Chapter 3 - (2nd Edition)


1.5 – What is the SYNTHETIC STUFF”


What was this “synthetic stuff”? The published Journal records show two sources:
  1. One source being Professor Roger Adams (a very well known chemist and Cannabis researcher at that time), via the University of Illinois at Urbana.

  2. The other being Abbott lab’s (Dr. R.K. Richard) a well known Pharmaceutical Company at the time.
With reference to Abbott Lab’s, repeated letters of inquire with regards to their Cannabis heritage have ALL been met with a good case of amnesia.   Boy do they have A-M-N-E-S-I-A, but as they are a private corporation, one guesses that they are well within their rights. However, below is an interesting letter that the reader might take note of; -- Note the date, which corresponds to the dates of the ‘epilepsy study’.

[From the Bureau of Narcotics – Courtesy National Archives, College Park, MD]
[Lettered Doctored for quicker download time]

NOTE: This letter was written in reply to a doctor requesting information on where to obtain Medical Cannabis.
October 31, 1949
Dr. E.P. Cuthbert
206 East Main Street
Titusville, Pennsylvania

Dear Sir:
Acknowledging receipt of your letter dated October 22, 1949, the following persons are authorized to manufacture and sell Cannabis Sativa:
Abbott Laboratories, Inc.
14th Street and Sheridan road
North Chicago, Illinois

Wayne W. Hull
104 south 39th Street
Omaha, Nebraska
The records of this office do not indicate that you are registered under the Marihuana Tax Act.   In order to purchase and dispense marihuana it is necessary that you procure registration under this act, since your narcotic registration, License No. 5391, covers narcotics only and does not qualify you to handle marihuana products.

There is enclosed a copy of Regulations No. 1, and your attention is invited to Articles 3, 4, 5, 15, 42, 46, 49, and 53 to 59, inclusive, relative to registration, tax, procurement and use of order forms, and dispensing.

Blank Form 678c is enclosed for your use in case you wish to apply for registration under the Marihuana Tax Act.
Very truly yours,

(signed) G.W. Cunningham
Acting Commissioner of narcotics
Fortunately for us, the other source “Professor Roger Adams of the University of Illinois at Urbana, was a bit more forth coming.   He wrote numerous articles on the subject of Medical Cannabis – many regard him as a legend in early Cannabis research.

[pix] [Sir Roger Adams]

For those of you who are interested in the man, much of his published articles can be located via the ‘Journal of the American Chemical Society.’   In general, from what we have gathered from his published works just before 1947, as well as the two articles mentioned in the Newspaper article: Those being:
  • Federation Proceedings, Federation of American Society for Experimental Biology, Loewe and Goodman Vol.6: p.352, [dealing with a bunch of lab rats being given THC – without negative effects.]

  • Federation Proceedings, Federation of American Society for Experimental Biology, Vol.8, lY49, p.284. [dealing with the epilepsy study – positive results]
We also conclude that the drug in use was NOT actual Cannabis the plant, but a form of synthetic Cannabis homologs [4] that was developed by Mr. Adams, shortly before the study.   This substance was tested along side Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)[3] and was found to be chemically similar in effect.

Thus we can’t say that actual Cannabis was used in the study, but the experimental drug was very similar.   However, this does not alter Harry Anslingers interest in the study, and also raises the following question – Why Would The D.E.A., Care One Way Or Another, About A Medical Study?   What was their interest?

Larry Sloman (aka Ratso) in his book, Reefer madness: the history of marijuana in America, probably came up with the best answer.   While interviewing one of Harry Anslingers (now retired) Field Agents, quoted him as follows; [5] [para quoted here]
[dealing with the subject of Medical research] . . . Harry, had a special desk with a well-respected chemist to take care of such requests.   Anyway, that chemist knew what Anslinger wanted and always found some scientific reason to deny incoming Federal permit requests for medical research --- if it had anything to do with Cannabis. . . .
Which explains Anslinger’s anxiety and the Bureau’s special interest in this study in particular.   Because this one made use of artificial Cannabis, from two sources that were already licensed under the Marihuana Tax Act by the Bureau.   This one seems to have slipped right through the cracks --- thus the reason (in this museum’s opinion) for the special interest from the Bureau.

Today [for all practical purposes] it is against the law to do any medical research on Medical Cannabis in this country.   And has been so probably since the days of Harry Anslinger.   HOW? --- To quote another section of this book (on why Medical Cannabis will never be legalized) :

. . . The narc's have a very long history of repressing / ignoring the truth. . . . There are numerous other ways the narc's have of assuring that Cannabis NEVER gets FDA approval. HOW?

You want to do medical research [6] on Cannabis, you FIRST have to get a permit from the Drug Police. Of which, they simply don't give out.   In fact, since the passage of the control substances act (1970), all the way up until California passed Prop-215 legalizing Medical Cannabis under their state laws, NONE were issued. According to Chemical Heritage Magazine:
"Today, American researchers who wish to obtain legal cannabis for scientific study must apply to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which maintains a government-funded, 1.5-acre marijuana farm in Oxford, Mississippi.   Compared with street marijuana, however, the government's plants are low in cannabinoid content, and some researchers have also complained of the institute's slow and seemingly arbitrary decisions.   In 1994 Donald Abrams, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, proposed to study the effects of smoking cannabis on HIV-related weight loss, but his application was rejected by NIDA, even though it had been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.   When he then resubmitted his proposal, this time emphasizing the drug's potential negative effects, NIDA not only approved the study but also provided him with nearly a million dollars in funding.   Another researcher, Lyle Craker of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, applied to the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2001 for the right to grow cannabis for research purposes as a way of sidestepping these potency and access issues.   For three years he heard nothing, until a federal court ordered the Drug Enforcement Administration to respond.   They said no, so he sued them. That case is still under way. "
. . . . . The chill affected researchers as well as clinicians. Medical journals published dozens of studies before the tax act but few after its enactment.   As researcher Lester Grinspoon noted, " virtually no medical investigation of cannabis was conducted for many years " as a string of additional laws, including the 1951 Boggs Act and the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, further deterred research." --- T. Geller - Chemical Heritage Magazine

Which is a nice way of [saying] -- NO WAY IS IT EVER GOING TO BE RE-LEGALIZED.

420 Magazine -
[2]— For the purist, it is uncertain whether Dr. Jean Davis is doctor by PHD degree or a licensed MD.   In either case it would not effect the study as licensed MD’s were involved in the research. [3]-- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - According to the Wikipedia
“Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), also known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (?9-THC), is the principal psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant.   First isolated in 1964 . . . more. “
However, as this study was conducted in 1947 (and as pure THC was not isolated until 1964), we must use a different definition.   That being, a resinous substance extracted from the flowering tops of the female Hemp plant, picked just before pollination.   Or in other words, Tetrahydrocannabinol can be thought of as just being another word for Cannabis the plant.
[4]-- HOMOLOGS - WARNING, no one over here is a chemist, as such we just think of this word as being akin to – an inferior chemical (made in a lab) imitation of a naturally occurring substance. Or something that’s around 85% chemically (just like) but not quite.   Thus when someone says, THC-homologs, they mean a synthetic substance or version of the real thing that’s not quite as good.
[5]— The quotation is not a word for word quotation, so as not to be sued under the copyright laws, but in context is ok.
[6] - The narc's did give out permits to do Safety research on Cannabis, but it is a historic fact that they never allowed for any kind of FDA approval type of research to be done -- NO WAY.


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