The Denver Post reports on the infamous patent no. 6,630,507 held by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human services (HHS).
Patent 6,630,507 became the buzz #tag after the DEA decided not to reschedule marijuana, claiming it has no legitimate medicinal use.
Patent No. 6,630,507 yet, cannabis has no medicinal use…
The patent belonging to HHS claims that there is potential use for the non-psychoactive cannabinoids in cannabis for diseases such as cirrhosis, and that they could be used to protect the brain from damage or deterioration.
The University of Washington’s Cannabis Law & Policy Project executive director and public policy lawyer, Sam Mendez says that for the government to say there is no accepted medical use for cannabis by federal law is contradictory when the very same government owns a patent for an apparent medical use for marijuana.
An employee of a New York biopharmaceutical company exclusively licensed under the patent, Mendez and researchers from HHS all warn that patent 6,630,507 is no indication of legalization in the near future.
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Expect an explosion of marijuana-associated patents
Mendez says the government can file and obtain patents, without having any bearing on the Controlled Substance Act, but that this could be an indication of what could happen if marijuana were rescheduled: an explosion of marijuana associated patents.
Mark Rohrbaugh said roughly 6,000 scientists with Ph.D. degrees are employed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He is the NIH special advisor on technology transfer, and holds doctorates in biochemistry and law. If any one of these scientists invents a new technology, or discovers something of worth, the NIH will evaluate the findings, and file a patent if it holds potential.
NIH spokeswoman Renate Myles said the NIH has funded research involving cannabis over the years, both as a drug related to abuse, and as a potential medicine.
CBD oil government patent
In the case of patent no. 6,630,507, researchers discovered that possible antioxidant properties of cannabidiol in cannabis might be effective in the treatment of certain neurological diseases, she said.
Cannabinoid compounds, similar in structure to THC, but non-psychoactive, are described in this patent, which means specific conditions could be treated without the adverse side-effects associated with smoking cannabis, Myles explained.
Rohrbaugh said the patent doesn’t prove the efficacy of the chemical compound described, it would have to be purified, synthesized, and will have to undergo stringent testing on animals and humans to ultimately be approved by the FDA. Only then can one be sure it is safe and effective for the purpose described.
The NIH patent discoveries are intended to keep technology of possible benefit to the public from sitting idle, he said. Sometimes the private sector has to be looped in. In the eighties, laws enabled the government to make discoveries accessible to others who are capable of further research, and who have the ability to develop commercial products. The discoverers receive payment as part of the licensing agreement.
Patents available for licensing are advertised on the NIH website, and officials might conduct outreach as well, the licenses are sometimes packaged with some exclusivity said Rohrbaugh. He explains, “It’s like a piece of land. You wouldn’t build a million-dollar house on a piece of land you wouldn’t have some title to.”
The patent expires in 2019, and other companies may also apply to use this patent technology to develop treatments in which the antioxidant properties of cannabinoids are used. But all drugs have to be approved by the FDA, she said.
When asked if marijuana has medicinal value, a spokesperson for the company currently authorized to use the patent said “Well, yeah, but it can’t be targeted and qualified for repetitive use without FDA approved research.”
Patent No. 6,630,507 does not include plant patents, San Diego patent attorney Dale C and board member of Open Cannabis Project explained. One would have to develop a new strain in order to patent it.
Tech transfers often happen, but obviously not often with cannabis.
CBD oil government patent?
It’s quite possible to challenge the government patent on CBD oil. The oil is an extract from natural plant material and can’t be patented. CBD is natural cannabidiol and not a synthesized molecule. It certainly isn’t a “new technology”!