Based on the ideology that millions of Americans are grossly addicted to marijuana, the federal government has approved $3 million to facilitate the fast-track creation of a pharmaceutical drug to treat this supposed scourge on public health.
According to a report in The Washington Times, “an estimated 4.2 million Americans are hooked on cannabis,” which has spawned a nervous desire by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to spend millions of tax dollars on the development of a medication which can turn zombie stoners back into productive members of civil society.
“Cannabis use is an increasing public health concern in the United States that requires immediate attention,” the drug agency stated in a proposal published earlier this month. “Given the high prevalence of marijuana use and its associated disorders and the large number of people who seek treatment, there is a critical need to discover and develop safe and effective treatments for CUDs,” otherwise referred to as Cannabis Use Disorders.
Completely disregarding the agency’s own data, which suggests that weed only has an addiction rate of around 9 percent, NIDA is convinced that the reported 2.4 million people who tried marijuana for the first time in 2014—an estimated 6,600 new users every day—are at risk for becoming full-blown pot junkies.
The agency indicated that its emergency call for cannabis addiction treatment is an attempt to get a remedy approved by the Food and Drug Administration. NIDA pointed out that while “there are medications approved by the (FDA) for the treatment of nicotine and opiate dependence, there are no FDA approved medications for CUDs.”
There is speculation that the federal government’s latest attempt at giving Big Pharma an opportunity to get involved in the great American marijuana experiment is directly associated with the Obama administration’s announcement earlier this week to eliminate some of the restrictions surrounding cannabis research. The move, which was lauded by researchers interested in exploring the benefits of medical pot, also makes the approval process easier for major pharmaceutical companies, like those who have likely come crawling out of the woodwork to market a cure for marijuana addiction.
Not surprisingly, prohibitionists believe that marijuana legalization has made it necessary for the federal government to fund this type of research in order combat high rates of addiction. Dr. Stuart Gitlow with the American Society of Addiction Medicine told the Times that, “the entire medical community is aware of marijuana addiction and how big a problem it is,” making his argument by maintaining that alcohol prohibition, “from a public health standpoint” was a success.
“There was a per capita drop in the consumption of alcohol, in accidents related to alcohol, and liver disease was reduced by two-thirds,” Gitlow said. “After it ended, all of these stats went back to where they were before.”
This is an interesting claim, especially considering that even the National Institutes on Health acknowledges that, “prohibition failed because Americans did not stop drinking following ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment and passage of its enforcement legislation, the Volstead Act.”
Marijuana advocates argue that it is ridiculous for the government to spend resources searching for a cure for addiction to a substance that, in a lot of ways, has been proven safer than caffeine.