Does the US Government Really have a Patent on Medical Cannabis?

Dear Nurse Susan,

Is it true that the US government has a patent on marijuana for medical use, yet classifies it as a Schedule 1 drug and continues to throw people in jail for possessing it, or is this more “fake news”? Thank you for any facts you can provide on this illogical situation,

Sincerely Confused

Dear Sincerely Confused,

I will get straight to the point….Yes, on April 21, 1999 the United States of America as represented by The Department of Health and Human Services filed a patent application, “Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants” and was awarded Patent #6630507 B1.  

Cannabinoids are the 100+ compounds in the cannabis (marijuana) plant; the most commonly recognized cannabinoids are THC, CBD, CBN, CBG, THCA etc. The patent application states:

“Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention.”

I know, it sounds like gobbley goop. Let me restate it in layman’s terms. Cannabinoids (from the cannabis plant) are useful in the treatment and prevention of a wide variety of diseases including:

Inflammatory diseases: asthma, allergy, hepatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, transplant rejection, chronic peptic ulcer, tuberculosis, chronic periodontitis, ulcerative colitis, chronic sinusitis, etc. (there are many more).

Autoimmune diseases: Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, diabetes type 1, autism, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, thyroiditis, psoriasis, eczema, leukemia, peripheral neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy etc. (there are more than 100 autoimmune diseases).

Ischemic diseases: coronary artery disease, stroke, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s, dementia, brain trauma, chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Age-related diseases: atherosclerosis, heart disease, cancer, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, cataracts, glaucoma, essential tremor, etc.

Neurodegenerative diseases: Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, HIV dementia, epilepsy, etc.

I hope you understand how incredible this is:

  • Not only can cannabis potentially treat diseases that have no current effective treatments, but it can also prevent them.
  • Hundreds of diseases and symptoms can be treated by one plant, not a separate drug for every problem.
  • Cannabis is non-toxic and has an excellent safety profile, no documented fatal overdose deaths in 5000 years.
  • You can grow it yourself, no need to pay the pharmaceutical companies!

Below is a link to a video of a retired Chief of Police with Parkinson’s disease, trying cannabis for the first time: 

This video illustrates one of the most researched and effective uses for medical cannabis – autism in children. It is heartbreaking that a treatment approach with a significant success rate is illegal and unavailable when it has been documented in many cases as a more effective and less harmful treatment method than prescription medication.   

Now, back to your question, Sincerely Confused, here are some facts about marijuana arrests: According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Human Rights Watch, “Marijuana arrests now account for over half of all drug arrests in the United States. Of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88% were for simply having marijuana. Nationwide, the arrest data revealed one consistent trend: significant racial bias. Despite roughly equal usage rates, Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana. In 2010, cops made a pot bust every 37 seconds. States waste $3,613,969,972 enforcing marijuana laws every year. Over 50% of Americans support cannabis legalization.”

So, given the US patent stating the value of cannabis and then these crime statistics provided by various US government agencies, why do we have this huge contradictory situation and significant political issue regarding cannabis? In a world of “fake news” and revisionist history it’s harder and harder to know what to believe. Take a look at this video and decide what you think about cannabis prohibition.



I and thousands of others whom have benefitted from using cannabis to treat serious medical conditions continue to be baffled and tormented by this ongoing situation. As a patriotic citizen who loves my country, and spends every day working with the medical needs of suffering people, it is tremendously challenging to reconcile these two facts: Our government holds a patent on the incredible medical applications of cannabis, and on the other hand, greatly restricts medical research in our country and incarcerates citizens for possessing cannabis. I will conclude with two quotes from Thomas Jefferson:

"If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls who live under tyranny.”

 “Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.”

So Sincerely, I hope this clarifies some of your confusion….I continue to find it baffling!

With all due respect to the powers that be,

Nurse Susan