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New Cannabis Pill On Track For 2012 Debut


Marijuana Pill BottleBy Barbara Venezia

Those who believe they’re on the cutting edge of the medical marijuana bubble are passionate, and in some cases, quite controversial.

One such figure is Steele Smith, who started the first medical marijuana collective in Orange County in 2005.

He and his wife, Theresa, face federal charges of cultivation of at least 1,000 marijuana plants in a November 2007 case. They are slated to go to trial Oct. 4 in Santa Ana and could face up to 10 years in prison, officials say.

But even with the serious legal troubles, Smith’s filed for a U.S. patent for the extraction process for an oral THC pill he says will give doctors a new “tool box of drugs” for the sick and dying. The 43-year-old Anaheim native hopes to have the patent approved and his drug, Idrasil, on the market by the end of 2012.

Smith explained that the problem with delivering medical marijuana is dosage. THC levels vary depending on plants and process. He says that by taking a “mother plant” and cloning it, he can standardize and control dosage.

There’s already a drug called Marinol on the market, but it’s made from synthetic THC, not from the marijuana plant.

Though Smith has no background as a chemist, he says he has “20 years of experience with orchids. The cloning process is standardized for all plants. I can clone anything.”

“My goal is to get a standardized THC pill to the sick and dying,’’ he says.

For anyone who has taken opiates, side effects can range from constipation, rashes, severe loss of lucidity as well as addiction. Since Idrasil is cannabis, it increases appetite and controls nausea from other medications a patient may be taking, Smith says. He sees it as an alternative to opiates for treating pain.

Idrasil is considered a nutraceutical, a food, or parts of food, that provides medical or health benefits, so it doesn’t need FDA approval, Smith said. But he still wants to get approval so it can be re-categorized as a pharmaceutical. This process could take five years or longer.

His drug is now under FDA pre-trials, and if he gets approvals here, Idrasil would move to FDA clinical trials, which could result in re-categorizing it as a drug, he said.

But he’s not waiting for FDA re-categorization. Smith’s already assembled a sales staff of drug reps as part of his marketing plan to put Idrasil on the market for $18-$20, the same price as oxycodone, he says.

His motivation to help those facing serious illness and pain stems partly from his own health experience. Diagnosed in 1998 with Zollinger-Ellison, a rare disorder characterized by tumors and ulcers in the stomach and digestive organs, he became addicted to prescription painkillers.

But if you think the OC cannabis community is cheering him on — think again. Mention his name in those circles, as I did, and opinions aren’t kind. Criticisms ranged from those who consider him arrogant to those who feel he can’t deliver what he claims.

When we spoke, I got the impression he wasn’t bothered if he wasn’t accepted by others in the OC marijuana movement. Rather, he’s craving recognition within the medical community.

Is Steele Smith on the verge of something big with Idrasil? Only time will tell.

Barbara Venezia’s columns appear weekly on ocregister.com. Contact her at bvontv@earthlink.net

Original article can be found here.


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  1. I suffer from chronic pain and have tried pills injections etc. no real relief at all. I certainly would support this as an option for relief. Why not?

  2. Sunshine (Betty Ruth) Harper on

    Hi, I for one am happy to see this happening because that is one of the reasons given to not let people use cannabis as a medicine,…”you can’t regulate a dosage while smoking the buds.” I am a breast cancer survivor and used Marinol while going through my treatments in 2004-05. My oncologist, who was the head of the oncology dept at the CTRC (Cancer Treatment and Research Center) at University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, gave me a prescription for 20 Marinol caps and a coupon for one free script. I was directed to medicate 3 or 4 times a day and take up to 4 at a time. Two days later when I ran out my step-sister gave me a half ounce of cannabis and I used it for the next 3 weeks. When I next saw my doctor I had gained 2 lbs and he said,”I think the Marinol is helping you” I told him, “No, I couldn’t afford to get the refill so I have been eating and smoking an illegal substance (in the eyes of the state of Texas and the Federal authorities) and really the pills did NOT give me the munchies or take away the pain or nausia as promised.” He said,”Ahh, how should I word this? ……. I can not tell you that I approve of what you are doing because it is still illegal but I will say that if you need to continue doing what you are doing with out my permission! Just be very careful because we don’t want you to go to jail.” I thanked him for his concern and continued to smoke and eat cannabis, which did take away my2 nausia, help with the pain and over the next 4 months I gained from 117 to 124 pounds (at 5′ 7″ I normally weigh 123-137). After all my treatments were over my doctor called me to see how I was doing and to ask my permission to use my case as an example of why Marijuana should be legalized for medicinal use in the state of Texas the next time he went before the State Legislature. “Yes,” I said, “as long as you use case number 420!!!” Five years later I moved to California and now have a Doctors Recomendation and have been growing my own for 2 seasons.
    Betty Ruth Sunshine Harper

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