SPECIAL REPORT - Twenty-First Century Illicit Drugs and Their Discontents: Why the FDA
30 August 2023
The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 required the contents of drugs to be disclosed,83 and the FDCA prohibited the commercial- ization of drugs until the FDA had found them to be safe, effective, and uniform.84 Accordingly, the historical treatment of cannabis in the 17th, 18th, or 19th centuries, whether in America or the rest of the world, is of no importance. [...] There is considerable variation in the psy- choactive component of cannabis—delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.214 A variety of factors affects the THC content of a particular batch of cannabis, such as interplant differences, the part of a particular plant used (flowers contain more THC than stems), the environment in which cannabis is grown, the plant’s age, the season of the year, and so forth. [...] The result is that neither the FDA nor a recommending physician would know the potency of the cannabis that a patient would use or the setting in which use would take place, leaving the agency and treating physician in the dark about its use. [...] Mi- nors know that the states allow it to be sold, that the federal government has two agencies—the FDA and the DEA—whose mission is to protect the public against the use of dangerous drugs, and that the federal government has not shut down state medical marijuana dispensaries on the ground that they are SPECIAL REPORT | No. [...] Whether society embraces or rejects the Millsian dislike of state-made paternalistic judgments ostensibly done for the betterment of individuals, there is no good reason to abandon the approach that the nation adopted 80-plus years ago when the FDCA became law or to force on unwilling third parties the risk of injury or death to satisfy the desires of a minority for a transient high.