Ending the War on Cannabis
The U.S. federal government ruled again in 2017 that cannabis—an adaptogenic herb like ashwaganda— has no medicinal value and is as highly addictive as heroin. Why would the U.S. Attorney General and FDA say that, when cannabis is not addictive, and has dozens of proven medicinal applications? Here's an incomplete list of some of the better known ones.
Cannabis components and medicinal uses
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): analgesic painkiller, antioxidant, and psychoactive stress modulator. Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA): anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and anti-cancer (retards proliferation of malignant cells). Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA): anti-inflammatory. Cannabidiol (CBD): anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic (medical potential expands when combined in the proper ratio with THC). Cannabinol (CBN): sedative. Cannabigerol (CBG): anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, bone growth stimulator. Cannabichromeme (CBC): analgesic pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, bone growth stimulator. Tetrahydrocannabiverin (THCV): anti-anxiety, panic attack reducer, bone growth stimulator, appetite suppressant. Cannabidivarin (CBDV): anti-seizure. In addition to the known medicinal uses of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, researchers have identified health benefits in dozens of terpenes found in different strains of cannabis. Terpenes are fragrant oils found broadly in herbs, fruits and plants. Terpenes have a broad range of medicinal effects, including anti-septic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, pain relieving, sleep-inducing, anti-spasmodic, mood balancing, stress reducing, bronchodilating, and gastric reflux suppressing.
The FDA is stalling
Since I live in California, one of the 29 states in the Union that have legalized cannabis, I'm quite well aware that cannabis is both medicinal and non-addictive. I'm also aware that the federal government is stalling the inevitable: changing cannabis' status from Schedule 1 (high potential for abuse and no accepted medical uses) to Schedule 4: low potential for abuse and currently accepted medical uses.
Why the delay from the Feds to legalize cannabis? Obviously, lobbying and politics funded by Big Pharma play a key role. The medicinal effects of cannabis cross into some of the most lucrative arms of the pharmaceutical industry, which creates hundreds of billions of dollars in annual revenue selling anti-seizure, chemotherapy, anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, pain killing, antacid and anti-microbial drugs. Because cannabis is a bush that grows naturally in a wide variety of climates and geographies around the planet, it cannot be patented. And because it cannot be patented, it poses a dire threat to the power and money of the pharmaceutical industry. Whereas top-selling brands of pharma drugs like the chemotherapy drug Revlimid, narcotic painkiller OxyContin, and anti-inflammatory drug Humira each recently raked in over $6 billion in sales in a single year, cannabis is cheap. The vast majority of people can afford to buy cannabis out-of-pocket. And so cannabis is also a threat to the health insurance industry which has insured members essentially prepay for pharma drugs, which it then purports to help pay for. Cannabis is also more effective than these top selling pharma drugs for doing what they purport to do—stop tumor growth, reduce chronic pain (for surgery by all means take a narcotic painkiller, but you have only 5 days before you risk addiction), and reduce inflammation—with no toxic side-effects.
Prescription narcotic painkillers are legal, but cannabis is illegal.
How backwards is it that, until recently, the FDA classified Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet as Schedule 3 drugs, less addictive than heroin, which isn't addictive at all. The truth about opioid painkillers was revealed in real time as the opioid painkiller epidemic rolled out across America. Turns out patients can become addicted in as little as 5 days. That makes prescription narcotic painkillers as addictive and dangerous as heroin, with the same high risk of accidental overdose. Yet these are all legal drugs, and cannabis, according to the feds, is not. How disturbing is it that the FDA and Attorney General stubbornly insist against all reason that cannabis is more dangerous and less useful than the deadly OxyContin, more dangerous and less medically useful than toxic chemotherapy (revealed in a recent meta-study to have a shockingly low efficacy rate of only 2.1%), and more dangerous and less medically useful than the notorious Humira, currently tangled in a class action lawsuit for causing cancer, lymphoma, nerve damage and infections in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and other inflammatory autoimmune disorders, who were trusting enough to take it.
Can the FDA be sued in a class action suit?
Perhaps that's the question we're left with. Change the classification of cannabis, recognize it's medicinal values and safety, and look what happens. The war on cannabis ends, fewer people are imprisoned, the need for expensive pharma drugs that toxify liver, kidneys and colon is reduced, and the cost of health care goes down. And people's access increases to one of the most remarkable and even miraculous healing herbs on this planet. That all sounds good, right? Right. And pharma stocks will crash. But in the bigger picture, if cannabis is legal, stocks in cannabis companies could replace what was lost in pharma stocks. Money will change hands, but that needs to happen.
The cannabis community of growers, doctors and patients might want to take some tips from the folks over at the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), who recently sued the FDA over its equally fake classification of mercury amalgam dental fillings as" safe" when they clearly are not. The heavy metal mercury is a potent neurotoxin, and it makes a poor dental material because it’s a liquid at room temperature, and expands, melts and vaporizes easily in heat. Which means it causes fractures in teeth, leaves gaps that attract recurrent decay, and leaches into the mouth and can be swallowed and breathed. The IAOMT lost their suit after several years, but during that time media coverage of the issue reached hundreds of millions of Americans, increasing their awareness of incompetency and corruption over at the FDA. I should think folks at the IAOMT would have plenty of tips about how to make the next class action lawsuit against the FDA more effective.