First of all, let’s break down the term patent. According to Dictionary.Com, a patent is the exclusive right granted by a government to an inventor to manufacture, use, or sell an invention for a certain number of years. So what does this have to do with cannabis? Patent number 6,630,507 has been owned by the US Government since 2003 and it covers the possibility that antioxidant properties found inside of cannabis stavia can keep brain damage at bay as a result of certain neurological diseases. The concept is rather confusing, but when you dig deeper this patent basically means that the National Institute of Health (NIH) has decided that potential exists within this one strain of cannabis and they want to ensure that testing, using the patented technology, is done. Testing licenses related to cannabis are then made available to the private sector via the NIH’s Technology Transfer Office’s website, where businesses can apply for the license. Kannalife Sciences, Inc., a New York based company, has received the licenses for testing using this technology, and they are currently developing and testing drugs and subsequently paying six figure royalties and milestone payments back to the government as part of the licensing agreement.
So the government is making money off of a patent on a chemical compound found in cannabis stavia but they continue to give marijuana a Schedule 1 classification? Yes. Does the patent cover the entire plant, meaning it impacts the general consumer of cannabis stavia? No. If legalization of marijuana takes place on a national level here in the US, will there undoubtedly be more cannabis related patents filed? Yes. We have yet to see what impact this has on the general public, but let’s hope that the legality around the various patents doesn’t interfere with the actual life-saving and life enhancing medications that we have only begun to understand.