Cannabis and Present-Day Medical Products

Chapter 20


"Medical Marihuana has NO Medical Uses, None what-So-Ever"
"Those who think that it does ---- Well They're in Denial, In Denial" --[San Jose Narc, screaming into the radio]

"and Bullwinkle was a mouse"


Of late, there has been much interest into the newer (Modern-Day) Cannabis medical products that have been coming onto the market. None however has stirred-up as much controversy as Marinol [generic name dronabinol], a synthetic form of actual Cannabis, which is fully FDA approved for medical use.

One thing that most antique Cannabis collectors find interesting is that Marinol or at least the name of Marinol is nothing new. Its been around since the 19th Century, although that product. . .




Tax Stamps




GW Pharm



20.1 - MARINOL -- The SYNTHETIC CANNABIS: [See Pictures]

MARINOL - Technically speaking Marinol is a synthetic [chemical] form of Cannabis and "Ironies of Ironies," at one time marketed by Roxanne Laboratories [a.k.a. The Columbus Pharmacal Co.], which made extensive use of Cannabis before the anti-Medical Marihuana laws went into effect.

While many people criticized its medical efficiency, it is fully FDA approved and legal while actual Cannabis [the plant] is NOT. And what is it that Mezz Mezzrow was once quoted as saying: "Of Course Cannabis is more dangerous that Alcohol, you can get sent to jail for it". Which is another way of saying, Marinol is good enough for government work.

WHY THE NAME?   Although this is only a guess, the name does seems to have a certain likeness to another word.

Although better than nothing, the author is of the opinion that Marinol will not replace Cannabis [the plant], and for the following reasons:
  • First MARINOL IS NOT ALL THAT GOOD At What It Does: The Mfg.'s of Marinol openly admit (in literature they hand out) that between 80% to 90% of their drug IS USELESS within the human body.   In addition they also admit that for some percentage of the population Marinol won't even work, while actual Medical Marihuana (the plant) will.   Again, this is in the literature that they hand out.

  • MARINOL IS EXPENSIVE, very expensive; In fact there is as much as a 100-to-1 cost ratio between the two. But don't take my word for it, do the math.
    • If Legal, a pound of high-quality Medical Marihuana would cost (much less than) $100.oo,[1] which is enough to create 400 [2] Cigarettes.
    • That 15 mg of Marinol, is the equivalent of one-half of a Cannabis cigarette. [3] Therefore one pound of Cannabis = 800 medical doses, or the equivalent of 27,397-mg of Marinol.
    • That 20 mg of legal Marinol can costs $1,050 per month or $12,500 per year.
    Now at this point, do the rest of the math yourself, and Ought!

  • Marinol [an oral drug] is very slow ACTING.   WHY?   The NCI [National Cancer Institute] openly admits that Cannabis [the plant] is absorbed by the human body a lot quicker than Marinol.   Just how much faster will of course depend upon the individual, but in general Cannabis takes effect within a minute or two, while Marinol's effects are analogies to aspirin.   For me it takes anywhere between 20 minutes to two hours before any headache relief is forthcoming. [11]

  • Legal or Not, the narc's don't like Marinol: Why, it seems that it is now being used [by what the narc's would term, "Unwashed Hippies"] to mask the effects of Illegal Medical Cannabis during drug tests. At least one doctor has already been dragged into court because some probation officer complained about what effect it was having on a court-mandated drug test. NO Joke, now even doctors are afraid to prescribe it.
Numerous other factors can be pointed to, but I think the reader gets the idea. And once more, remember what Mezz Mezzrow once said, "Cannabis is more dangerous that Alcohol, you can get sent to jail for it". Which is another way of saying, Marinol is good enough for government work.

PRICE WISE, these containers [that's both the cardboard box as well as actual container] are selling from between, $5 and $10 dollars. [See Pictures]

One thing that most antique Cannabis collectors find interesting is that Marinol or at least the name of Marinol is nothing new. Its been around since the 19th Century, although that product [other than in name] seems to have had nothing to do with Cannabis.

MarinolAd1927A.jpg MarinolAd1927B.jpg
MARINOL - [Ad Reads] Homogenized cod liver oil, with extracts of marine algae--Fucus Vesiculosus, Chondrus crispus, and concentrated sterile deep - sea - water. Marinol is really delicious and digestible. - 8 oz. bottles, $8.00 per dozen - Fairchild Bros. & Foster - - - - New York

QUESTION: Did this product every contain Medical Cannabis?
ANSWER: As can be seen from the [See Picture] antique bottle of Cod Liver Oil, some manufacturers did indeed include Cannabis as part of their product. However, the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, required any medical product that made use of Cannabis to list that fact on the label. As (Antique) Marinol did not do so, it can be safely assumed that it did NOT.

Bottle came from the estate of a bottle collector, (era 1930's and 40's). This auction is for a clear bottle measuring approx. 6.75" tall and a and is marked on the front side label "Syrup of Tar Cod Liver Oil Extract and Menthol for recent & chronic coughs, colds, loss of voice, hoarseness, bronchitis, etc" Ingredients: include "Chloroform, opium, cannabis, morphine, squills, bloodroot, wild cherry" etc. This stuff sounds potent! Bottle is nice and a little dusty/dirty on the inside from years of storage and really is better than my picture shows. [See Picture]. Bottom of the label states it was prepared by W. E. Armstrong? [4] [per auctioneers write-up]


Government issued Medical Cannabis is nothing new. The Federal Government, through the Department of Agriculture, has been maintaining, experimental drug farms, since long before the passage of the anti-Medical Marihuana laws.

And after the passage of these laws these farms were than used to provide governmentally approved experimental as well as medical supplies. However, all of that was to change in 1970 with the passage of the Control substances Act under than President Richard Nixon.

The Act itself created three very ugly and imposing situations:

  • First, it actually outlawed Medical Cannabis, once and for all. Prior to than, contrary to what most people think, Cannabis was still legal, ---so long as you paid an impossible tax on it.

  • Second, it reclassified Cannabis as a Controlled or Schedule 1 Drug, which is defined as follows:
      (A) The drug is highly addictive
      (B) The drug has no currently accepted U.S. medical use
      (C) Safety wise, it's very dangerous to use
  • Third, and here talk about the fox guarding the hen house, it actually gave away the whole store. Believe it or not, the Act actually gave the Narcotics police the power, via its licensing privilege, to veto any and all future medical Cannabis research in the Country. If you wanted to "Legally" do research on Medical Marihuana, you first had to get a license from them. AND, needless to say, if it was for Medical research they simply didn't give out any. In fact from the very passage of the act all the way until the passage of Proposition 215 (California State Medical Marihuana Initiative), which finally forced the issue, NO Medical research studies were allowed. ONLY SAFETY studies were allowed during this time period, and then only under extremely controlled conditions.

    As one doctor so well put it:
    "If you wanted to procure marijuana for testing, [you could] however, you had to promise that the research would show that marijuana was somehow harmful. I quit." [5]
    But maybe I'm getting a little too much into politics, let's get back to the subject of antiques and their prices.

    Because some medical Cannabis studies were already underway, when the Control Substances Act was passed, these studies were thus grandfathered in and had to be allowed to continue. However because some of the patients in the studies needed to use Cannabis for the rest of their lives, a very humorous thing happened, the government itself was now forced to supply these fortunate few with legal and FREE Medical Cannabis for life. One could say that the Federal Government was in fact, the Medical Marihuana Drug Lord. Thus the creation of these [in my opinion] somewhat ugly looking Cannabis containers, which are now selling for big, big bucks.

    And while the containers the government farm [somewhere in Mississippi] sends them in are far from Antiques, they are quickly becoming collectors items on their own right. No antique Cannabis collection is complete without one of these.

    Unfortunately those lucky few (or unlucky because of their illnesses) constitute only a small handful of patients, and so their aren't very many of these containers around. In fact some of them have been going for the $800 dollar mark, but being philosophical, many of them are being donated to none profits, who sell them to raise money for their causes. So at least we can all feel good about the high prices. [See Pictures]

    20.4 - MARIHUANA TAX STAMPS: [See Pictures]

    Although the far from antiques, these stamps are becoming all the rage among collectors. The story behind them [as best as I know it] is as follows:

    In 1983 as part of the "War On Drugs," one of the states [I forget exactly which one] started issuing out Cannabis Tax Stamps. The idea was to catch criminals [a.k.a. Medical Marihuana Drug Lords] who, if caught without the stamps, would then be charged with the additional crime of not paying state taxes etc. Anyway, the idea caught on, and soon some 20 or more states were issuing them out.

    Now, I don't know exactly what these idiots were smoking, or what-else was going through their minds, but things DIDN'T quite work out that way.

    First, the stamps were so cute [Hey, look at some of them], that stamp collectors quickly started (ah!) collecting them. In fact they seem to be all the rage and are now selling for a good premium. But leaving that aside, it seems that they weren't the only ones buying them. Soon, according to legal authorities, so-called Medical Marihuana Drug Lords were using them as a legal defense against state laws. It seems that the Supreme Court (or so I am told) had stated that you can't Tax an illegal activity etc. Which seems to have created a legal dilemma, which made most if not all states STOP selling them, which made the stamp collectors quite happy as the price of their stamps went up, which . . . etc. [See Pictures]

    20.5 - INDIAN MEDICINE: [See Pictures]

    Both England as well as the U.S. removed Cannabis from their official pharmacopoeia's during the reefer madness era.[6] [7] Thus it is felt by many that political NOT medical logic was in used.

    However, NOT ALL countries and National Pharmacopeia's did so. One of the best examples is India, where the medical properties of Cannabis had been established and in use for millennia's. There all pharmaceutical students, to this very day, are still taught how to properly dispense it.



    According to [The Non-Governmental] Indian Materia Medica[8], in 1941 Cannabis was recommended for treating the following ailments:
    Uses.--- are prescribed by Hakims and Vaidyas in bowel complaints and recommended as apetisers, as nervous stimulants and as a source of great staying-power under severe exertion or fatigue. Leaves make a good snuff for deterging the brain ; their juice applied to the head removes dandruff and vermin ; dropped into the ear it allays pain and destroys worms ; it checks the discharge in diarrhea and gonorrhea. Powder of the leaves applied to fresh wounds promotes granulation ; a poultice of the plant is applied to local inflammations, erysipelas, neuralgia, hemorrhoids, etc., as an anodyne or sedative. The dose of the leaves is 40 grains internally. Externally, a poultice of the fresh bruised leaves is useful in affections of the eye with photophobia ; also applied to relieve pain and swelling in orchitis. The concentrated resin exudate (resinous matter) extracted from the leaves and flowering tops or agglutinated spikes of C. sativa, and known as nasha or charas which form the active principle when collected separately, is used to produce sleep in cases of sleeplessness, in which opium is contraindicated ; it is valuable in preventing and curing sick-headaches, neuralgias, migraine (malarial and periodical), valuable in acute mania, whooping cough, asthma, dysuria and in relieving pain in dysmenorrheal and menorrhagia and pain of the last stages of phthisis ; it increases appetite. It does not produce loss of appetite or constipation like opium. For asthma and tetanus the dose of the extract is from 1/4 to 2 grains ; the leaves powdered, mixed with sugar and well fried in ghee and with black pepper added are administered in chronic diarrhea ; with poppy seeds the extract is given in dysentery ; with asafoetida it is given in hysteria. In cases of chronic colic wonderful effect is produced by the administration of 1 grain of the extract in combination with 1/4 grain of ipecacuanha. In dysentery about half a drachm of dried tender leaves mixed with a little sugar and black pepper powder is a well-known and successful remedy ; the tincture of the British Pharmacopoeia is also used in 15 to 20 minim doses three time a day especially in acute dysentery ; combined with belladonna it is given in whooping cough, infantile convulsions, hepatic and renal colic, tetanus and hydrophobia. Oil extracted from the seeds is used for rubbing in rheumatism. Paste applied to the head relieves dandruff and vermin. . . [and more]
    Small wonder then that many "present day" Cannabis pharmaceutical products have a strong Indian connection of some kind or another. In India, news-items such as the one below are not uncommon:
    A German pharmaceutical Co., Von-Hoffmeister Pharmaceutical's, is attempting to set up a joint venture to carry out medical research here in India on AIDS therapy.

    Speaking with reporters, Mr K. Ramanathan, R&D Management Analyst at Von-Hoffmeister Pharmaceuticals , said that the Cannabis has been in medical use in India for a long, long time.

    According to him, although extremely well documented in literature the Medical Cannabis was abruptly brought to an end, with the Marijuana Tax Act passed in the US in 1937, banned the use of the plant parts for any medication or industry. This not only killed the plants medical uses, but also much research into the use of cannabis in medicine.[9]

    20.6 - JAMAICA: [See Pictures]


    When one thinks of Jamaica, one usually thinks of travel, tourism, and white sandy beaches. However, it is now also gaining more and more attention as the land where (while still illegal) Cannabis medicines are beginning to flourish. One can say that, unlike the United States, Jamaica "Politically Speaking," is taking a more enlightened view towards the subject of legitimate medical research.   And as anyone with any knowledge of our present-day political situation (with regards to Medical Cannabis) knows; "Politics Is Everything".

    For instance, take the following official FDA news release, essentially stating that Medical Cannabis HAS NO MEDICAL USES:



    . . . Marijuana is listed in schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the most restrictive schedule. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which administers the CSA, continues to support that placement and FDA concurred because marijuana met the three criteria for placement in Schedule I under 21 U.S.C. 812(b)(1) (e.g., marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision). Furthermore, there is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful. A past evaluation by several Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), concluded that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use. There are alternative FDA-approved medications [Marinol] in existence for treatment of many of the proposed uses of smoked marijuana. . . . [see complete news release]
    Now let's be honest with ourselves: What is that old Libertarian expression, "There is no such thing as Government, only people in control of Government." And so a Question: Did the person(s) [within the FDA] who put out that news release, do so out of medical or political reasons? I believe the reader who has looked over any other chapter within this book can easily answer that question for themselves.

    Small wonder then that most new modern-day Cannabis based pharmaceuticals are making their appearance OUTSIDE of the US, in places like Jamaica.

    According to various websites:

    Canasol CANASOL an ophthalmic drop solution prepared from cannabis sativa which contains 0.3% active solid. Canasol's research has proven this product effective to reduce the adverse symptoms of glaucoma by reducing intraocular pressure and having no side effects. This product has been approved by the Ministry of Health of Jamaica.

    Asmasol ASMASOL is used to treat asthma, coughs and colds also reduces vomiting and nausea in patients with cancer and AIDS. When they take it, they vomit less and eat more and are able to put on weight" [Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Mfg. of Asmasol]

    Cantimol CANTIMOL is a more potent version [of Canasol] has been developed, but not yet registered, and the team is ready for clinical trial of a third active ingredient isolated from ganja for the treatment of motion sickness.

    20.7 - NOVELTY ITEMS: [See Pictures]


    Novelty items are nothing new, they've been around probably since before (now) antique Cannabis medicines were around.

    Some Kind of Bib -- Possibly a free give-away advertisement for "Victor's Infant Relief."   [see Chapter 8, on cough syrups ]

    Today, a whole host of Cannabis related novelty collectables are beginning to crop up. Anyone doing an internet search under the keywords, "Marihuana" + "Law enforcement Patches," can see how whole businesses have been created around just selling, "Anti-Medical Marihuana Law Enforcement Patches."   Oh Well, what is it that bob Dylan once said, "Everyday someone new figures out a way to take your money away."

    But anyway leaving aside all the rip-off commercial stuff; posters of scantly clad women holding hemp leafs, T-shirts and hats with flowing tops etc., some medical novelties are being seriously looked at by antique collectors.

    Perhaps the best example, are used [believe it or not] now empty plastic bags, used [again using the past tense] by Cannabis buyers clubs and collectives, [10] to dispense their product. The best kind are those that contain some "Brand Name" or the name of the collective on the label.

    However, price wise, collectors should be warned that, at least for the present, while interest is up, prices are not. And due to the ease of counterfeiting these fine little empty bags, it may be best to simply treat them as novelties but NOT investments. Example: Is the bag pictured [See Picture] a total fake or did it really once contain a medical product? [See Chapter 2]

    20.8 - GW PHARMACEUTICALS: [See Pictures]

    Personally, I was very taken aback a while ago when I went over to the European Patent Office's website, only to see how far behind we [in the U.S.] were falling behind.

    Doing a search under the keywords, HEMP, or CANNABIS quickly shows that the majority of those patients are issued to companies with names like; "Fu-Manchu Laboratories" or "La-Frog Pharmaceuticals" etc.   Few American companies are listed.

    It then should come as no surprise that much of the modern-day R&D on Cannabis is currently done abroad. Perhaps the best example of this is GW Pharmaceuticals which already has products on sale in various countries.

    According to their website:
    GW pharmaceuticals is developing a portfolio of cannabis medicines the first of which, "Sativex®", received an Approval with Conditions from Health Canada in April 2005 for use as an adjunctive treatment for the symptom relief of neuropathic pain in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Sativex® was launched in Canada in June 2005.

    A fact sheet, "Dear Healthcare Provider" letter and product monograph for Sativex® are now available via the Bayer Canada website. These documents are intended for use only by patients and healthcare professionals in Canada.
    Note, however that other pharmaceuticals, some start ups working on a shoestring, some long established in pharmaceuticals, are also getting involved. A good internet web search can help locate many of them.


    First, and here I cannot underestimate this enough, many of these newer Cannabis products are not only NOT [FDA] approved, they are also out and out, ILLEGAL. Even Marinol, which is FDA approved, still requires a doctors prescription.   In fact, ALL cannabis products, with the exception of Hemp Seed Oil, fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Control Substances Act, and as such are illegal for collectors (antique or otherwise), to possess.   BUT fortunately the empty containers, of and by themselves are not.

    Here I better be careful with my words, for what-ever-reason, every time I give a talk on the subject, there's always someone out there who wants me to give them medical advice!   So to first set the record very straight, this author makes no pretense of having any medical training; I have none, NONE-WHAT-SO-EVER.

    However here, I would feel negligent if I were not to at least warn the reader of possible health hazards.   Let me put it this way, while having no medical training, I do feel myself in possession of what I would call common-horse-sense. And after doing a lot of research for this chapter: I feel it safe to say that some of these modern-day Cannabis products [to which I've made no mention of in this chapter] may one day end up in Chapter 15 of this book, the one dealing with Quack Medicines.

    It has been my experience, my sad experience, that some people really WANT to believe.   If they are pro-Medical Cannabis, they really want to believe that ALL Cannabis medicines are good, wholesome and beneficial.   However, as can be seen from Chapter 15, not ALL manufacturers of of such medicines are always on the up and up.

    However, on the other hand, I also believe that we should not necessarily rule out Cannabis products, just because they are NOT FDA approved either.   As can be seen from their news release, the [FDA] is also NOT on the UP AND UP about things either.   Here, ALL that I am merely saying is that we should always take a second look at things, and NOT necessarily use something solely because, "WE WANT TO BELIEVE".

    As stated elsewhere, this price guide was written in such a way so that it gives the reader the knowledge needed to allow him/er you to figure out what the going prices are. As such it's a now and forever guide as oppose to one that you have to purchase every year or so.

    With that in mind, let's look at what sets the prices of these modern-day products. Let's ask ourselves, why would anyone want to buy a (none antique) empty medical container? What factors would induce someone to do such a thing?

    Well obviously, it's not because they look cute, in fact they look a little on the ugly side if you ask me. But the same can be said of a lot of other collectables. I myself, feel that nick-knack type items (no matter how ugly), are collectable IF THEY TELL a story or make for a conversation piece.

    The present day legal situation gives Cannabis a sort of mystic, kind of like an ashtray, or a used bullet casing that used to belong to Big Al Capone. Of and by itself, they are nothing more than ugly pieces of junk, BUT it can be proven that they were indeed once owned by Al Capone, well then you have a piece of history and a good conversation piece. This same logic seems to hold true for these modern-day, Cannabis medical containers. However, unlike a bullet casing that was once used by Al Capone, present day medicines are being manufactured by the thousands on a daily bases. Which helps explain way they are only selling from between $5 to $10 per container, and that's only if both the container cardboard box, are in good shape.

    In terms of any future increase value, these are not (what we would term) a great investment opportunities, simply because of their sheer numbers. However, there may be some exceptions to the rule.

    If one could establish a time-line [that a said product was manufactured on such a date, used by prescription by, etc.] then they become similar to paper prescriptions [see Chapter 16], the more detail the story, the higher the price.

    However, be warned, these price increases will only occur a decade or two from now ; And then only if the anti-Medical Marihuana laws are still in place at that time.

    Again, they are not investment grade products.

    [1] - ONE POUND OF CANNABIS FOR $100 OR LESS: --- Ever wonder what a pound of Cannabis would cost if it were legal. The answer is between $35 (poor quality stuff) to $100 for a good pound of Medical Marihuana. The way I figured it out is as follows: I looked up a series of medical bulk herbs sold openly in 1931. Herbs such as Parsley, Passion flowers (no I don't know what that is), Peppermint, Rhubarb (no joke, rhubarb), Cascara Saqrada, etc. Next, I looked up the same herbs and noted what they were selling for then and now. [Note roots were compared with roots, leafs with leafs etc.] Next, doing a little math, [dividing the present day price, by the 1931 price], I came up with a cost increase rate of between 18(X) [low end] all the way up to 50(X) at the top end. As one pound of Cannabis was selling [wholesale price] for $2, I figure that using the worst case scenario the present day price would [at most] be $100, but it could be much less.
    [2] - Here it is assumed that each cigarette is equal in size to a standard tobacco cigarette.
    [3] While far from scientific, this figure is based on the observation that it takes between 5mg-to-15mg of marinol, and between 0.1-to-0.5 of a Medical Cannabis cigarette to give a novice medical patient a slight sense of euphoria. Again, this is far from scientific, however, it does give us a perfect way to compare the equivalent performance between the two. Here, for economic comparisons, the two upper points (15mg = 1/2 cigarette) are used.
    [4] As taken from an internet auction site with permission of the picture taker.
    [5] Info taken from "Cannabis Culture Magazine" - Jun 25, 2001
    [6] A Pharmacopoeia is a list of officially recognized medicines and pharmaceuticals, usually complied by a pharmaceutical organization under governmental auspices.
    [7] See Chapter 17.
    [8] INDIAN MATERIA MEDICA by Dr. K.M. Nadkarni 3d Ed. 1941 publ. Popular Book Depot
    [9] Due to copyright laws, the museum was not able to use the original article, so we re-wrote it [sneaky way to get around copyright laws], the original came from The Hindu Business Line - July 3 2002
    [10] These Medical Cannabis Cooperatives spring up after the passage of Prop-215 [the medical marihuana initiative] in California. They can now be found in every state that has passed pro-Medical Marihuana laws, although the Federal government still claims that they are illegal.
    [11] The Official figures are between 1/2 to 1 hour. [Literature handed out by Roxane Labs.]


    Due to space / download time considerations, only selected materials are displayed. If you would like to obtain more information, feel free to contact the museum. All our material is available (at cost) on CD-Rom format.

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