A heart-warming story in the Daily Mail today documents the full miraculous recovery of a young boy who had brain cancer, after his father secretly fed him THC active cannabis oil. Coverage of these stories are becoming much more common in the UK, so maybe a real debate on legalization or decriminalization of cannabis is starting to emerge.
The medical benefits of the marijuana plant are numerous and in respect to cancer have been thoroughly documented. Popular on the internet is the documentary Run From The Cure (see below) that follows the story of Rick Simpson, who has been on the run from Canadian authorities for helping to cure people’s cancer with his THC active “hemp oil”; (not to be confused with the non-active variety in the health store).
Although people may be quick to dismiss a quirky old guy with a cult internet following, who makes several unverified claims, a 2007 Harvard study demonstrated that THC (the psychoactive and illegal part of weed) cuts tumor growth in lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread. Similar results have been found with Giloma (brain/spine tumors) and skin cancers using topical application of THC oil.
Unfortunately there are a number of roadblocks that prevent pot being made legal in the UK and across the world. The main one is money.
Some of the biggest financial lobbyists against the legalization of cannabis are none other than the tobacco and alcohol industry. Why? Because if pot was legal, people might start preferring it, and thus cigarette and alcohol profits would drop. In the same way, law enforcement and vested interests in the “drug war” oppose legalization because it puts them out of a job. Then there are ideologically blind politicians who take an ignorant hard line approach to drugs to secure votes from ignorant members of the public.
We can see some of the vested interests at work overseas during the recent Proposition 19 in California. If this bill had passed marijuana would have been fully legalized in the US state, however partly thanks to the alcohol industry and law enforcement contributions, that was not the case.
As reported by the Marijuana Policy Project:
“Unless the beer distributors in California have suddenly developed a philosophical opposition to the use of intoxicating substances, the motivation behind this contribution is clear…Plain and simple, the alcohol industry is trying to kill the competition. They know that marijuana is less addictive, less toxic and less likely to be associated with violent behavior than alcohol. So they don’t want adults to have the option of using marijuana legally instead of alcohol. Their mission is to drive people to drink.”
There is not one documented case of anybody dying from a direct result of marijuana. Hundreds of thousands of people die around the world each year from smoking and drinking related health problems. There is a moral hypocrisy there, especially when cannabis does have medical benefits where booze and smokes don’t.
The second money making roadblock that prevents marijuana being legalized are the big pharmaceutical companies. They make most of their money by creating synthetic/processed pills that they can patent. Pot is a plant, thus if it was legal anyone could grow it for free. There’s no financial incentive for the drug companies, in fact their profits would drop because people would start taking weed for pain rather than popping pills.
In the UK, biotech firm GW Pharmaceuticals has been studying a work around. They have development a cannabis based medicine spray called ‘Sativex’ that they have patented and can now legally sell as a prescription drug.
This might seem like a step in the right direction, but what this actually does is put the rights of the individual below those of the corporation.
GW has over 90,000 medical cannabis plants in the UK. If a cancer patient was caught with 90,000 weed plants, they’d be off to die in jail. And while the big suits line their pockets with million pound deals, regular citizens are still going to jail for as little as growing their own supply.
Weed is now effectively legal for patients, but the catch is that you need to take an expensive synthetic spray substance, rather than the pure all natural plant grown from mother earth.
The story of the young boy recovering from cancer is heart-warming, but technically if the father was caught he could have gone to jail.
If a rich corporation prescribed the drug in what is likely a less effective form, they’d have made a huge chunk of cash.
We still have a long way to go!
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