“…marijuana a schedule 1 drug, a controlled substance that has some potential for abuse and no medical value. But the federal government also owns, through the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a patent that appears to acknowledge marijuana can act as medicine.
The potential contradiction is a big deal for supporters of marijuana legalization and medical marijuana. If the federal government thinks marijuana has some medical value, then the drug should be rescheduled to a lower legal restriction — one that could give state governments the ability to implement relaxed marijuana laws without as much federal interference.
The federal government’s patent (US6630507), issued to HHS in 2003, claims the legal rights to several non-psychoactive components — meaning compounds that don’t get someone high — in marijuana, including CBD (cannabidiol), which made headlines recently for its ability to treat seizures in children. The patent claims the cannabinoids can act as antioxidants and neuroprotectants that are useful for treating ischemic, age-related, inflammatory, and autoimmune diseases; Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; and HIV dementia.
The patent allows for further research into the cannabinoids, and it lets companies apply for licenses they could use to develop drugs based on the components.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) previously granted an exclusive license to the company Kannalife to develop drugs based on these non-psychoactive compounds for the treatment of brain damage caused by a diseased liver. Before the drugs reach the market, the company will have to conduct clinical trials and obtain Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.”