12 Apr The Sativex Scam Becomes A Scandal

Laurel Bush, a CLEAR member, is working diligently and courageously on exposing the truth about Sativex and the dishonest and corrupt relationship between GW Pharmaceuticals and the Home Office. Now it seems that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is becoming a co-conspirator.

Having previously recognised Sativex as cannabis and therefore a schedule 1 drug “with no medicinal value”, it has now decided that Sativex isn’t cannabis at all! See here for Laurel’s work with Freedom of Information requests which has exposed the dishonesty at the heart of government. His tenacity is magnificent and he is owed a huge debt of gratitude from all those who need cannabis as medicine.

What brings this issue to the fore again is the pressing need for the Home Office to re-schedule Sativex (also known by the non-proprietary name of Nabiximols) under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (MoDA). Professor Les Iversen, chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), wrote to the Home Office in January 2011 advising that it be placed into schedule 4. This hasn’t happened yet because the Home Office is desperately seeking a way falsely to distinguish Sativex from cannabis. Now it seems it’s trying to inveigle more people into its deception.

I have written to Professor Sir Kent Woods, chief executive of the MHRA, asking him to take action to protect the integrity of the agency and to ensure the truth about Sativex is made clear.

Dear Sir Kent,

Sativex (Nabiximols)

I am the elected leader of Cannabis Law Reform (CLEAR), a registered UK political party that seeks an end to the prohibition of cannabis, most urgently for those who need it as medicine.

I am extremely concerned at the response by Sue Jones, your corporate policy official on 15th March 2012 to an FOI request concerning the ingredients of Sativex (your reference 12-065).

Ms Jones wrote:

“…the active elements of this drug are not cannabis, but two constituents found in the cannabis plant that have been found to have pharmacological properties for treating these specific indications. An “active constituent” means it has the pharmacological activity to treat the proposed indications. Since the product is derived from elements in the cannabis plant, rather than the cannabis plant itself, it should be clear therefore that Sativex is not “cannabis”.

This is entirely false. It is nonsense.

It is within the public domain that Sativex is an whole plant extract manufactured by blending two strains of herbal cannabis and using a CO2 extraction process to produce a tincture which also contains ethanol, propylene glycol and peppermint oil. Sativex is cannabis and contains all the cannabinoids, terpines and flavonoids present in the plants from which it is made.

David Potter, Director of Botanical Research and Cultivation at GW Pharmaceuticals, explains why the minor ingredients of cannabis are so important to the efficacy of Sativex in his thesis: http://www.gwpharm.com/uploads/phd_david_potter_jp.pdf

Dr Geoffrey Guy, founder and executive chairman of GW, is on the record saying:

“Most people in our industry said it was impossible to turn cannabis into a prescription medicine. We had to rewrite the rule book. We have the first approval of a plant extract drug in modern history. It has 420 molecules, whereas every other drug has just one.”

GW Pharmaceuticals and the Home Office are presently engaged in an unlawful conspiracy falsely to distinguish Sativex from cannabis in order that the tincture can be re-scheduled into schedule 4 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 leaving herbal cannabis in schedule 1. This is dishonest and corrupt.

Please can you reassure me that the MHRA is not party to this attempted deception?

I would ask that you issue a correction to Ms Jones’ response. The truth about Sativex and cannabis is of far more importance than any attempt at disinformation in order to support the government’s failed and dishonest policy of prohibition.

The Home Office position that “there is no medicinal value in cannabis” is a lie and I call on you to ensure that the MHRA deals only in the truth.

Kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

Peter Reynolds