You Can Get THC From What?

While Oregonians enjoy the medicinal benefits of CBD and THC found in legal cannabis, patients in many other states are still forced to obtain the compounds illegally. Despite continued government conflict over the legality of cannabis, researchers have discovered a loophole in the law that both patients – and the government itself – have embraced. On opposite ends of the DEA allegiance scale, two companies – one local and one national – have separated the medicine found in weed from the status quo: weed, itself. 

Botanists at a Portland apothecary called, Clear Bright Dawn, have managed to extract genuine cannabidiol – or CBD – from sources other than cannabis. It may sound like magic, but the pure chemical CBD the company extracts from citrus by-products and evergreen bark – patented under the brand name PureForm – has literally nothing to do with pot, yet is identical to the cannabidiol found in hemp plants. Not only is Clear Bright Dawn the only source of hemp-free CBD in the country, it’s legal to use it almost anywhere on earth, because it’s not made from hemp. 

This loophole in the law has allowed the business to create endless metric tons of bio-identical CBD in both liquid and crystalline form. Not only is it legal, but it’s also all-natural, non-synthetic, soluble in most solid and liquid foods, free of taste and odor, and inexpensive compared to standard CBD.

According to the company’s website, PureForm CBD is also “consistently pure” at a rate of 99.86 percent. Due to the compound’s purity, the real-world applications of the substance go beyond just easier access and major market opportunities; the pure form of the substance will allow scientists worldwide to conduct precisely controlled studies on its effects without the erratic and uneven quality of CBD contained in cannabis.

It’s unclear to Portland news outlets exactly which citrus or evergreens are utilized to produce PureForm CBD, but the apothecary claims that the evergreen is from an “invasive species,” which would make its usage beneficial to the ecosystem. 

The business reports that marijuana-sourced CBD sales in the U.S. add up to over $200 million annually, and are predicted by Forbes to reach $3 billion by 2021. Clear Bright Dawn remains the only creator of non-cannabis sourced CBD in the country, and is guaranteed to have a monopoly on the new substance for the foreseeable future.

In the third week of November, the DEA took unprecedented action in finally approving THC for consumption as a federally regulated Class II-level substance. This may sound like great news, but the details will disappoint. This particular THC – which was also approved by the FDA last March – is completely synthetic, and is not made from pot. Nor has pot become recognized as legal; to the contrary, the synthetic substance known as delta-9-THC (or simply dronabinol) was created with no vested interest in cannabis legalization, and is the only federally legal THC that exists. Only one company is able to sell it to the public.

Donabinol, created to relieve nausea in cancer patients, comes in only one form: a liquid spray sold under the name Syndros. Syndros is manufactured exclusively by pharmaceutical Insys, a company which came under fire in recent months for bribing doctors to supply a form of the often-fatally potent opioid, Fentanyl, to patients who didn’t need the medication. Though this created a massive lawsuit that forced the founder of Insys to resign, the company is still up and running and, inexplicably, is the only establishment in the country that the DEA and FDA have approved to supply synthetic THC.

The DEA describes in explicit terms that while Syndros is legal in Schedule II, marijuana is still listed as a Schedule I drug. 

“FDA-approved products of oral solutions containing dronabinol have an approved medical use,” says the DEA, “whereas marijuana does not have an approved medical use, and therefore remains in Schedule I.” 

That’s right, weed is still illegal, and according to another part of the text, it’s because the DEA still regards pot as a “lethal” drug.

Government and Big Pharma corruption aside, dronabinol comes with a bigger problem: the astronomical cost of the drug, which makes it completely impractical. According to the online Healthcare Bluebook, which gives patients quotes for medication costs in their area, a 30-day supply of Syndros would cost a whopping $2,000 at any major pharmacy in Corvallis. Not that anyone in Corvallis would need to use it in the foreseeable future. Let’s hope it stays that way.

By Kiki Genoa