Are THC Eye-Drops the Next Big Thing to hit the Medical Market?
Did you know that “Glaucoma” was the first medical reason that permitted people to legally consume cannabis in the US on a federal level? I’m talking of course about Robert C. Randall who was the first legal cannabis smoker in the US since 1937.
In the case “United States VS. Randall” he used the “Medical Necessity Defense” and won, where he argued that the cultivation, possession and use of cannabis was legally justified due to his medical condition – “Glaucoma”. Since there was no medical treatment for his conditions and cannabis relieved the symptoms such as reducing inner-ocular eye pressure – cannabis was the only thing keeping him from going blind.
As a result of this ruling, a small federal cannabis program was started which gave free federally grown weed to a handful of patients who qualified for the program. Most of the original patients have died since the program’s origins.
This brings us to the only federally sanctioned weed growing facility in the University of Mississippi. The “Marijuana Research Project” was a direct result from the victory of Randall and is responsible for most of the cannabis used in clinical trials.
While this site has also sparked a lot of controversy over the years – specifically in relation to the lack of quality of the crops – it is currently the only sanctioned cannabis farm in the United States.
This brings us back to modern times, with the current head of the department – Pharmacologist Mahmoud ElSohly.
Full Circle – Eye Drops for Glaucoma
If cannabis helped Randall’s glaucoma, why didn’t he put it in his eyes. Why did he have to smoke it to obtain the beneficial effects? Wouldn’t that make him stoned, when he’s just trying to relieve intraocular pressure?
All of these questions are 100% valid, however, it fails to understand what THC is. Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is lipophilic, meaning it acts like an oil. This means that it doesn’t penetrate the inner-compartments of the eye.
This has been the problem that medical experts have been working on for a long time. It’s true that one of the conditions that cannabis can effectively treat is glaucoma, however, obtaining the medical benefits on a localized scale has been the problem.
To do this you’d need to make some sort of eye drop, however, considering that THC is lipophilic, it would be virtually useless when applied directly.
In order to allow the THC to make it into the inner-compartments of the eye, you would have to molecularly change the structure to allow it to penetrate these areas.
ElSohly, current head of the Mississippi Marijuana Research Project is working on creating this solution. In fact, him and a few other research teams have been given the green light to develop this type of medicine.
Remember: ElSohly is a Pharmacist
While it’s great news that there are people working on creating these types of cannabis medicines – ElSohly is by no means an advocate. He is the head honcho of the only federally sanctioned cannabis farm and is (currently) responsible for the quality of the cannabis used in research.
He doesn’t want cannabis legalized – he wants Pharma to dissect the plant and create medicine for the people to consume.
ElSohly sits on the board of an anti-legalization organization called “National Families in Action” and made it very clear that he just wants the medical benefits of the plant – but no legalization whatsoever.
This is why the news is bitter-sweet. Cannabis based medicines that addresses the original condition that created the federal cannabis program is a good thing, however, the fact that such an ideologically charged person is spearheading the research is not so good.
For ElSohly, “high THC content” sits at 8%. This means that the medicine, and the research he is basing his assumptions on are of weed of a “lower caliber” than what the market offers. He can’t understand why people would want 20%+ THC in their weed. He doesn’t understand that consumers would prefer “higher quality over quantity” to “consume less for more”. And so, he continues to grow the shwaggy weed nobody smokes.
This is what happens when you let government bureaucracy spear head research – It is not able to innovate and refine. It’s the reason why most of our nukes require Floppy disks to launch.
Forget ElSohly for a second
The underlying story here is that we are seeing more cannabis-based medicines come to light. Whether these are “recent discoveries” or “things they have been sitting on for decades” is irrelevant – we could see soon one of the first glaucoma medicines based solely on cannabis. It would be poetic justice really because if it wasn’t for one man and his glaucoma, who had the balls to stand up to the government – this might never have been a thing.
Let’s hope that this is only the beginning of a slew of cannaceuticals to come.