Are more people replacing their prescription drugs with weed?
Are more people replacing their prescription drugs with weed? Scott Barbour and Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

“Marijuana is not medicine!” cried acting DEA Chuck Rosenberg. And yet…it’s been shown to reduce epilepsy in children and treat menstrual cramps, and a Canadian study says more people are replacing their prescription meds with weed. Also, the pharmaceutical industry could lose money to medical marijuana if it becomes legalized across the country. Read on.

Vermont’s High Hopes Up in Smoke…For Now

Oh no! The little marijuana legalization bill that could made it all the way to Vermont’s Governor Phil Scott’s desk—but he vetoed it. Though the (Republican) Governor has previously claimed he’s “not philosophically opposed” to legalization, he had some concerns with the bill, including the role of an Marijuana Regulatory Commission, and establishing tougher penalties for selling to minors and driving under the influence of cannabis. All hope is not lost, however—he’s sending it back to the legislature so that they can try, try again.

“Marijuana Is Not Medicine!”

Said the DEA’s acting chief Chuck Rosenberg on Thursday. Rosenberg’s been making this claim for a while (he’s been at the DEA since 2015), but as long as marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug, it makes it harder for medical marijuana research to effectively prove its merits.

He continued:

“If it turns out that there is something in smoked marijuana that helps people, that’s awesome. I will be the last person to stand in the way of that. … But let’s run it through the Food and Drug Administration process, and let’s stick to the science on it.”

The pharmaceutical industry has a lot to lose from if medical marijuana were legalized: $4 billion a year to be exact, according a new study from New Frontier Data, a company that provides data to cannabis businesses.

In Fact, a Canadian Study Says People are Replacing Their Meds with Weed

Leafly reports on a study for The International Journal of Drug Policy in which 63 percent of a small sample group (271 people) reported replacing their prescription medications—anti-depressants, opioids and other medications—with marijuana.

...And It’s Been Shown to Effectively Treat Epilepsy in Children

A new study by GW Pharmaceuticals found that a 20mg dose of cannabidiol (better known as CBD) drastically reduced seizures in children with Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy.

Meanwhile, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Grassley have introduced a bipartisan bill to help remove barriers to researching CBD and other marijuana-derived substances.

...And It Can be Used to Treat Menstrual Cramps

A bill to add extreme menstrual cramps—known as dysmenorrhea—to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana just passed in New York State Assembly's Health Committee on Tuesday, and is headed to the floor. Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal introduced the bill and told Newsweek:

“This is a woman’s health issue and for years women have suffered in silence. There’s Midol. You can take Advil, but really nothing more. Men have really been [the ones] who’ve run state houses, governorships, presidencies, and some issues that are just about women have gotten shortchanged and that’s because it’s not in men’s everyday consciousness.”

Apparently so far there’s only two (Republican, male) Assembly members who are making a fuss. C’mon guys, get on board. Whoopi Goldberg backs it!

Washington State University Will Pay You to Get High

WSU researchers are looking for a few good stoners to help them develop the perfect breathalyzer so cops can get better at busting stoner drivers. Volunteers are paid $30 for the first hour and $10 each additional hour to purchase legal marijuana, get high in their homes and then take a cab (of course) back to the hospital for more tests.

Marijuana, unlike alcohol, is hard to test because THC tends to stick around for weeks in the human body. In Washington State, it takes 5 nanograms of active THC in your system to get busted. A nanogram is a billionth of a gram, which doesn’t…seem like a lot?

In any case, cannabis breathalyzers are big business: recently a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that had previously invested in Uber and Dropbox dropped $8.1 million dollars on a breathalyzer company.