Over at Slate, William Saletan points to a new pharmaceutical take on medicinal marijuana that allegedly provides all its medicinal value (relieving pain and spasms, etc) without the not-so-medicinal values (totally getting you high). The makers of the product suggest that their un-stoned version of the stuff — called “Sativex” — is better for medicinal purposes, since among other things it takes the therapeutic parts of pot and provides it in standardized and measured form, taking the guesswork out of, say, how potent your weed is, and also eliminating what is in fact a really bad method of drug delivery (i.e., smoking).
I make no claim toward the effectiveness of this “Sativex” as regards its medicinal qualities, but assuming that in fact it does give all the therapeutic value of medicial pot without the actual fun of getting high, it does put an interesting inflection point in the drive to legalize marijuana use. To put it bluntly (heh), I’ve always thought a fair number of people who yammer on about legalizing pot wrap themselves in the relative piety of its medicinal qualities to mask the fact that the reason they want pot to be legal is simply so they can get stoned without hassle. If you ask them if they would support legalizing pot only for its medical uses they might say yes, on the grounds they could always fake a backache, but I wonder if you then said “fine” and then presented them with this non-fun version if they would change their minds. Myself, I would just like to see the expression on their dazed, eyeballs-not-quite-tracking faces.
Before you stoners get outraged enough to hoist yourself unsteadily off the couch to come at me, please to read my actual position on legalizing marijuana, which is, sure, why not. But I don’t really drag the medicinal aspect into it, because I don’t really think that’s why most people really want legalization. And I for one think that if you are going to use the stuff medicinally, getting it in a form where its medicinal qualities are maximized (and the side-effects, pleasant as they might be, minimized) is the way to go. Which is to say I hope this Sativex stuff will work as advertised, whether it bums out potheads or not.