Marijuana and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are separate schedule 1 drugs. The definition of a schedule 1 drug includes:

The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

[From Wikipedia]

However, US Patent 6630507, which was assigned by The United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services, says:

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is another of the cannabinoids that has been shown to be neuroprotective in cell cultures, but this protection was believed to be mediated by interaction at the cannabinoid receptor, and so would be accompanied by undesired psychotropic side effects.

Actually there is quite a bit about the medicinal value of THC throughout this patent. If the United States has a patent that says Tetrahyrdocannabidol has medicinal value, why is it labeled as a Schedule 1 substance?

  • 1
    @indigochild Yes, I'm trying to figure out how the federal government can claim both Cannabis and THC have no medicinal value, and at the same time own a patent that says many Cannabinoids, including Tetrahydrocannabinol, has medicinal value. It seems like they're lying, and I'm trying to figure out how this is not a lie. Unless it is a lie, then the acceptable answer would be that they're lying.
    – Cannabijoy
    Jan 11, 2017 at 21:05
  • @indigochild That looks pretty good, except I know what their "position" is. They say it over and over again. So as long as answers don't dwell too much on that, and stay focused on why I'm asking, then I think this will be okay. What do you think?
    – Cannabijoy
    Jan 11, 2017 at 21:40

1 Answer 1


tl;dr - Whether or not there is any medical usage of marijuana is not relevant to determining whether it is controlled, and what schedule it should be on.

Scheduled Substances

As the question says, marijuana is schedule 1 drug. A drug becomes scheduled through one of two processes:

  1. Law may dictate that a substance is controlled, and which schedule it falls on.
  2. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may add or remove substances from the list, as well as change their schedule, based on scientific, medical, or other information as they see fit. There is a specific process in place; rather than reading the original act I recommend the Wikipedia summary.

Marijuana as a Controlled Substance

Marijuana was placed on the schedule of controlled substances by the Controlled Substances Act. Since this was done by statute, and not by regulatory agencies, whether or not marijuana has a medical application is ultimately unimportant. Congress may consider any information (or not consider information) as it sees fit.

Additionally, the federal law dealing with controlled substances says that controlled substances can have medical usage:

Many of the drugs included within this subchapter have a useful and legitimate medical purpose and are necessary to maintain the health and general welfare of the American people.

[Source: 21 US Code § 801]

  • Thank you indigochild. I have edited my question to be more clear about what I'm asking for. This seems to answer the question of how the federal government is able to get around following their own laws, but it doesn't explain why THC is a Schedule 1 substance while the federal government has a patent that explicitly says THC and other Cannabinoids do in fact have medicinal value. I hope my question is more clear now. Please let me know if there is something you don't understand. Thank you.
    – Cannabijoy
    Jan 11, 2017 at 5:25
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    This looks really good indigochild, except that the specific scheduling of THC and "Marihuana" says that they have no accepted medicinal value. So the "Many of the drugs..." section cannot apply to Schedule 1 substances, correct? If the government owns a patent that says THC and Marijuana have medicinal value, but put it under a schedule that claims THC has no medicinal value, then doesn't that mean they are lying? I'm not saying it's illegal for the government to lie, but it's not very nice.
    – Cannabijoy
    Jan 12, 2017 at 4:41
  • I guess what you're ultimately saying is, none of that matters because it's a statute of the CSA, so because of interstate commerce, they can do whatever they want. Is that right?
    – Cannabijoy
    Jan 12, 2017 at 4:41
  • @Joshua It's the same reason tomatoes are considered a vegetable for tax purposes.
    – JAB
    Mar 28, 2017 at 14:24
  • @JAB - That will depend what taxes you mean. The US Supreme Court decided that for the purposes of taxes on imports the tomato is a vegetable. Sales taxes are collected at the state level, and at least in the states I have lived in neither fruits nor vegetables were taxed. Mar 28, 2017 at 14:40

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