You know times are changing when the federal government’s ganja gatekeeper says he’s going to cash in on legal weed.
During a recent podcast interview, Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly, who runs the federal government’s sole pot farm, said he was working with a company to design marijuana-infused eye drops for treating glaucoma. Glaucoma is an eye disorder where pressure builds on the optic nerve, causing intense eye pain, headaches, and visual damage. It’s also one of the leading causes of blindness in seniors.
“The best way to treat glaucoma is not to take a drug that will affect your brain, affect your ability to function, the whole rest of your body just to lower the pressure inside the eyes,” ElSohly said. “The way to do this is to develop, let’s say, eye drops, eye drops from marijuana.”
According to ElSohly, the medication has already been licensed, though he did not identify which company he’d partnered with to create it. He said the drops include chemically-modified THC that absorbs into the eye, then releases pure THC into the eye itself. The medication does not cause marijuana’s characteristic high, but, theoretically, should still reduce pressure caused by glaucoma, Marijuana Moment reported.
Gallery — Fuck-Tons of Weed That No One Is Smoking Except Cops:
That ElSohly is looking to bank off legal weed medication is deeply ironic considering his reputation for obstructing cannabis research in the US for decades. If scientists or doctors want to dispense weed to human subjects, they must first receive approval for the study from NIDA, the FDA, and the DEA. If approved, the DEA issues a special “Schedule I” license so researchers can handle pot for the study.
However, there’s a catch to getting the feds’ approval for weed research: The scientists are only allowed to use cannabis cultivated and prepared by ElSohly’s lab at the University of Mississippi. For the past three decades, researchers have complained that the DEA’s weed is incredibly poor quality and not suitable for medical research. It contains sticks, stems, leaves, and seeds that are all ground up with the flower into a uniform powder, which research subjects have complained is too harsh to smoke or vaporize in therapeutic amounts. Furthermore, the DEA’s weed often contains so much mold that ElSohly’s lab advises researchers to shower it in radiation before giving it to human subjects.
ElSohly is not in charge of approving Schedule I licensing for weed research, but it’s a little suspect that he won’t name the company that he’s working with to develop these weed eye drops. One can’t help but wonder if ElSohly and his business partners got special treatment by the feds, who are ElSohly’s employers.
Anyway, there you have it. The guy who doesn’t want anyone studying weed is about to cash in on his own legal weed product. I guess we can now place ElSohly alongside John Boehner and Matthew Whitaker, two career politicians who staunchly defended pot prohibition until they got offered a shit ton of money to work in the federally-outlawed industry.
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