Medicinal cocaine has always been a thing, but now there’s an FDA-approved nasal spray aptly made with totally legal, pharmaceutical-grade white. 

On Monday, the pharmaceutical outfit Lannett Company announced that its new cocaine hydrochloride nasal spray product, dubbed Numbrino, cleared two Phase III, randomized, double-blind clinical trials.

“The FDA’s approval of our cocaine HCl product, the first NDA approval to include full clinical trials in the company’s history, marks a major milestone in Lannett’s 70+ years of operations,” said Tim Crew, Lannett Company’s CEO, in a press release. “We believe the product has the potential to be an excellent option for the labeled indication. We expect to launch the product shortly…”

While Lannett’s nasal spray may be new, cocaine’s use in modern medicine is not. Unlike weed, which is considered a Schedule I drug in the US — meaning it has no accepted medical use — cocaine is a Schedule II drug, meaning it has some accepted medical use. Although cocaine’s medicinal use is not as widespread as it was at the turn of the 20th century, it has been, in rare occasions, administered as a topical analgesic for minor surgeries. 

Nasal administration of pharmaceutical-grade coke isn’t new, either. In the ‘80’s, LA-based drug researcher Ronald K. Siegel, PhD. tested whether sniffing crack could control arthritis pain. The study successfully showed that snorting pharmaceutical crack — or cocaine freebase — could effectively manage chronic pain without triggering cocaine’s characteristic, addictive high. However, the patients reported that they felt uncomfortable sniffing lines of any drug for relief, and some study subjects turned to street-bought cocaine after Siegel revealed the study drug’s true identity. 

Lately, pharmaceutical nasal sprays for novel drugs has become all the rage. Last year, President Trump ordered the VA to purchase an FDA-approved ketamine nasal spray for treating depression in combat veterans. In December, an Oregon-based company announced it would begin developing a nasal spray for delivering psilocybin, the psychedelic component of magic mushrooms. And in case you’re wondering, weed-based nasal sprays have already been around for a few years, but none are FDA-approved.

So, there you have it: The US government recognizes cocaine as a legit medicine, but cannabis is still considered as dangerous and useless as heroin. 

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