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Guest allanopie

Sativex_ For Ms Patient's

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Guest allanopie

SATIVEX - for MS patient's

Questions and Answers About SATIVEX®

Liquid Medical Marijuana

Marijuana Policy Project ¡ P.o. Box 77492 ¡ caPitol Hill ¡ WasHington, D.c. 20013

tel 202-462-5747 ¡ Fax 202-232-0442 ¡ MPP@MPP.org ¡ HttP://WWW.MPP.org

What is Sativex?

Sativex is a natural marijuana extract developed by a British

company, GW Pharmaceuticals. It is a liquid that is sprayed

into the mouth. Made from marijuana plants bred for specific

levels of various active components, called cannabinoids,

Sativex is similar to marijuana-based extracts and tinctures

that were legally available in the United States until 1937.

(Such products were manufactured by major drug companies

and sold through pharmacies until the federal government

banned marijuana in 1937.)

Is Sativex like Marinol®, the

prescription THC pill?

No. Marinol contains only a synthetic version of THC,

which is just one of marijuana's approximately 60 active

components, called cannabinoids. Sativex contains THC and

other cannabinoids, as well as other compounds contained

in the marijuana plant, which scientists believe contribute to

marijuana's therapeutic benefits.

So Sativex is a lot like natural marijuana?

Yes. Sativex is, for all practical purposes, liquid medical

marijuana. In essence, Sativex is to marijuana as a cup of

coffee is to coffee beans.

Is it true that, unlike marijuana,

Sativex doesn't produce a "high"?

Sativex and marijuana are nearly identical in this regard:

Most medical marijuana users obtain relief without becoming

intoxicated, and the same is true of Sativex. While both

contain THC, the component that produces marijuana's

"high," both also contain other natural plant components

which moderate its effects, and both allow users to adjust

their dose as needed to obtain relief without intoxication.

What conditions has Sativex been tested for?

Most testing thus far has been done on patients suffering from

multiple sclerosis and various types of chronic pain, including

cancer pain. These studies have shown Sativex to have strong

benefits and mild side effects, and patients do not develop

a tolerance to it (meaning they do not have to increase the

dosage to continue receiving the same therapeutic benefits).

Further tests are planned for other conditions, but Sativex

research has already provided definitive proof of marijuana's

medical safety and efficacy—confirming that virtually everything

the U.S. government has told us about marijuana is wrong.

Is Sativex licensed for prescription

sale anywhere?

The Canadian government has announced its intention to

license Sativex as soon as certain administrative requirements

are completed, most likely in the spring of 2005. An application

is also pending in Great Britain, which could be granted by

the end of 2005.

Why wasn't Sativex developed in the U.S.?

The federal government has done everything in its power

to prevent effective research on the therapeutic benefits of

marijuana from proceeding in the United States. For example,

in December 2004, after a three-and-a-half-year delay, the U.S.

Drug Enforcement Administration turned down a proposal

by the University of Massachusetts to establish a facility to

manufacture marijuana. Such a facility would be needed

in order for a company located in this country to develop a

product like Sativex, made from specially-developed strains of

natural marijuana.

Will Americans be able to purchase Sativex

in Canada and bring it into the U.S.?

No. Because marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug under

federal law, doing so would be a felony. Indeed, importing

less than 50 kilograms of marijuana—even a small amount of

marijuana for medical use—is punishable by up to five years

in federal prison.

Will Sativex be available in U.S pharmacies?

Not in the foreseeable future. U.S. testing is being planned

but is not expected to begin until late 2006. The company

estimates it would be another two to three years after that

before it could even apply for FDA approval, which is by no

means certain.

Will Sativex eliminate the need

for medical marijuana?

No. While Sativex acts more quickly than Marinol, it is

notably slower than marijuana that is inhaled (as through a

vaporizer), which is a problem for some patients. Sativex is

also likely to be expensive. In addition, patients have found

that different strains of marijuana provide the best relief

for different conditions, so Sativex is unlikely to benefit

every patient who currently benefits (or could benefit) from

whole marijuana. Sativex is simply another form of medical

marijuana, and patients and doctors should be able to choose

what works best for each patient's particular situation. If, after

years of research, the FDA were to approve Sativex as a

prescription medicine in the U.S., arresting and jailing

patients for using herbal marijuana would make no more

sense than allowing people to drink coffee while jailing them

for possessing coffee beans.

updated 3-2006

SOURCE: http://www.mpp.org/pdf/sativex_brief_2006.pdf

Edited by allanopie

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