulatory authorities for use in their specific medical condition and is dispensed by pharmacists under the supervision of their doctor.
Will Saletan covers science, technology, and politics for Slate and says a lot of things that get him in trouble.
Photograph of a marijuana plant by Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images.