Chamath Palihapitiya Supports Cannabis Legalization, Urges Additional Fed Oversight
Chamath Palihapitiya, commenting on a Wall Street Journal story linking cannabis to mental illness, the billionaire venture capitalist noted that “this is not your father’s Oldsmobile.”
The investor, who was once labeled the “next Buffett,” is not the first to point out that cannabis has changed drastically from back in the day when one would pass around a joint – no strain name, no brand name – and puff away without getting over-the-top stoned in five seconds.
“While I support marijuana legalization and decarceration, generally, for minor drug offenses, the big thing that the legalized pot movement is lacking is federal requirements on dosage, concentration, toxicity and labeling,” Palihapitiya said in a Tweet on Friday.
“Most critically for parents of teenagers and young adults who inevitably try this stuff, when you dig in, you will find that pot has gone from relatively mild in THC concentrations to something that is far different from what the drug used to be even twenty years ago,” he added.
While numerous studies have confirmed that cannabis is a “safe and effective complementary treatment for pain relief in cancer patients,” dosing and potency remain remain a mystery, and not a fun one.
A survey presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting found that less than a quarter of cancer patients who use cannabis to treat chemo-produced symptoms are aware of the specific numerical concentrations of THC and CBD in the products they consume. And it seems their doctors don’t either.
As weed concentrations have gotten stronger, available research and data have barely budged, noted Palihapitiya, founder and CEO of Social Capital.
What’s To Be Done? The FDA Should Get A Move On
“The FDA has oversight for cigarettes and is developing a framework to methodically take nicotine levels down,” Chamath Palihapitiya said. “My two cents is that they should have the same responsibility for marijuana. There are some important and valuable medical and therapeutic uses for marijuana. But without the ability to have guardrails on dosing, toxicity, and no support from well-designed RCTs, [randomized controlled trials] the trend below will create far more harm than good.”