On Friday, news outlets around the world jumped on a report by AFP that a drug trial in France had resulted in the brain death of one man, irreversible brain damage of three others and the hospitalisation of two others due to clinical trials of a “cannabis-based painkiller”. Panic spread around the world as such a common drug was blamed for such a serious reaction.
Fortunately, French Health Minister Marisol Touraine quickly come out and corrected the media informing the world that the drug at the centre of the incident contained no cannabis or cannabis derivatives.
Instead, the drug known as BIA 10-2474 is a Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH) enzyme inhibitor which acts upon the human endocannabinoid system. The same set of receptors in the brain that cannabis acts upon. The drug wasn’t cannabis-based at all. It was developed by a drug company to act upon some of the same receptors as cannabis does. That’s a big difference. The question is, why was the media quick to jump to the conclusion that cannabis was to blame? Why was the required research not done