Pot Standards

Patented Pot vs. the Herbal Gold Standard

During the last decade a split has developed within the marijuana community. 

One group is comprised of those who believe that the community’s interests are best served by patenting marijuana strains and marijuana medicines in order to make them safer, more effective, more legitimate, more understood or, perhaps most importantly, more readily accessible since they will be legally available.

The other group consists of those who believe that smoked Cannabis is the “gold standard” ; the safest, cheapest and, largely because of the ease with which it can be titrated, the most effective form Cannabis medicine will take.

This second group denies any real advantage of marijuana patents to the consumer, challenges any claim of exclusive rights of the first group to sell a particular strain and opposes the exploitation of a combination of patents and prohibition to force consumers to settle for an inferior product.

Within the first group we find those such as Britain’s GW Pharmaceuticals, who (with the help of pharmaceutical-giant Bayer) is now selling their whole-plant Cannabis spray Sativex. This group also includes the Toronto-based Cannasat Therapeutics, The Nevada-based Dynamic Alert Ltd and various other smaller operations.

These companies are looking to patent Cannabis medicines, strains of Cannabis or both – if they haven’t already done so.

Pot Pirates

Even the US government has gotten in on the pot action. Patent #6,630,507 was awarded to the US Department of Health and Human Services in 2003, and states that cannabinoids are neuroprotectants and anti-inflammitory agents, useful in the prevention and treatment of stroke, trauma, auto-immune disorders, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and HIV dementia as well as many other diseases.

There are many herbal medicines that have successfully fought off attempted patents and monopolies.

The anti-bacterial neem tree and even the vision-producing ayahuasca have all been subjects of patent attempts. Neem tree activists have used defenses such as “traditional knowledge” and “prior art” and “community heritage” in order to legally protect their healing tree from monopoly.

Unfortunately, the patent on a strain of ayahuasca remains in effect to this day.

Cannabis monopolies are nothing new. One can argue that the prohibition of Moses’s holy kanneh-bosm annointing oil – found in Exodus 30:32 – a prohibition for people other than priests and kings – was a type of Cannabis monopoly.

When botanical medicine became popular again in the fourteen hundreds, women healers were first called “unschooled” and later called “witches” to prevent them from competing with the newly emerging male pharmacists.

The same thing happened in the mid eighteen hundreds, except this time instead of “witches”, these botanical healers were called “quacks”.

Patented Pot vs. the Herbal Gold Standard
By Lester Grinspoon and David Malmo-Levine
Full article online at; Cannabisculture.com/v2/node/19879


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