A cannabis company just patented adding cannabinoids to tobacco, making claims that the “new” invention will be beneficial to the health of its users. Though people have been adding cannabis and cannabis extracts to their tobacco since forever, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued a Notice of Allowance for the patent application from Vireo Health Internatinol.
The company’s CEO is Kyle Kingsley, a doctor who apparently likes playing fast and loose with his medical license by implying that tobacco products can be used for medical purposes.
“As a physician, I am passionate about finding ways to use cannabis to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco,” Kingsley said in a company press release, “We look forward to collaborating with research institutions and tobacco companies committed to developing less harmful tobacco products.”
This physician who is passionate about improving people’s health by selling them tobacco claims a myriad of health benefits for his product. This includes the potential reduction of irritation and inflammation from smoking.
Kyle even says his tobacco can prevent cancer.
“According to a 2016 study, scientific evidence supports that cannabinoids may have substantial anti-cancer effects,” the company’s press release says. But we’re pretty that the subjects of that study weren’t also instructed to smoke cigarettes regularly, so that “anti-cancer” claim could be dicey.
In fact, the whole Vireo patent is walking on some pretty thin ice. The FDA recently told cannabis companies to quit making unsubstantiated health claims about CBD oil. Given that, we can’t imagine that government agencies are going to be thrilled about someone claiming they can cure cancer by smoking cigarettes, even if those cigarettes contain some completely unclear types and amounts of cannabis.
Another strange thing about Vireo’s press release is that it actually makes no mention of any specific cannabinoid. It simply says that its approach involves “the use of one or more carefully formulated cannabinoids as harm reducing agents in tobacco products.”
In other words, they won’t tell you what their product is or make any reasonable claim about what it does, but they might be able to legally sue you for selling a spliff, so at least there’s that.