Twenty years ago when government agencies fought against medical marijuana it was less unseemly. Back then when politicians blustered about how medical cannabis had no health benefits and it was all just a big scam so stoners could get high legally… well, it was easier to believe and accept it. There weren’t too many studies – and most of us didn’t have the internet to check those studies anyway. There were also far fewer medical cannabis patients telling us that this treatment works.
That’s the crucial part of this: twenty years ago there was only a small clique of medical cannabis patients. And, frankly, many of them looked like ageing hippies, so the mainstream masses could easily disregard their testimony. Thus, when a politician called those small numbers of people liars it was something that could be brushed over without harming the reputation of that politician.
But twenty years on, with literally millions of people worldwide using medical cannabis, young and old, for conditions as serious as cancer, MS and epilepsy, the landscape has become very different. When politicians call medical cannabis patients liars today they are calling millions of sick and dying people liars. And that, quite simply, is not acceptable.
And while poll after poll shows that the public are far ahead of the politicians on this matter, and very strongly in favor of legalizing medical cannabis, for somewhat murky and alarming reasons politicians and unelected bureaucrats remain opposed.
The obvious cynical reason often cited is lobbying. It’s no secret that the pharmaceutical industry opposes medical cannabis. Nor that the alcohol and tobacco lobby oppose it. Nor that the rehab industry does. Nor that the prison industry does.
These are some powerful, financially weighty forces in Washington. These are lobbies that are happy to throw money at problems, and they have close relationships with politicians of all colors.
And this has proven a huge problem for the medical cannabis movement.
But there is another problem. For four decades now politicians have understood that they must not appear “soft on drugs”. It has been set in stone: as a vote loser and a reputation destroyer. And so the political classes have clung to their tough on drugs stance, even when it comes to medical cannabis. This despite an avalanche of scientific studies showing cannabis has a multitude of therapeutic uses.
For too long politicians have been afraid to accept this science and afraid to accept the opinions of medical cannabis patients telling them it really works. Politicians have been cowardly, and the cost in human suffering has been staggering.
Medical Cannabis Reform: What Can We Do?
The obvious thing we can do is vote against any politician who opposes medical cannabis. By opposing medical cannabis they are opposing cancer patients being given cannabinoids that shrink tumors. They are opposing kids with epilepsy being given THCA and CBD to reduce their seizures.
In short, politicians who oppose medical cannabis are supporting a policy of human misery and death. And they should be kicked out of office the first chance we get.
CBD: The Lowest Hanging Fruit
While this combined force of lobbying groups and political cowardice has successfully prevented reform for decades, in the last few years cracks have started to show. Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s CNN documentary Weed has had an extraordinarily seismic effect on the landscape. By telling the story of Charlotte Figi’s Dravet Syndrome, Gupta has reminded us of the power of TV. In the year since the documentary aired 12 states have passed CBD legislation – this legislation can be directly attributed to the documentary, and to the families who began lobbying their local politicians in the wake of it. It’s been remarkable to see some of the most conservative states in the union so quickly pass CBD laws. Alabama, Utah, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Iowa, Florida and Wisconsin all have CBD laws in place.
It strikes me there are two reasons for this sudden and dramatic shift:
1. Politicians can not be against small children dying of epilepsy.
Opposing CBD laws would mean standing against these children and their determined families. It is simply an untenable stand for any politician to take. And so as soon as a few families start to campaign for a CBD law, and as soon as the state media starts to pay attention and show the suffering these families have gone through… then things have fallen quickly into place.
2. CBD is not psychoactive.
As CBD is not psychoactive, politicians have been able to differentiate CBD from wider medical cannabis. They have been able to keep their anti-drug message, and appear “tough on drugs”, while simultaneously legalizing CBD.
What About THCA?
While CBD works remarkably well with Dravet and some other forms of epilepsy, for many other forms it does not work as well. However, THCA does.
THCA is the raw form of THC. It is also not psychoactive, it is also highly medicinal, and it can save scores of lives. Unfortunately, while it is not psychoactive – and so might seem at first another low hanging fruit for politicians to grab – if THCA is heated or aged it becomes THC.
So politicians in these conservative, right wing-dominated states are gonna run the other way when THCA’s anti-seizure potential is brought to wider public attention.
Here is an excellent video on the potential of THCA, and raw cannabis in general, and why it should be considered a superfood that any health conscious person should be taking regularly:
While CBD is becoming a household name, it is not the only therapeutic, life-saving cannabinoid. There are likely dozens of cannabinoids that can be used to save lives. And while it is encouraging to see politicians take this first step and endorse CBD, we mustn’t let them rest of their laurels.
CBD is only the first step. Legalization and acceptance of the therapeutic potential of the whole cannabis plant must be the long term goal. Don’t let politicians off the hook until medical cannabis is legal in all its forms.
And kick out all those who oppose it.
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