US Patent No.6630507 was issued on 7 October 2003 about Cannainoids. It has been kept hidden for five years,
April 18, 2010, 9:12 pm
The Ethics of Prescribing Cannabis: freedom, autonomy, and values

US Patent No.6630507 was issued on 7 October 2003. It has been kept hidden for five years, and it has only been the assiduous work of people trying to get marijuana legalised for medical use that has uncovered this. The application went in on 2 February 2001. Here is the abstract:

"Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of a wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present in vention. A particular disclosed class of cannabinoids useful as neuroprotective antioxidants is formula (I) wherein the R group is independently selected from the group consisting of H, CH3 and COCH3."

The inventors—and I dislike that word because it is like a version of plant-variety rights—are: Hampson, Aidan J.; Axelrod, Julius; and, Grimaldi, Maurizio. The assignee is the United States of America, as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services. So, the US government knows the medical value of this substance.
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