Patent No. 6630507, held by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, covers the use of cannabinoids for treating a wide range of diseases.
Under U.S. federal law, marijuana is defined as having no medical use. So it might come as a surprise to hear that the government owns one of the only patents on marijuana as a medicine.
The patent (US6630507) is titled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants” and was awarded to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in October 2003.
It was filed four years earlier, in 1999, by a group of scientists from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The government’s patent does not cover THC, the main ingredient in marijuana. On the other hand, cannabidiol (CBD) is specifically mentioned as an example of a cannabinoid that is covered. The patent describes CBD and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids as superior when taken in higher doses.
“Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses.”
According to the description, CBD can be ingested in very large amounts without side effects.
“No signs of toxicity or serious side effects have been observed following chronic administration of cannabidiol to healthy volunteers, even in large acute doses of 700mg/day.”
The patent explains that cannabidiol previously had not been considered useful as a neuroprotectant. However, it cites various studies on cannabidiol as an antiepileptic and as a potential treatment for glaucoma.
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