Weed Is Everywhere, So Why Is It Still a Medical Mystery?


A couple hours outside London, thousands of
cannabis plants are growing in this enormous glasshouse. Scientists here are testing different strains,
processing raw plant matter, and converting it into potent medicinal extracts. But this isn’t your typical grow house,
it’s a pharmaceutical research operation in the U.K. — which as it turns out, is
the world’s largest supplier of medical grade cannabis
Here, they’ve developed Epidiolex, a new medicine containing cannabidiol, a compound
derived from cannabis, that’s shown potential to treat severe forms of epilepsy. It’s the first of its kind to be approved
by the US Food and Drug Administration, and is available to patients in the United States
at special pharmacies. But, cannabis is still a Schedule I drug in
the US, meaning it has no medicinal value. If doctors here want to study it further,
they have to walk through a complicated patchwork of regulations. And if they make it through the hurdles, once
the medicine arrives, it has to be stored in a roughly 750lb vault that’s bolted to the floor and
secured with a lock. But outside a doctor’s office, weed seems
more accessible than ever. As it’s gotten easier for the average person
to go buy cannabis at a dispensary, it’s gotten even harder for scientists to be able to study
it. Cannabis is a controversial and complex plant,
with over 100 unique chemicals called cannabinoids. There’s very little that we really understand
about a lot of these chemicals. We understand the effects of two of them,
somewhat. Delta 9 THC which is the chemical that produces
the classic cannabis intoxication. THC in relatively high doses can cause euphoria,
hunger, anti nausea properties, anti-pain properties. Cannabidiol is very different. It doesn’t produce any intoxication whatsoever
yet it has anti inflammatory effects. It is scientifically interesting because there
is a receptor in the brain called the cannabinoid receptor that binds to these chemicals and
produces a whole range of effects. And this network of receptors are found throughout
the brain and body. So it’s really a new frontier in many ways
to understand its role in brain development and regulating mood and food intake and cognition. It’s a complicated plant and just labeling
it a medicine as is isn’t sufficient. Society has jumped ahead and is just moving
on treating it like it’s a medicine in lieu of this data. Everybody’s taking CBD and ointments and massages
and oils and added to their coffee. We don’t know anything about if it’s absorbed
by these routes of administration. I have no idea if it actually gets into your
bloodstream at any level that would be meaningful. So it’s critically important that we were
able to conduct these studies so we can say what it works for at what concentration, which
cannabinoids, and what it doesn’t work for. And right now we’re severely hampered in our
ability to conduct these studies. And that goes back to weed’s status as a
Schedule I drug, a classification that puts it in the same line as heroin, with no recognized
medicinal value in the eyes of the U.S. federal government. Meanwhile, states have moved forward to legalize
cannabis and patients with severe diseases are turning to their doctors for answers. I get patients coming into my clinic asking
me all the time, “What do you think of this?” and “My friend tried it for this and it worked,
and my other friend tried it for that,” and it seems to have these magical properties
where it seems to work for almost everything. And physicians and researchers are stuck. On the one side, we don’t have adequate studies
that establish the safety and efficacy of these drugs, but we don’t have studies that
negate it, either. The National Academy of Science released a major report that found conclusive evidence that cannabis can treat chronic pain, multiple sclerosis,
and improve nausea symptoms during chemotherapy. There’s moderate and limited evidence for
other diseases in the 10,000 abstracts they considered. Still there’s a lot scientists don’t know about weed. But that’s not stopping patients from taking
matters into their own hands. Patients really didn’t need our permission
or our approval to go after these therapies. And given the desperation that parents face
when they have a child with infantile spasms or other similar disorders, it’s understandable
that they would be looking outside the box. There were a few patients who responded to
cannabidiol extracts and we didn’t have a better explanation for why and that’s what
really got us curious. Self-medicating with cannabis may be able
to solve some medical issues, but unknowingly they could be causing others. So doctors responded to their patients by
launching their own investigations. The first step that we started upon was to
systematically survey parents and we asked people to bravely describe what they were
doing even though it was illegal. And that’s pretty low quality research when
you ask clinical scientists out there. We wanted to go after formal clinical trials,
but that’s where it got tricky. All three experts we spoke to are at different
stages of their trials, but the hoops they have to jump through are mostly the same. The first step is to go to the FDA. Describe your study. Explain all the risks and benefits. It’s quite a process. There really wasn’t a lot of literature. At the end of the day, we did have to make
some reasonable guesses to design the study. And once you get approval from the FDA. The next step is going to the DEA. So there is a federal DEA and then each state
has its own narcotics control regulatory agency. In order to be granted a Schedule 1 license, the DEA
wants to make sure that you are taking appropriate precautions to protect and safeguard drugs. And it seems strange that we need to lock it in
a vault, while the same patients that we are trying to recruit into our studies have
the opportunity to get a nearly identical product in a dispensary one mile from our
hospital. And this entire process could take years. And I’ll be frank, I’m not sure if my funding
is going to last before all these regulatory agencies approve the study so it’s enormously
frustrating. We tried to work our way through the red tape and
pretty much gave up. It wasn’t until there was a little bit more
pharmaceutical development, and that folks with deeper pockets and more resources were
willing to partner with me to run clinical trials. That seems to be the trend here. Because the red tape is so thick, pharmaceutical
companies can jump in to partner with doctors on cannabis clinical trials. They know how to work the system and have
the resources to develop cannabis therapies in the UK and Canada. It gets more complicated for the public when “some” pharmaceutical companies fight weed legalization, and then receive approval to develop synthetic cannabis. Because another hurdle, can be the weed itself. With the current DEA regulations, the only
way federal researchers can study cannabis is to study it from one source and that’s
a farm in Mississippi that the National Institute of Drug Abuse regulates. The problem is that there’s a huge variety
of products that are available online, in dispensaries, which have had favorable responses
associated with them. There are not reports of kids responding beautifully
to NIDA farm products. If you compare the potency between what doctors
receive from NIDA versus what a recreational user can get at a dispensary, the difference
is pretty striking. And this constant approach where we ignore
the specific product which has been associated with plausible response, and we substitute
it either with a pure pharmaceutical product, or a NIDA farm product doesn’t make sense. We should really study what seems to be working. But I also understand the other side of this argument, that we want to use the best standardized products. And when you depend on those products which
are available in dispensaries they are known and notorious for not being adequately
consistent. For any kind of clinical trial, doctors need
to control the variables. It’s not to say that what may be purchased
through a dispensary is necessarily less pure. We don’t know if it has the exact percentages
that are listed on the label or what the purity is and whether it’s been run through screenings
for pesticides or things like heavy metals. The farm can’t keep up with all the federal
researchers so if the DEA allowed other sources of cannabis
that are well vetted. That’s an important next step. Recently hemp was made legal and that is very
exciting for us because hemp could be a source for cannabidiol because right now as researchers
we don’t have a good source. There’s a huge interest in the medical field
to better understand efficacies, side effects, tolerability, what sort of best ways to deliver
it. The chief mission at this point is to have
rational, scientifically-based, medically-based regulation of research. And that really requires action from Congress. Epidiolex, is now Schedule 5, meaning the
DEA says that it has accepted medical use and limited abuse potential. So it’s hard for me to understand how the
DEA can say that one product is Schedule 1, and one product is Schedule 5. And that is the chief quandary, I think. I don’t know how we can reconcile that without simply changing the designation of all marijuana products. We have to recognize that marijuana in general
does have therapeutic potential, and that at the very least it should be scheduled as
a Schedule 2 drug, meaning it’s a drug that has some acceptable use but still has potential
for abuse. That would be scientifically rational. We have a tough challenge before us. We need to balance our desire to do things
that are most scientifically rigorous with the need to make real forward progress with
these diseases that are so severe and for which the need for new therapies is so desperate.

100 thoughts on “Weed Is Everywhere, So Why Is It Still a Medical Mystery?

  1. So its easier to get stoned than it is for a DR to look at t he effects of cannabis on someone? Thats retarded!

  2. 0 medicinal value.. ok….. I bought my mom a cbd healing stick.. uses it on her knees for arthritis.. works wonders

  3. MK Ultra experiments and denying syphilis patients medicine are OK, but Cannabis is totally and morally wrong to work with.

  4. I smoked weed for a while. But don't smoke it. It makes you sluggish and can cause anxiety in some people. You are better off eating it.

  5. Stop and think for a SECOND. They spent billions and don't know about it. Lmao. Yeah they know. But it can put ppl in prison for it. It was put as schedule 1 for Cotton. And the number one thing that they don't tell you. The oil can produce GAS FROM MARIJUANA.

  6. Federal Govt in the US needs to legalize! I'm in Texas and I would have such a better life if I could use this to control my pain. Instead I'm an ex opiate addict. Much better. 🙄

  7. Oh I agree with legalising weed. No doubt about it. If it cause schizophrenia so be it. Just let those crazy people more crazy. It is part of selection of the fittest

  8. I can’t stand some of these ppl. We need to study to see if it gets in your blood…if it doesn’t get ppl high and they’re taking it anyway and say it helps when then case closed het lost lady

  9. American research for decades has been to find cannabis' negatives…they failed. Look to Spain, Israel and other countries for worthwhile research.

  10. Lots of issues with this presentation – Schedule 1 means that the government SAYS it has no accepted medical value, not that a substance genuinely does not; "Scientists say that it is more difficult to study marijuana" – No, what those corporate research scientists actually meant is that it's not PROFITABLE to study. I don't even use marijuana, and never will, but I demand honesty and accuracy in reporting.

  11. The company growing all that weed is British Sugar. The wife of the man who runs the company is the UK government Minister for Drugs and when she said at the end of last year that it has no medical value the value if British sugars stock took a nose dive and everyone yelled hypocrisy at the top of their voices as the minister for Drugs is actually the It's biggest drug dealer!

  12. Children have to suffer a number of illnesses, using medicine that don't work very well and have so many side effects. And what about all the other drugs we are using that are made from OPIUM and HEROINE??? STOP THIS HYPOCRISY!!!!!!! Cannabis is a drug that you can't overdose. You don't get hooked, it does not destroy whole families. Why is cannabis illegal in the first place? I don't understand. Stupid politicians….

  13. Cannabis has been vastly studied and used in Ayurveda. For research purposes, Ayurveda can be used as a good reference.

  14. Oh so they find a way to extort a tax and all of a sudden… the lies that the establishment created start to show the true colours of those very lies… *POP*

  15. look at these fucks trying to put an "illegal" spin on this. DECEMBER 20, 2018! .3% thc an lower is federaly legal! CBD is schedule 5 not 1. and in New Hampshire where im from you dont even need papper work to grow Hemp in your FRONT YARD. they sell cbd at every corner store

  16. Big Pharma knows & knew LONG AGO about the "cannabinoid connection" between human & this plant. It's why it's being taken into our hands, rather than science & government. Pharma lobbyists are biggest.

  17. Nida farms looks like swag I can get better looking stuff for 40$ an oz here in Oregon right across the street at the dispensary or at any of the thousands of dispensary here in oregon

  18. Help me get a best final year project topic related to life sciences or food industry . Topic which could be performed in college lab

  19. This is why illegal cannabis is still alive and well and thriving. In Canada, for example, the legal weed is adulterated, salted, mold ridden, grossly overpackaged, weak as heck and double the cost of significantly better, tested, AAA/AAAA illegal products. Until the politicians with their own agenda ( eg Bill Blair) of passive aggression and the big lie theory of cannabis stfu, their will continue to be a thriving black market. Plus, with medical cannabis being thrown under the bus while the Cheech and Chong recreational crap was in the forefront, the societal validity of the product was buried. For example, a large BC licensed provider is run by a bunch of dilletante 'women who lunch' who have zero clues and don't even partake. Needless to say, their product is utter garbage. PS, TILRAY is CRAP 🙂

  20. Just exploring space isn't everything bcoz what about the mystery remaining in earth so first explore earth

  21. Do you want to know why cannabis is still illegal? It's primarily because of the Republicans in the Senate which is led by Mitch McConnell. We need to throw him out permanently!!!

  22. First of all you need to stop tumbling that weed around like a clothes dryer, imagine all the goodness falling out of that

  23. Almost all of the weed in this video looked mad gross. God am I glad it's legal here and I can get it at a dispensary 😆😂

  24. TRUTH :
    It is God's plant, .not the greedy politicians, who what us to pay . . Share your seeds with one another &
    Bless our Lord !

  25. lol all this for something that would be good for us, but lets see what it took to legalize and mass distribute tobacco and alcohol…

  26. I think the added temporary interneuronal synapse connections thanks to marijuana and especially the psychedelics are literal wiring upgrades to our brains that can be made permanent through normal neuroplasticity learning. These new connections give parts of our brains new access to both our current sensory perceptions, heightening them and making us more appreciative of everything we experience, while also giving parts of our brains new access to memories making even our memories heightened with literally new mental perspectives on them. It’s like a physical empathy, giving our brains the ability to have new and more diverse perspectives on everything, past and present.

    These substances widely have the reputation as creativity-enhancers but I think actually they’re empathy-enhancers creating new perspectives, giving artists greater ability to imagine how a wider audience will perceive their work while it’s in progress, making it more creative as a result.

    Legalize, release, expunge and give industry advantages to the minorities most harmed.

  27. They have studied weed for many many many years! And u still don’t know anything ab it? You have got to be a dumass! You was paid to say that! You kn damn well it helps people! It makes me so hungry! Hypocrites like you make me lose my appetite. So if I wanna eat I gotta smoke! And I smoke everyday. No it not legal where I’m at but I don’t fear the judgement of man! Hell its people like me that you learn from to grow great weed! I can’t buy it as good as I can grow it. And I don’t grow any more so that sucks

  28. Ask the scums in us government. Theyve hogged the patent on researching marijuana for medicinal purposes since the 1960s. Just search google "government results on marijuana research 2009 (or just type in a year). Big pharma and scum politians with special interests stand to lose trillions of dollars on the full spectrum of profits gained from manufactured medicines.. if i were to switch to marijuana to treat my depression, anxiety, social amxiety, aspurgers it would cost around $350 a month. it currently costs my gov supplied insurance over $1050 for manufactured medicine. Big pharma would lose around $650 profit per month, on me alone.. it would save our government around $650 a month on insurace payout, just on one person.. so basically, the legalization of marijuana would reduce government medical expendature and be a factor in helping to at least decrease projected national defecit on top of the increasing benefits if marijuana. Plus full legalalization of marijuana would create whole new markets and market oppurtunities for everyone.. The focus wouldn't be on quantity but quality, availability.

    So we have a "government" "for the people, by the people". that is illegally hogging the patent to research a "schedule 1" substance that the government criminalizes for supposedly having no medical purposes. The government controls growing and research. We the people have legalized it in most states as is our right per our., constition only to have this government refuse to legalize it. Its been legalized recreationally in our nations capitol of Washington, DC. zThis government has made it illegal to sell marijuana in DC even though the citizens have legalized it.. They have to buy "something" to recieve a "marijuana gift". Its illegal to dispense marijuana in a legalized state buuut this government taxes 25% on every stage of production of marijuana in Washington DC..Marijuana producers do not get any tax breaks and ALL business transactions must be made with cash. "taxation without representation, is treason"!

    F**K SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA!! thats EXACTLY what government and bigbpharma want.. they only make money on manufactured medicine. Big pharma doesnt "know its way around government policies".. big pharma helps write them,buys them.

    WE NEED TO STAND UP!!

  29. Anti-inflammatory produces hunger in liver cancer patients to keep them alive..!
    And so you don't understand it..!
    Why don't you ask an American Indian what it's for..!
    But the same time you're racing big crops of it there's something you don't understand raising hemp heals the land too..! It can turn a desert into a wheat farm and just several months..! Growing it put a stop to our dust bowl in Oklahoma..!
    It would be narrow sighted just to cite it for its beneficial medicine used for humans it benefits our Farms far more then you would understand..!
    This crop there's no restriction on where it is grown it will grow anywhere and improve the land with nitrogen back in the soil..!

  30. Get this by studying hemp's farming benefit for mankind.! You have put to rest global warming and climate change..! Champs benefit to farming from Forest as in trees to raising food crops..! Turning deserts back into farmland just put a stop to our concerns about CO2..!

  31. XD 2 to 10 percent thc really that's a joke. I get 37.9 percent bud from a dispensary maybe a mile away from my house

  32. These people would rather give us something that can kill us rather than something that can never kill us. No matter the dose!

  33. My personal experience with weed is ; I have gone through life with the lowest joint in my spine broken one cm inwards. The doctors found out of this when I was 40 years old and I went through an 8 hour operation. I got (thank God ) well!
    Weed has help me with my pain since I was 18 years old. It does not make one sick, but the pressure a user is under just might!
    I think the truth is, the drug company's and politicians are more interested in making money, than in the well being of it's people, they do not care, that they are at fault for gang wars, tears and waist of blood & life.
    They (I have no doubt) the government will pay the scientists for false results (as they did with monkeys and lied to the people about their results many years ago) & as then, now they do what ever it takes to protect their greedy interests. This is capitalist politicians at it worst, all that matters to them is profit for the shareholders! They should be forced to respect the evidence coming from us, the people on the ground, who know the truth from own experience.
    Now I suffer from "broken wing" but I may not help put myself out of pain, buy buying or growing weed. I have to be a law breaker, and go out in unpleasant environments and buy hash, that I have no way of knowing what else it might contain, if I want to eas my pain. This is not protecting or caring for the people. I don't know why we elect greedy careless rich people, who know dealing with the populations needs is their job, or so we are told is their job. Now my youngest (23) has gotten cancer and I prey Gods plant may be freed from corruption, so He's gifts may be used wisely for all whom it may help. Hope your funds may last. Good luck!
    Thank you for your research and this possibility for me to tell you my story 😉

  34. .. Seeker! 🤓 thank you for providing this crucial information and update regarding a pertaining to tetrahydrocannabinol! ☘ in my opinion I believe that it does have an active ingredient that can be applied for children and babies who suffer from seizures and other medical ailments but I also do believe that prolong usage up the drug can cause brain damage! 🤓 the problem is THC has a tendency to embed itself in the fatty tissue of the brain long-term usage is harmful and can cause the person or the individual to develop short term memory loss in which the person or the individual forgets very crucial and important domestic everyday life things such as appointments!, schedules!, car keys!, location! and so forth and so on! similar to Alzheimer's! 👵 so therefore I do believe that a synthetic! Pharmaceutical tetrahydrocannabinol pill! an OINTMENT! can be manufactured! through the pharmaceutical industry if patients really do need! the treatment otherwise smoking! tetrahydrocannabinol is not!! advisable! 😕 California health and safety code prohibits anyone from endangering! themselves! or others! 🤓

  35. Why do we have 'cannabinoid receptors'? Does every animal have them, or did humanity smoke so much weed for so long that we evolved them?

  36. The reason why Marijuana is Schedule 1 and Epidiolex is Schedule V is because the latter is CBD, while the former has CBD and THC substances.
    Is that a good reason? Probably not, but the people making up these rules are not scientists, not researchers, nor are they individuals who have bothered to take the time to truly research these substances. The fact that devastating, dangerous, and highly addictive drugs such as Cocaine, Meth, Fentanyl are scheduled below Marijuana, LSD, and Peyote is truly laughable given our current knowledge of what these substances are.

  37. BOTTOM LINE: Marijuana/Cannabis or other alternatives to "drugs" will kill the Pharma industry profits. Why are we still surprised that it is still challenged (?)in a country where "profits" mean everything – even if it means sacrificing environment, animals and humans.

  38. Been smoking weed since I was 12 years old I'm now 24 and I'm perfectly fine so yea idk what y'all mean but I see people die yearly over tobacco but not weed yet I can buy cigs all over the place but I can't with weed explain this logic to me

  39. And if you're really wondering why no one is buying that bud it's because the government shops overcharge and over tax for a bud of a plant that normally should only be 10 a gram hence why people prefer to go to their dispensaries.

  40. The government would rather waste their money on making weed look bad whilst they make money off of it and keep selling alcohol and cigarettes legally.

  41. The government is stupid they need to legalize weed so scientists can study it and tell us exactly what is going on in our brain when we smoke

  42. I think it's odd that the older pothead community already knew this. Kids snitch to teachers, so you keep it out of sight and mind. And they've known about birth defects for quite awhile now. This is a fear campaign ad, refer madness 21st century…

  43. Science is on the path to discover the substance that first created life. On the way there though many substances that effect life also will have to be studied before the general one that has the effect of creating life to begin with. When this substance that created all life is found though and it turns out to be a drug, life will be created by a controlled substance and the government will control it. I think it becomes more obvious that this is their most generalized goal with each passing year and decade.

  44. If THC had no medical value. Why did the pharmaceutical companies develop Marinol/Dranabinol. Both are the synthetic versions of THC. Hmmmmm.. Hard to grow synthetic THC!! Also as a MMJ Patient my illnesses make it so I rarely get hungry anymore, so it helps give me an appetite stopping the uncontrollable weight loss I deal with (started at 270lbs and lost 120lbs so far, much of which was muscle and now am able to hold my weight at 150lbs due to having the appetite again, even if it's only for a short time). Helps control my nausea/vomiting when I can't keep ANYTHING (including liquids) in my stomach. To top it all off it also helps my insomnia and pain levels. My health issues include, Chronic Pancreatitis, SMA Syndrome and Gastroparesis. All have something to do with my digestive system in some way. The ironic part is I was a Professional Chef for over 30 years and now I have to be careful what I eat because I never know how my body will respond to it, and when it's a bad attack, it's time to go the the E.R. as the strong meds the "Drs" have prescribed for me for use at home are ineffective at that point. So stop spreading false information on the successful effectiveness of Cannabis!! It's not like it's been used for thousands of years for many purposes! Ok, my Ranting is done!! 😉

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