Jürg Gertsch, of ETH Zürich, and his collaborators from three other universities have provided some proof that marijuana is a powerful medicine — not because of its supposed active ingredient, THC, but because of another ingredient, beta-caryophyllene:
Gertsch and his team published their findings on June 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.They focused on the anti-inflammatory properties of the impressive substance — testing it on immune cells called monocytes and also in mice.
Since beta-caryophyllene seems to be powerful, occurs naturally in many foods, and does not get people high, it could turn out to be a nearly ideal medication. The organic compound is also phenomenally cheap. Sigma Aldrich sells it, in kosher form, for forty-two dollars per kilogram.
Of course, since it’s already cheaply available, it’s in no one’s interest to spend the money to get it FDA approved.