Taking the cowardly route, the DEA announced Wednesday, just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, it will be rescheduling synthetic THC, the primary psychoactive component and presumed impetus for federal prohibition of cannabis, to a Schedule II substance — while nature’s original weed remains as illegal as meth, heroin, and ecstasy.

Fake weed is safer than real weed — in the minds of the drug warriors of the (Arbitrary) Drug Enforcement Agency.

Reiterating for emphasis, actual cannabis containing natural THC will remain irrationally listed as Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) — while the manufactured imitation, delta-9-THC, from Insys Therapeutics and found in Dronabinol (Syndros), will now be lowered to Schedule II.

A clearer giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry at the expense of millions of current and future American cannabis patients simply doesn’t exist.

As Herb notes, the rescheduling of the synthetic, imitation THC officially “recognizes its medicinal potential and allows for it to become a federally regulated prescription drug.”

On the laughably transparent contrary, organic THC, anything derived from or the cannabis plant, itself — will still be considered devoid of medicinal value or potential, and is still deemed as dangerous as highly addictive substances notorious for ruining lives.

In fact, to dispense with any possible confusion, the Drug Enforcement Agency immediately clarified the pharmaceutical industry’s version would be the only rescheduling pertaining to cannabis — weed, itself, will remain stringently verboten in the eyes of the law — stating,

“[I]t should be noted as a preliminary matter that any form of dronabinol other than in an FDA-approved drug product remains a schedule I controlled substance, and those who handle such material remain subject to the regulatory controls, and administrative, civil, and criminal sanctions, applicable to schedule I controlled substances set forth in the CSA and DEA regulations.”

This oh-so conveniently allows Insys to set the price for its manufactured THC — and this legal synthetic already runs patients upwards of $2,000 each month.

Not to worry, the antiquated agency acknowledged its hypocrisy, stating, as cited by the Cannabist,

“The DEA notes that FDA-approved products of oral solutions containing dronabinol have an approved medical use, whereas marijuana does not have an approved medical use and therefore remains in Schedule I.”

All of this, of course, counters mountains of research, anecdotal accounts, and scientific study documenting the clear medical benefits offered by cannabis, the plant. From treatment for veterans and others with PTSD to combating the nausea associated with chemotherapy, to cancer, autism, and relief from addiction to opioids — cannabis has saved and vastly improved lives — and that a human-concocted version of what many consider a naturally-occurring miracle won’t necessarily bring about the same prison term as the original is an affront to medicine, science, and reason.

And that’s not all.

As Herb points out, Insys Therapeutics isn’t unique in an industry notorious for greed, corruption, high prices, and p — the company’s reputation came into question first in conjunction with the national opioid crisis — another symptom of Big Pharma’s penchant for profiteering before patient care.

“As recently as October, Insys founder Dr. John N. Kapoor stepped down after charges were filed against him alleging that he bribed doctors to prescribe a fentanyl product produced by Insys. That product is a Transmucosal Immediate Release Fentanyl known as Subsys which was meant [for] cancer patients but prescribed widely to those who did not have cancer.”

In a scathing consumer fraud filing, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich contended,

“Insys engaged in a nationwide scheme in which it deceived insurers, patients, and doctors. Insys lied to insurers, concealed key facts from doctors and patients, and paid doctors sham “speaker fees” in exchange for writing prescriptions, all to increase the sales of Subsys, without regard for the health and safety of patients.”

Worse still, Insys has specifically and diligently committed resources to anti-cannabis legislation — donating $500,000 to counter cannabis legalization efforts in Arizona.

While the company insists its synthetic product offers consistency the plant cannot — and although that is arguably so, and indeed can benefit patients — deeming the very cannabis delta-9-THC imitates highly illegal and worthy of jail or even prison time isn’t a logical conclusion.

Or, it wouldn’t be — if the State weren’t keen to give Big Pharma a continuous stream of blank checks — at the people’s expense.


Images: Shutterstock/optimarc