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Cannabis: A Political Plant

Tadgh Stopford on 13th Floor Podcast

Despite what we think about ‘medicine’ 85% of the world’s population relies on plants as medicine. “Let food be thy medicine” is a basic of medicine, and here’s the thing. 11% of the world’s basic medicines are just plant extracts. Eg. Codeine, Morphine, Quinine. The most useful, and political, of all plant medicines is Cannabis Sativa. Which isn’t dangerous enough to be a ‘medicine’. Because medicines kill. That’s why qualified doctors prescribe them.

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But, according to the DEA, Cannabis is so safe that a person would need to consume 750kg in 15 minutes to die. It is impossible to die from cannabis. That’s partly why, in 1988, the DEA recommended its rescheduling. “It would be unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious for the DEA to stand between sufferers and the benefits of this substance.” But it was not rescheduled. ...Politics? Let’s just forget THC for this article, because it’s a red herring. Hemp is where it’s at, and only high school chemistry is needed to optimise it. The pharmaceutical industry is simply not required. That’s why ‘Medical’ cannabis sales drop in legal countries.

Yet, despite promises to meet patient needs, and talk of ‘kindness’, the ministry of Health has created a quality standard for NZ Cannabis that requires millions of dollars to meet. If, after committing millions, the rules are changed; and local Green Fairies are able to make similar products in a Kitchen, instead of a Lab; any company unable to secure export agreements will fail.

We have already seen anti-competitive practices locally, with Eqalis suggesting that doctors aren’t ready, and that Legalization should be delayed to allow doctors to get clued up on prescription products. But patients, who usually know more than doctors, are keen to sidestep them if at all possible, and simply secure affordable access for pain, epilepsy, cancer, dementia etc..

Furthermore, although smoking anything is carcinogenic, smoking cannabis (be it ‘marrywanna’ or hemp) is (unlike tobacco) relatively benign. In fact, the Dunedin Longitudinal Study found ‘poorer gum health’ in 50% of daily users only after twenty years of smoking Cannabis DAILY.

Unique (miraculous even) compounds in Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) are what make it a political plant. Called ‘cannabinoids’. They occur widely in nature, but are uniquely abundant in Cannabis. In humans, and all animals, cannabinoids are essential regulators of normal function. The human cannabinoid system regulates basic functions like “Eat, sleep, rest, protect, reproduce, heal”.

Cannabinoids are why we could (if allowed by politicians) prevent/cure cancer with cannabis, prevent/cure alzheimers with cannabis, relieve chronic pain with cannabis, and; in general, reduce the $1.2 trillion dollar revenues of Big Pharma by two thirds. Because the one third of patented drugs that target your cannabinoid system (aka G-Protein coupled Receptors) make two thirds of pharma revenues ($890Bn).

If cannabis was legal, big pharma faces losing that $890 billion dollars of ‘market share’ to an Olde Garden Remedy. Competition would come from dietary vegetable cannabis, cannabis juice, cannabis oils, cannabis lozenges, cannabis patches, and a healthier population. More people use cannabis because they want to be healthy than high, and legal cannabis will reduce pharmaceutical sales.

But if Cannabis becomes legal, ‘Medical’ Cannabis companies will also face competition for their products. Both business and regulators seem to favour monopoly.

Quite simply, the biggest dangers of Cannabis are to pharmaceutical revenues, political and to anyone caught with the ‘healing herb’ by police.

There is no conspiracy. Just fraudulent marketing and anti-competitive practices by industry, politicians, and regulators. It’s just business. And its denying kiwis access to self-health care as a human right. Lets just Vote YES. Lets #MakeitLegal.

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