by Silent Jay on 04/12/2014 | Uncategorized

Why the subjects of recreational and medicinal cannabis should be separate

Currently, a fairly large number of countries as well as more than 20 U.S. states authorise medicinal cannabis for a specific list of conditions, with details on which diseases qualify or not depending on each of these places’ specific laws. This means that people under these laws and suffering from glaucoma, depression, multiple sclerosis, and a few other ailments can be legally prescribed medicinal cannabis.


The subject of legal cannabis is one of importance, especially nowadays. And as the Reefer Madness era fades away, slowly but surely, more and more people are aware of the subtleties of cannabis and its consumption; recreational vs. medicinal, smoking vs. vaporising, etc.
In the landscape of activism itself, there are two groups which at times, can oppose each other: recreational users and medicinal users. While there is no actual, active conflict between the two crowds, in the big picture of cannabis legalisation, it is important to make a distinction between them, and their respective agendas.

Keeping a joint reputation a.k.a. the plague of cannabinoid research

It has been more than a century that patients have been fighting in order to gain legal access to cannabis, and cannabis-based medicine. Currently, a fairly large number of countries as well as more than 20 U.S. states authorise medicinal cannabis for a specific list of conditions, with details on which diseases qualify or not depending on each of these places’ specific laws. This means that people under these laws and suffering from glaucoma, depression, multiple sclerosis, and a few other ailments can be legally prescribed medicinal cannabis.

medicinal cannabis 1There is on the other hand a tremendous number of studies which have proven at several occasions that cannabis can alleviate symptoms of other diseases for which pharmaceutical companies don’t have a solution; neurodegenerative disorders (dementia, ALS, etc.), seizure-inducing conditions (epilepsy, Gilles de la Tourette’s syndrome, etc.), tumours, and many more. So why aren’t those diseases treated with cannabis yet?

It is no secret that cannabinoid research still encounters countless obstacles, despite the overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence available, proving that cannabis has a positive effect on many symptoms. It is also no secret that many of those research efforts have been stopped before they even began, most of the time under the cover of administrative motives.
Professor Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, and one of the only influential voices of medicinal cannabis in mainstream media, addressed the issue through the example of one of his fellow researchers, Doctor Suzanne Sisley, who was let go by the University of Arizona (U.S.) for her choice of focus topics. Dr Sisley is far from being the only example of cannabinoid research being shunted by various representatives of the establishment, although most of those projects do not even go further enough in the approval process to be mediatized.

sanjay_gupta

Is cannabinoid research not happening faster because of recreational cannabis?
The answer is no, but yes. Unfortunately, many are still fervently opposed to legalisation of cannabis regardless of purpose, but especially when it comes to recreational use. The right to intoxication is not recognised as a vital need by modern societies – or at least not at a conventional level – which makes it complicated for most to accept the democratisation of casual cannabis use. And even though medicinal properties of cannabis are clearly demonstrated in the countless studies mentioned earlier, and don’t always involve actual intoxication depending on which cannabinoids are under the spotlight, it seems there is still a water pipe-shaped roadblock where a science -based separation between medicinal cannabis and recreational cannabis should be.

In this regard, it is fairly accurate, albeit tragic, to admit that the Reefer Madness movement has succeeded in an impressive manner to teach populations to discard patients’ lives to the benefit of bigoted, puritan views on mere decorum. It is therefore not surprising to see an increasing number of medicinal cannabis-oriented associations or groups explicitly separate themselves from the recreational scene, simply because too much tolerance for the cannabis plant as a whole may a negative connotation to their cause.

Recreational cannabis on medicinal turf

It would be irresponsible to deem cannabis 100% harmless. Regular, recreational cannabis consumers themselves agree that while it is downright impossible to overdose on cannabis, or to directly be harmed by it, regulation is necessary, for both health-related reasons and legal reasons. Young consumers, sensible medical conditions, the need to eradicate any possibility for a black market … these are valid reasons why total legalisation requires carefully tailored policies and guidelines. The issue is that the amalgam often made between casual users and patients can have a noxious impact on existing medicinal cannabis programs, and on future ones.

Protest 2

Indeed, some countries and U.S. states have considered making medicinal cannabis a mere paragraph in their larger debate around total legalisation. For instance, limits in terms of quantities of cannabis allowed (to grow, to carry, to purchase) and number of diseases for which medicinal cannabis can be obtained have been discussed at length by lawmakers, notably in the U.S. state of Washington. Evidently, making sure a recreational cannabis legalisation project is viable and safe should be the main topic at hand. But in the process of trying to make the procurement of a medicinal cannabis card a stricter, more regulated operation reserved to actual patients as opposed to self-conscious/paranoid/cautious “potheads”, some local governments could manage to literally shoot down their existing medicinal cannabis programs, thus giving an even more detestable reputation to recreational cannabis friendly activists.

Professor Raphael MechoulamAs judiciously pointed out by Professor Raphael Mechoulam, an eminent scientist responsible with his team of researchers for the first isolation and synthesis of THC in 1964, and the discovery of other cannabinoids, “[unlike recreational cannabis], medicinal cannabis should be focused on, on a quantitative level”. Imagining medicinal users depending on the same dispensaries than those frequented by recreational smokers, and depending on the same quality, and same lack of medicinal insight on the different strains offered is simply nonsensical.

Considering medicinal cannabis users at the same level than potentially unlawful citizens is a (sort of) de facto but misplaced shortcut, which makes the lives of many much more difficult than it already is. The unnecessary addition of social stigma on what is, originally, a purely medical, often life-threatening issue is why the medicinal cannabis agenda is, as we get closer to 2015, the most important of all agendas supported by cannabis activists – above the idealistic idea of countries recognizing cannabis as a valid, healthy way of exploring one’s mind. The desire to contain the “cannabis monster”, while also relatively legitimate, has to be a separate issue than the one of saving lives.

What do the involved parties think?

The following could sound like quite an ominous, somewhat exaggerated statement, but also a very hard one to debunk:

Every single recreational cannabis user supports medicinal cannabis.

To people opting for a logical, albeit humanly tainted reasoning method, this could also sound like the easiest thing to say; who could possibly oppose medical advances aiming to save lives?
And indeed, it is more common than not to find a plethora of recreational users of many different sorts amidst a group of activists; former patients, patients suffering from non-life-threatening conditions who also casually smoke, users who know patients,  and many different nuances of, simply, people aware of scientific facts who dedicate their lives to spreading the word.

Protest 1

Does it really matter?
The answer is yes, but no. Of course, it matters that citizens that are not directly involved in the struggle for medicinal cannabis support it nevertheless. But despite a massive crowd movement in favour of medicinal cannabis, an incredible number of people are being punished for curing themselves with cannabis, or administrating cannabis oil to others, solely based on the fact that cannabis is illegal. And despite prohibition having been clearly unmasked as a vast disinformation program, this illegality is what rules all.

As Professor Raphael Mechoulam states in our SensiBilisation series;

Recreational cannabis is a social question; if the population agrees to use it, fine. In a democratic country, social questions are solved by the majority of the population. If the majority of the population thinks recreational cannabis should be open, that’s what will happen. Maybe not today, maybe in a year, maybe in 10 years, but this is what will happen. Medical cannabis is something else.”

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Swazi-X

"It would be irresponsible to deem cannabis 100% harmless. Regular, recreational cannabis consumers themselves agree that while it is downright impossible to overdose on cannabis, or to directly be harmed by it, regulation is necessary, for both health-related reasons and legal reasons."

Compare these thoughts:
"...irresponsible to deem cananbis 100% harmless."
"...downright impossible...to directly be harmed by it." (cannabis)

How can both be true? Answer: they can't.
How can a writer not see the direct contradiction within the same paragraph of these two sentences? Answer: I don't know.

The reason it is not irresponsible to "deem cannabis 100% harmless." lies in the fact that, despite what we've been told about it - according to science, cannabis is 100% harmless to humans. It's even less harmless than 100% - in that it not only does no damage, but every single puff is physically beneficial whether your intent is to heal or get high. What exactly would the "health-related reasons" be for regulation then?

The Political Correctness cops have done their job here. Splitting "medicinal" and "recreational" cannabis users and framing them as somehow different ignores the basics of the science we have learned - that cannabis is non-toxic to humans. This is the elephant in the room that every good little soldier afraid of censorship ignores - that there is no justifiable, science-based reason to restrict cannabis at all.

The problem between medicinal and recreational weed is an outgrowth of the fight to keep it illegal. It's a garden variety "divide and conquer" tactic. Medical cannabis is rarely taxed, but recreational cannabis - where it's been made legal - is very heavily taxed. Per usual, this fight is about money and how much of it any government can squeeze out in regulations and taxes, how much money law enforcement is willing to lose when their favorite targets for arrest are suddenly deemed to be legal, and what sort of political windfall can be had by the politicians involved.

"Young consumers, sensible medical conditions, the need to eradicate any possibility for a black market … these are valid reasons why total legalisation requires carefully tailored policies and guidelines."

What are "sensible medical conditions" exactly? Physicians in the U.S. have no medical training concerning cannabis - absolutely none. The only knowledge they have is what they've put together themselves, thanks to the insane prohibition of this miracle plant, so there is no consensus among physicians about medical conditions that will or won't respond to cannabis. Since the plant can't be patented there is little interest in developing cannabis "medicine" by Big Pharma, and despite the many studies done on the plant over the years - there is no agreement on which conditions it could help or cure. Point is, at our level of knowledge (severely limited over the last 80 years by prohibition), all conditions should be considered "sensible" and possibly helped by cannabis - especially when considering that it is 100% non-toxic.

There is a black market for every single controlled item/substance on earth. The very act of "...carefully tailored policies and guidelines." constructed around the production and distribution of an item/substance GUARANTEES a black market by limiting the availablility of that item/substance. Controls raise prices - and this is a problem cannabis consumers, whether medical or recreational (if you must make the distinction) fight against and suffer. The artificially inflated prices for cannabis literally CREATE a black market, and make it fully worthwhile to spend months in the wilderness of the U.S. tending plants on public lands and ignoring environmental concerns for the fat paycheck at harvest.

All dispensaries and all recreational outlets sell cannabis at full black-market prices. $300/oz +/- is what you expect to pay on the street for most of the last decade - why is it we're still paying this inflated amount? The ridiculous haze of lies, half-truths, political posturing, and especially entrenched prohibition-dependent industries - including but not limited to, bail bondsmen, Big Pharma, all law enforcement from local cops to D.E.A. and everything in between, alcohol lobby, blah blah blah - conspire to at the very least keep the prices up, which limits availablility, inflates prices and continues to nourish the black market.

These are basic economic principles that are derailed when red herrings of division (medical vs. recreational) are introduced into the argument. The division keeps the cannabis discussion superficial and untethered by common sense and science - just like law enforcement, prosecutors, for-profit prisons, Big Pharma and your local liquor store prefer.

Don't let the same liars who initially created this problem out of thin air for their benefit (politicians & law enforcement) define the path to correcting this crime against humanity called cannabis prohibition.

Crime Against Humanity - this is exactly what cannabis prohibition will be understood to have been once the honestly miraculous benefits of this little plant are fully known. Cancer cure. Diabetes, arthritis, depression cure.

Those alone are enough to show cannabis to be even more miraculous than penecillin.

Tell the truth.

05/12/2014

Swazi-X

Furthermore (won't this guy ever shut up?) :-) -

"Imagining medicinal users depending on the same dispensaries than [sic] those frequented by recreational smokers, and depending on the same quality, and same lack of medicinal insight on the different strains offered is simply nonsensical."

To imagine that recreational users do not get medicinal effect - relaxation, anxiety reduction, help with sleep, depression help, etc. - from "recreational" weed is truly nonsensical. Can you name a single cannabis strain that has no medicinal effect? Neither can I. Even with the sole intention of "getting blazed", recreational users get medicinal effect and quite often medicinal users enjoy their medicine. The distinction between the two is another one of the "divide and conquer" techniques that are constantly being used against any normalization of this plant by the massive and crazy-well-funded government and private organizations whose profits and income will suffer once cannabis is freely available. In the case of Big Pharma, the smart ones realize cannabis contains the mechanism able to wipe out billions of their profits permanently, and to put the power of health back into the hands of the citizens where it belongs.

"Considering medicinal cannabis users at the same level than [sic] potentially unlawful citizens is a (sort of) de facto but misplaced shortcut..."

All cannabis users (in the U.S.) - medicinal or otherwise - are guilty of committing a felony in the eyes of the Federal Government. The only exceptions are those still enrolled in the IND program that was ended in the late '80s. This tiny handful of patients (5?) still receive federally-grown cannabis for free, every month, and are the only U.S. citizens who use cannabis who are not committing a felony with every puff.

It's not an exercise in futility to make the distinction either - local law enforcement in the U.S. routinely calls in the feds to prosecute when they really want to take someone down. Once the feds are involved in a cannabis case, there is no allowance for "medicinal" cannabis to be used as a defense - or even mentioned in passing - in a federal courtroom. State laws are not considered. It's strictly a felony "drug" case which is typically pushed to insane extremes. For selling $35 worth of weed, an Oklahoma woman was convicted of a felony and sentenced to 10 years in prison under federal law. She served 2 full years before being released after much work, expense and public outcry.

The question is cannabis, the plant, not who uses it or why. The answer is that science has shown cannabis is not toxic to humans at any dose, is incapable of causing permanent damage, and has the ability to cure cancer, diabetes, depression, and arthritis, and possibly many other diseases. And "anecdotal" evidence - spanning 10,000+ years - shows cannabis to be the most beneficial plant we can possibly grow whether for food, fuel, fiber, health or any other reason.

It's only in the last 80 years or so that this plant was made illegal, by a documented racist and proven liar in conjunction with a self-serving group of plutocrats and their cronies to protect their profit margins from the environmentally golden alternative that is offered by our favorite lowly little weed.

05/12/2014

U.S. Hemp

The DEA and Feds do not separate so get over yourselves and work together period

06/12/2014



swazi-x

Sylent Jay,

Firstly, what exactly do you mean by "predispositions of a medical nature" if other than mental illness and allergy? Sounds like something a physician might say - vague enough to mean little, but important sounding enough to cause doubt. To which "predispositions" do you refer, if not allergy or mental illness? This is partially a challenge to your use of the phrase, but mostly I'm looking to increase my knowledge on the subject.

Mental illness - schizophrenia specifically, which is most often linked to cannabis use by prohibitionists - has remained consistent at around .5% of the population through the ebb and flow of increased and decreased popular cannabis use. There is no causality connecting cannabis with schizophrenia or any other mental illness - and for you to suggest there is causality shows you haven't fully researched the subject. It's a popular demonization ploy left over from our dark Reefer Madness days unsupported by current science.

Using allergy as a reason to separate "medicinal" from "recreational" cannabis is a thin premise as well. The number of people "allergic" to cannabis is very low and the allergic response does not include death - as does other much more common allergies, for example peanut allergies.

People allergic to cannabis exist, but should that tiny fraction define this issue for the vast majority of the rest of us? Using that logic, we should revisit the idea of selling peanuts in grocery stores since peanut allergies can cause death. Should peanuts only be sold by prescription due to the few who are allergic? Obviously no, but similar logic applies.

My point is that current science and over 10,000 years of human use proves cannabis to be non-toxic to the vast majority of people. Non-toxic is the key idea - and it's the most difficult for the politically correct to understand since it directly contradicts the lies we've been taught by government. The fact that this plant is actually, literally harmless - even the allergic suffer minor, temporary discomfort - is the most important issue in this conversation, but it's often avoided out of fear of angering those in power who are only now admitting that, well, maybe "marijuana" isn't quite as bad as we've been telling you.

The competing camps in this ridiculous charade of demonizing a plant are many, but the only one that matters is science. Politics, economics, social stigma, popular opinion - all exist, but are irrelevant to the basic problem of imprisoning a person for ingesting a plant.

Unless we demand our governments acknowledge the science of this plant and use it as the basis for change in cannabis law, we will continue to be lied to and manipulated by them. It's how we got here to begin with - liars and racists in U.S. government, and now in the private sector, all intent on preserving and increasing their own profits and financial benefit at the expense of everyone else.

This is why we can't mince words anymore in this fight. Telling the truth is not "perfect activism" nor is it unachievable - it is our best tool against the lies, equivocations, misdirection and spin that have been used against us for decades. The truth is all we've got - but it's enough if we actually use it.

10/12/2014


swazi-x

Sylent Jay,

Thanks to Sensi Seeds for allowing comments here, and for the site and all it's news and info. I get caught up in the ideas and don't watch my tone in my replies as closely as I should at times. I am a big fan of Sensi Seeds' products and have enjoyed many fine results from them.

My one point really, is that to separate medicinal from recreational cannabis separates supporters and dilutes the power of a single voice against cannabis prohibition. The separation of these camps is fundamental to the anti-cannabis zealots in order to keep the facts subordinate to popular opinion. Opinions can easily be manipulated, as has been happening for 80+ years of cannabis prohibition, but facts and science are much harder to spin and they are clearly on our side. The problem is not enough people know the facts.

The article above seemed to me to buy into some of the flawed rhetoric I've seen used against the idea of cannabis normalization - specifically that there is any real difference between medical and recreational users, and that cannabis can actually cause harm in humans. Neither is true, but that would be difficult to see by the way the article frames these ideas.

It's important to not separate medicinal users from recreational users because we don't have that luxury yet - the fight really is for the plant, not for any specific personal reasons for use. To allow the foes of cannabis this idea and to treat it as if it has any merit is a gift they don't deserve, and does nothing to help clear the fog created by our masters to conceal the depth of the lies they have fed us for decades.

Thanks again for the opportunity to comment, and thanks for the article.

10/12/2014

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