What is Sativex? Is it truly safer and more effective than smoked cannabis? Should users be worried about where it comes from? DML reviews the statements and actions of GW and their partner Bayer (and THEIR partner Monsanto) in an attempt at predicting the future of pharma-pot. Clips from many films including “The Corporation” & “Return of the Peregrine”. Awsome show.
This show is in response to this article:
Thanks to those who put these films together:
“The Corporation” (2003)
“Unnatural Causes” (1986)
“Return of the Peregrine” (2001)
“Cannabis from the Chemist”
“The Nazi Strike” (1943)
“The Century of Warfare – Blood and Mud”
“Kitty – Return to Auschwitz”
GW, Bayer and biopiracy:
More about Sativex:
More on Bayer:
Codex – Bayer’s herb and vitamin monopoly:
Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine created by GW Pharmaceuticals and distributed by Bayer, was recently approved for sale in Canada. It was approved on April 19th, a day before “4-20”.
“Sativex is expected in Canadian pharmacies by June, 2005.”
Firstly, my hat’s off to GW for growing organically – radioactive chemical fertilizers are, in my opinion, the most dangerous component of both cannabis smoke and tobacco smoke.
Secondly, I’m also excited to know that there will be another choice of cannabis medicines for people out there – choice is important and there should be as many choices as possible for sick people.
Having said that, there’s a bunch of problems associated with Sativex that the most recent article in Cannabis Culture magazine didn’t do a very good job of explaining.
“The spray formulation allows for more specific dosing than oral tablets, well-suited to the variable nature of neuropathic pain experienced by people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), which is the main target patient audience for Sativex.”
If specific dosing is of value, then why not look into smoke? It takes 40 minutes for the spray to work, but only 5 minutes for smoke to work, therefore it takes eight times as long to figure out the proper dose with Sativex than with smoked cannabis.
On pages 177 and 178 of the book “Prescription Pot” by George McMahon and Christopher Largen, they review the scientific studies of the pulminary risks of cannabis smoke. The evidence suggests that cannabis – if anything – helps keeps the lungs clean. There is no evidence anywhere of any serious damage from pot smoking – especially if the material is potent and organic. So why is smoke ignored as a delivery system? Could it be because it’s an unpatentable method of delivery? Could it be that the price of legitimacy for the makers of cannabis medicines is the continued stigmatization of smoked cannabis?
“Ever since he embarked on his quest to make a plant-based cannabis medicine, his company has come under attack from marijuana activists who asserted that he was seeking a medical cannabis monopoly.”
I think it’s more accurate to say that ever since GW started to push smoke-a-phobia and euphoriphobia and plant patents and ignored stress and depression as possible conditions and didn’t follow through with promises to compare Sativex with smoked cannabis, it’s been obvious to many activists that GW is seeking a monopoly.
“The same activists attacked Guy for partnering with Bayer, a German company which some criticize because it was an industrial participant in Nazi Germany, along with thousands of other companies such as BMW and IBM.”
Notice how they say “participant” – I never called Bayer a participant in Nazi Germany. I called them the main sponsor and main benefactors of Nazi Germany. There’s a difference. BMW and IBM took advantage of slave labor and made good money off the holocaust. But Bayer was different.
Everything Hitler did in WW2, Bayer attempted or promoted back in WW1 – forced labor, anti-semitism, the “Furher principle”, National Socialism” and gassing people to death. In fact, Carl Duesburg, head of Bayer in 1914, INVENTED gas warfare. Bayer – as the leading company in I.G. Farben, also were the Nazi’s biggest campaign contributors in the 1930’s. As well, there were other indications of Bayer’s special relationship with the Nazis – every time the Nazi’s were going to invade a european country, I.G. Farben would be there – sometimes ahead of the invasion – to plunder the chemical companies of that country. Chekoslovakia, Poland, Austria, France – you name it. Talk about a hostile takeover. And I.G. Farben was the main reason Auschwitz got so big – Farben needed lots of slave labor for their “I.G. Auschwitz” industrial site – still the largest industrial site in the world. They even had their own concentration camp – “Auschwitz 3”. They tested their drugs out on their “employees”. They killed about a half million employees. They also manufactured the gas that was used in the gas chambers. I would say all that goes beyond mere “participation”. I’d say that Bayer is quite possibly the biggest and most lethal and destructive war profitteer in the world.
“These companies, not the lunatic Nazi fanatics, are the main war criminals. If the guilt of these criminals is not brought to daylight and if they are not punished, they will pose a much greater threat to the future peace of the world than Hitler if he were still alive.”
-Telford Taylor, US-Chief Prosecutor, 1947 Nuremberg War Trial against the managers of IG Farben
“Among the copycatters are Canadian company Cannasat, configured in 2004 and which has yet to create its own medicine, and Solvay Pharmaceuticals, which sought to market a single synthetic cannabinoid, Dronabinol, as an inhaler-delivered medicine.”
Apparently Solvay isn’t so much a “copycat” company as a one time subsidiary and current partner, sharing costs and personel:
“Guy’s critics, especially Pot-TV host and writer-activist David Malmo-Levine, saw it otherwise, alleging Bayer is an unethical company, and impugning GW because it affiliated with Bayer. Malmo-Levine and other GW critics believe smoked cannabis is safe, effective medicine, that cannabis pharmaceutical products are not needed, and that pharmaceutical research, patents and products are part of a capitalist-prohibitionist conspiracy that will eventually prevent black market growers and users from having access to raw cannabis for self-medication.”
Notice how there are no quotation marks in that paragraph?
I don’t just say Bayer is “unethical” – that’s an understatement. I say Bayer is possibly the most criminal corporation ever created – and there’s lots of evidence for that.
I don’t say that “smoked cannabis is safe, effective medicine” – another understatement. I say that smoked cannabis could possibly be the safest and most effective delivery system for cannabis – again, with much evidence to back that up.
I don’t say that “cannabis pharmaceutical products are not needed” – that’s an outright lie.
As for the “capitalist-prohibitionist conspiracy that will eventually prevent black market growers and users from having access to raw cannabis for self-medication”, there are a number of things wrong with that sentance.
Firstly, it’s not a conspiracy to say that large corporations twist the truth to create a cartel and/or to make as much money as possible – that’s just business as usual. I never use the term “conspiracy”, I prefer the term “conflict of interest”. “Conspiracy” is a term used by corporate apologists to dismiss institutional analysis so that people will stop looking into how things really work.
Secondly, EVERY time the DEA or the cops raid a compassion club, they point to Marinol as a reason why. Why would Sativex be any different?
Thirdly, apparently GW has hired Andrea Barthwell, MD (assistant to Drug Czar John Walters) to lobby the US government to accept Sativex. They’ve also hired John Pastuovic (headed the Bush-Cheney campaign in Illinois in 2000) to handle public relations in the U.S. If this isn’t an indication of their designs to keep their competition illegal, I don’t know what is.
Dr. Guy views Malmo-Levine’s criticisms as “one-sided attacks” rather than “fair reporting.” “It must be noted that [Malmo-Levine] never talked to me before he started publishing articles accusing us of being an evil company,” Guy said. “That is not how a professional journalist operates, is it?”
1. I never said GW was “evil”.
2. Dr. Guy was already interviewed in Cannabis Culture – he didn’t need to be “re-interviewed”.
3. I never said anything about GW that wasn’t verifiable.
4. The “professional journalist” doing the Sativex puff-piece never contacted me regarding my quotes, either – or if he did he didn’t bother to quote me very much or very well.
“Our company created medicines that work for patients who had no relief from other medicines.”
With the exception of smoked cannabis, of course.
“We are helping thousands and potentially millions of patients. How many patients are our critics helping?”
To be fair, many critics of Sativex, like myself, have had a hand in helping to create the network of Compassion Clubs who are, indeed, helping thousands and potentially millions of patients. Hey Dr. Guy – your critics are the builders and drivers of the bandwagon you jumped on.
“GW is not alone in the race to develop cannabis medicines, but Guy says his company’s use of organically-produced natural cannabis extracts is innovative, proprietary and medically efficacious.”
Notice the word “proprietary” – and they wonder where we get the idea that somebody wants a monopoly.
“Guy says Sativex has side effects that are very minor and easily controlled with proper dosing and medical supervision.”
The same could be said for smoked cannabis – minus the doctor’s supervision. All of the people at the compassion clubs don’t need “supervision” – just a little advice from their dealers.
“It may be hard for some advocates to believe, but there are millions of people who are quite satisfied with the way their consciousness works, but who want safe, symptomatic relief from a medical condition so they can get on with their life by working, taking care of their children, and being productive members of society,” Guy says.
It may be hard for Dr. Guy to believe, but there are 3-5 million regular cannabis users in Canada who have learned – without a doctor’s help – to self-titrate their dose and many of them look after their children and allmost all of them are productive members of society.
“To further the goals of people who want to medicate without getting high, Guy’s research team developed precise cannabinoid combinations and dosage methods that allow patients to self-medicate with precise control and with zero risk of harming their lungs.”
Firstly … what’s wrong with getting high? Isn’t that why people take anti-depressants – to feel better?
Secondly, if Sativex takes 40 minutes to work, and smoked cannabis takes 5 minutes – what is the more “precice” dose method? Smoked cannabis – you can get to the right dose in a few minutes rather than an hour or two.
As for “zero risk” of harming the lungs – why not look into organic bubble hash. Two puffs of that stuff gives you an active dose – also with “zero risk” of lung damage.
“In order to meet the needs of patients who want cannabinoid medical benefits but don’t want to be stoned, the company’s research has uncovered the inner workings of the subjective feeling of being “high,” and how this feeling is related to medical effects and unwanted side-effects.”
Ahhh the “inner workings” …. sounds so mysterious. That’s pharmacists-speak for “stopping when you feel the effects” – much easier to do with the smoked medicine that with the spray.
Another thing the spray doesn’t do as well as the smoke is help people with nausia. If you’re sick with nausia, you throw up your meds. If you swallow your Sativex spray and then puke it up, you’ve wasted the medicine. Smoke doesn’t get puked up – which makes it a much better delivery system for cancer and AIDS patients suffering from the nausia that comes with their treatments.
Guy says his company’s system of sprays, inhalers, and vaporizers will take harm reduction and cannabis delivery to new levels.
“People currently believe that using one of the many models of vaporizer that are on the market will provide them with fully-utilized, totally-clean cannabis vapors, but this is not true,” Guy says. “Cannabinoids cannot be properly vaporized using the kinds of heat sources and chambers that we see on the market right now. There is still some burning of plant material taking place, people are still inhaling carcinogens, and there are irregularities in the quality and design of these vaporizers that prevents people from getting what they think they are getting.”
Now … correct me if I’m wrong, but since there has NEVER been a case of a cannabis-only smoker going on to get lung cancer, how can Dr. Guy say that there are carcinogens in cannabis smoke?
When the deal uniting Bayer and GW was announced, GW’s critics jumped all over it, alleging that Bayer is an evil company and that GW’s embrace of Bayer indicated bad intent.
David Malmo-Levine said: “Bayer is arguably the worst corporation on earth. They are the inventors and propagators of Aspirin, Heroin, Mustard Gas, forced labor, the Nazi party, Zyklon B, death labor, Tabun and Sarin nerve gas, parathion, Codex, Cipro, Baycol, Baygon, Fenthion, Baysiston, TDI Olaqunidox, PPA’s, PCB’s and other such wonders. Bayer has the worst ethical track record of any company this author knows of.”
Dr. Ethan Russo, a long-time cannabis researcher who now works for GW, says Malmo-Levine “seems to be against the entire system of intellectual property, corporations, scientific research, medical progress, and patents.”
I’m not against medical progress or scientific research, but lets look at what wonders intellectual property and patents have brought us. Thalidomide, the Dalkon Sheild, Bovine Growth Hormone, DDT, breast implants … the list goes on and on. I don’t recall any of the herbs getting recalled recently, do you?
Like many other people, I’m concerned with the problems that will come when people put “patentability” over safety and efficacy. I’m concerned with regarding “intellectual property” as more important than “community heritage”. I’m concerned – as people are all over the world – with biocolonialism and biopiracy.
“In almost every area of human endeavor, from journalism to medicine to the music industry, individuals and corporations create unique ideas and products and then seek to protect their work through copyrights and patents,” Russo explains. “Even if marijuana was totally legal, most people would not conduct the kind of scientific research that GW is conducting. This research uses cannabinoids to extend lives, cure diseases, and relieve disease symptoms. GW has helped legitimize cannabis medicines, and the company has a right to protect its discoveries and its investments.”
Dr. Russo … Sativex isn’t a Beatles tune. Tinctures and sprays are nothing new. Many pharmaceutical companies got their start by creating such tinctures – and they did quite well without suing every other company who put out similar tinctures. We both know that Compassion Clubs were doing similar research before they got busted, and they didn’t need patents to do it. We both know that Philippe Lucas of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society has already been threatened with a lawsuit for coming up with his own spray.
And Dr. Russo, we both know that there is a difference between breeding something and inventing something. Breeders have been working on cannabis for thousands of years – which in my books puts these strains in the category of our common community heritage. It’s true that, legally, people can apply to patent particular strains – something GW is trying to do – but that doesn’t make it right.
Dr Guy goes on to say:
“We will indeed be taking out ‘plant variety rights’ on a number of strains that we developed as part of our R&D program. These rights prevent other parties using our specific strains to produce plant extracts without our permission. GW has only sought patent protection for strains we created; there are plenty of other varieties for people to use, they just can’t use strains we developed,” Guy said.
The question that comes up in my mind is – is it possible for a corporation to get all the genetics for, say, “Panama Red” and then sue anyone who grows anything related to that strain? If it’s impossible, how would abuses such as that be prevented? If it IS possible that that might happen, isn’t it too high a price to pay to create an “incentive” to breed cannabis – given that people are breeding cannabis with no proprietary incentive already and will probably do so in the future?
Dr. Guy continues:
“If people get into trouble for growing cannabis plants, it will be from the police for breaking the law, not from us. If somebody stole our genetic material or our products, that would be breaking the law, but our patents and commercial interests in no way further the drug war.”
Right. “…in no way further the drug war.” Much easier to believe that before you hired the assistant to the Drug Czar as your connection to the US government.
What about Malmo-Levine’s charges that Bayer worked with Hitler’s government and continues to be an unethical company?
“I’m Jewish,” Russo responds, “and I am as horrified by the Holocaust and Hitler as anyone would be, but this is not 1940. Dr. Guy was courted by several pharmaceutical companies, and he chose Bayer as his partner because Bayer is a leading pharmaceutical company committed to getting cannabis medicines to as many people as possible.”
“This is not 1940.” Let’s see what Bayer has been up to since WW2, shall we?
Well, there’s Baycol, Bayer’s cholesterol-lowering drug that has caused many users of the drug to contract the muscle disease rhabdomyolysis. At least one person had died from using the drug. Some suggest that Bayer concealed safety information about the drug.
Frankenfoods: 9 out of 11 GM foods approved for human consumption in the UK are from Bayer Cropscience.
There is a growing body of evidence linking GM foods to permanent disabilities and even deaths:
Bayer’s GE Crop Herbicide, Glufosinate, Causes Brain Damage
Bayer plant still home to MIC stockpile /
MIC killed thousands in Bhopal
Shortly before Pearl Harbor, I.G. Farben camouflaged its American holdings by changing the name from “American IG” to “General Aniline & Film.” Before doing so, American I.G. took over Hoffman LaRoche and bought an undisclosed number of shares in Standard Oil (NJ, Indiana & California), Dow Chemical, the DuPont Company, and Monsanto Chemical. (290)
Monsanto brought the world saccharin, dioxin, PCBs, Agent Orange, Bovine Growth Hormone (291) and “Astroturf.” (292) But their biggest crime may be their involvement of the defoliating of Columbia – supposedly to eliminate the soul-destroying (yet time-honored) coca and poppy plants. (293)
Roundup is manufactured by Monsanto using “liquid isoparafins” manufactured by (Rockefeller’s) Exxon. Along with paraquat, Roundup is popular among law-enforcement officials in the US to kill outdoor cannabis grow-ops with. (294) Almost 70,000 gallons of Roundup were sprayed in Colombia in the first months of 2001. In 2000, roughly 145,750 gallons were sprayed over 53,000 hectares (205 square miles). With a retail price of $33 to $45 per gallon (Monsanto refused to confirm the wholesale price for such volumes), this represents a cost of around $4.8 to $6.6 million – paid to Monsanto by US taxpayers. (295)
Monsanto boasted almost $5.5 billion in sales in 2000 and nearly $150 million in profits. Roundup is the world’s leading herbicide and the company’s flagship product. Monsanto is also involved in developing biotech agriculture and has manufactured “Roundup Ready” soybeans and other crops that resist the herbicide. (296)
Bayer makes weaponized anthrax in it’s Berkeley Miles Cutter laboratory. It also makes Cipro – an anti-anthrax medication.
Amidst anthrax attacks and widespread fears of exposure, Bayer has refused to allow other pharmaceutical firms to produce ciprofloxacin hydrochloride – so that they can sell more Cipro. (131) Activists are now prosecuting a nationwide class action lawsuit on behalf of all persons in the US who purchased or paid for Cipro, accusing Bayer AG of entering into unlawful agreements with Barr Laboratories, Inc. and Hoechst Marion Roussel, Inc. under which, in exchange for over $50 million per year, these two companies agreed not to manufacture or market a generic version. (132)
The U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson threatened to override Bayer’s patent unless they agreed to lower the price of the pill, which Bayer promptly agreed. (133) Secretary Thompson ordered more than $100 million worth of CIRPO from Bayer at the “bargain price” of $.90 per tablet, when other companies offered equally effective and lower risk substitutes for a few pennies each, and then for free. No one ever questioned the unprecedented FDA selection of this single, largely untested, extraordinarily expensive, antibiotic called CIPRO for anthrax. Incredibly, according to the Physicians Desk Reference and American Medical Association, the drug is “contraindicated” – a fancy term for “historically bad drug-effect relationship” or “unwise to use” – for conditions resulting in pneumonia, which is how anthrax kills. (134)
Both Time and Newsweek had cover stories on bio-terror – both stressing Cipro as the best defense against anthrax (Time had a huge blow-up image of a Cipro pill), and both articles carried a date of Oct. 8, probably shipped out a week before – right before the Oct. 4th “first mention” of anthrax in the mass media. (350) Great timing for Bayer’s Cipro sales – no wonder profits have been so good.
Every once in a while, they let their true sides show. In 1988, at Bayer’s 125th anniversary, the chair, Hermann Stenger, bragged to a reporter that he was a “Third generation Bayerite” who fought in Hitler’s army as a youth. (351)
It may not be 1940, Dr. Russo, but Bayer hasn’t changed a bit.
“In the final analysis, criticisms of Dr. Guy and pharmaceutical marijuana research by marijuana activists contain interesting ironies and inconsistencies. … In a reverse echo of Malmo-Levine’s allegation that GW benefits from prohibition, most marijuana industry insiders admit that prohibition is the artificial price support that makes marijuana so profitable for them. If it wasn’t for prohibition, a lot of people would have trouble growing $400 an ounce pot to help pay their mortgages.”
True. It’s also true that people spend 180 billion on pills in North America. If pot breeders and the breeders of other herbs were allowed to compete with the pill pushers on an even playing field, perhaps the price of pot would go down but the volume of sales would dramatically increase – 180 billion split between a million growers and breeders is 180 000 bucks each – and 180,000 bucks would pay down most morgages.
“Far from being an increasingly monopolistic industry, as Malmo-Levine alleges, it appears that Dr. Guy, Bayer, GW, Solvay, Bud Buddy and others are just part of a growing group of people and companies who are creating a vanguard of anti-monopolistic increased production and expansion of marketing, selling and producing varying cannabis products and methods of cannabis use.”
Apart from Bud Buddy, who sponsors anti-prohibition and anti-monopoly efforts, the other supposed anti-monopolists are all on the same cannabis cartel team, they all support the pro-monopoly concepts such as smoke-a-phobia, euphori-phobia and plant-patents, with GW going so far as to hire right-wing republican prohibitionists as their spokespeople. Unlike the pharmaceutical corporations, the Compassion Clubs and pot activists work every day to improve the likelyhood of one day seeing everybody being allowed to grow, sell and use cannabis.
I leave you all with those thoughts, and the following clips regarding Bayer and their partners crimes against humanity and against the ecology of the planet:
In 1939, Paul Muller, a Geigy (Farben) researcher, discovers the insecticidal efficacy of DDT; for this work he receives the Nobel Prize in 1948. (315)
Please check out my super cool website:
It’s especially for activists and people who want to know the nitty gritty on the herb. The most recent issues were the “Ancient History” issues – sure to please.