View Full Version : Liquid Medical Marijuana To Be Approved in Canada

Mac Seafraidh
Friday, December 24th, 2004, 09:08 PM

DECEMBER 21, 2004
Liquid Medical Marijuana To Be Approved in Canada

Studies Demonstrate Relief of Multiple Sclerosis Pain

OTTAWA, CANADA -- The Canadian government announced today that it is ready to approve a natural marijuana extract, sold under the brand name Sativex, as a prescription drug. Sativex -- a liquid that is sprayed into the mouth -- will initially be approved for treatment of neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis patients.

The Qualifying Notice issued today by Health Canada sets out the conditions under which the drug, produced by GW Pharmaceuticals, can be approved as a prescription medicine. GW immediately signaled that the conditions were acceptable. Given the administrative procedures required, a company spokesman said it would be "months, but not many months" before Sativex will be available to Canadian patients.

Sativex is, for all practical purposes, marijuana in liquid form. Made from marijuana plants bred for specific levels of various active components, called cannabinoids, Sativex is similar to marijuana-based extracts and tinctures that were legally available in the United States until 1937. (Such products were manufactured by major drug companies and sold through pharmacies until the federal government banned marijuana in 1937.)

In clinical trials, Sativex relieved MS-related pain and other symptoms that were not helped by standard drugs, with remarkably few side effects. "This confirms that virtually everything the U.S. government has told us about marijuana is wrong," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "GW Pharmaceuticals has proven-and the Canadian government has acknowledged-that marijuana is indeed a medicine, one that is both effective and remarkably safe. This natural plant extract is nothing like Marinol, the THC pill sold in the United States, and GW's research shows conclusively that marijuana's medical benefits go far beyond THC."

"This product offers patients and doctors a new option, and Americans deserve access to it. The real lesson from this is that patients should have access to marijuana in whatever form they and their doctors find most useful," Kampia said. "Sativex is to marijuana as a cup of coffee is to coffee beans, and there is simply no justification for arresting patients for using different varieties of the same medication. In addition, marijuana in its natural form has significant advantages, including low cost and nearly instantaneous relief of symptoms."

With more than 18,000 members and 150,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. For more information, please visit MarijuanaPolicy.org.