Researchers Have Focused on Strains High in the Anti-inflammatory Cannabidiol (CBD).
First, let me make clear that my focus is on politics, not directly on medicine. As the president says, “I’m not a doctor.” However, as we have seen, medicine does become political, and this is nothing new for those of us who can remember the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic.
Early in the epidemic, people with AIDS in San Francisco and New York, where marijuana was easily available, discovered that it helped with some of the more debilitating symptoms, notably loss of appetite. The “munchies” had long been a joke in the weed world, but it was no joke to patients who were either too nauseous to want to eat, or who simply had no appetite, resulting in a “wasting syndrome” that increased their suffering and hastened their deaths.
Consequently, it became clear that people who used marijuana were often living longer and suffering less than those who did not. So my old friend, the late and much lamented Dennis Peron, organized the first Cannabis Buyers Club in San Francisco in 1991. The medical community with a few exceptions largely ignored the growing “anecdotal” evidence. Standard practice.
Finally, Dr. Donald Abrams, a San Francisco oncologist, got permission and access to cannabis through NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) and the DEA.
Almost 20 years ago, July 13, 2000, the San Francisco Examiner reported on its front page: “Study: Pot use safe for HIV patients. Advocates hopeful UCSF researcher’s work will pave way for medical use of marijuana”
But it did not happen because the U.S. government still “can’t handle the truth.” (Luckily better information can now be found on their site.)
The important point here is that the stated purpose of the study was to determine whether marijuana use harmed patients, not whether it helped them, because the NIDA/DEA drug war complex blocked proposals by Dr. Abrams to see if marijuana helped HIV patients.
Helping desperately ill people with marijuana would would hurt the Drug War, which still drives federal policy.
(I knew a number of “long term survivors,” as they were called, who used nothing but cannabis. At least until they got arrested and died.)
Twenty years later, the DEA is still blocking access to marijuana research.
For an excellent history of this open conspiracy against science, see: ICYMI DEA and Cannabis Research Still Lousy Bed Fellows, by Hilary Bricken.
Somehow, it took the DEA four years to study how they could get out of the way. And let’s not mention the FDA. There are none so blind as those whose jobs depend on not seeing what’s in plain sight.
Fortunately, research has continued either outside the U.S. or using THC instead of whole cannabis, or in studies of patients who are self-medicating.
From Cannabis and the Relief for HIV/AIDS MAY 06, 2018 By Melissa Moore:
“A more recent study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (JAIDS), found that THC might be able to prevent HIV from becoming full-blown AIDS…. THC can suppress pDC function during the early host antiviral response by dampening pDC activation; this prevents the condition from worsening. Not only may patients reduce their symptoms of side effects from this terminal illness, but cannabis may also help prolong or save their lives.”
Now we are dealing with a new virus that, like the HIV virus, has a wide variety of symptoms that are not yet understood. Doctors are heroically risking their own lives, trying everything possible to stop the progression of the disease. They are even trying nicotine patches. But not …
Coronavirus: The tide is coming for medicinal cannabis, “Cannabis researchers in Canada say the plant-based drug may provide resistance to SARS-CoV-2. Their preliminary findings are part of broader research into the use of medicinal cannabis in treating cancer.”
First, please note that this research was done in Canada where the DEA can’t block it.
“And, now, preliminary research is emerging out of Canada that certain strains of the psychoactive drug cannabis may also increase resistance to the coronavirus. If the study, which is not yet peer reviewed, can be verified, it would appear that cannabis works in a similar way to nicotine.
“The results on COVID-19 came from our studies on arthritis, Crohn’s disease, cancer and others,” says Dr. Igor Kovalchuck, a professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Lethbridge…
“The Alberta-based researchers, meanwhile, have focused on strains of the plant, Cannabis sativa, that are high in an anti-inflammatory cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD) – one of the other main chemicals in cannabis, aside from THC.”
As I said at the beginning, my point is political not medical. Very simply, the suppression of medical research on cannabis is a scientific scandal and a crime against humanity.
Whenever you read something by doctors about cannabis and they don’t mention the fact that the United States government has been blocking scientific research on cannabis for decades, they have no intellectual standing in any discussion about medical science.
As people wave their guns and Confederate flags and shout about having to wear a face mask and prattle about freedom while almost 2,000 people a day are being arrested for having a plant that might help people with AIDS or COVID-19, and you are indeed “swallowing camels and choking on gnats.” (First century troublemaker who didn’t have government approval.)
Trump, Obama and Biden, Clinton and Bush, et al have all presided over this calamity. The key point remains that marijuana prohibition has been and continues to be mass murder.
We Must End Marijuana Prohibition Now
Richard Cowan is a former NORML National Director and co-founder of the CBD reviews site RealTestedCBD.com.