APR 5, 2014 – Americans For Safe Access, together with medical marijuana patients and activists, cannabis industry representatives, and experts kicked off the 2014 National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference in Washington, D.C. today, and JTMP attended. From the feel of the crowd and the energy, medical cannabis advocacy may have some problems and issues to work out, but I can tell you that the movement has a tremendous amount of energy and momentum right now. Things are happening fast, and there was a lot of information to take in just the first day. There were people from Tennessee, California, South Carolina, everywhere. There were panels and meetings, and there will be a citizen lobbying day on Capitol Hill on Monday to cap it all off. [Click Read More for rest of blog…]
The conference kicked off with an fascinating history of botanical medicines, which stretches back thousands of years. Yes, cannabis is simply a botanical medicine, and humans have been using plants as medicines throughout history. Starting with the Chinese boiling tea leaves, all the way to today's modern cannabis laboratories extracting the various cannabinoids in cannabis such as CBD. The panel also spoke about the various hurdles faced such as battling federal agencies regulating and even banning herbal supplements and botanical medicines. That was followed by a panel discussing the future of regulation and safety, such as medical marijuana testing and labeling; as well as the various hurdles the medical cannabis industry faces in delivering a quality product to the patient, and what patients can face and expect.
Prescription for medical cannabis from 1917:
After lunch there was a panel featuring people from various states that have medical marijuana, and they talked about the current state of the program where they reside. Let me tell you New Jersey has the craziest rules right now, and Governor Christie refuses to listen to the citizens and fix and expand the state's medical marijuana. He said, "I am done with medical marijuana." That's democracy? Close the door to any further legislation? One of the interesting parts was the person from Colorado discussing how medical marijuana patients in the state were worried the legality of recreational marijuana in their state would jeopardize their access to their medicine. luckily the are not taxed and get a discount, and so far everything seems to be going okay there. DC, which currently has a functioning medical marijuana program, has a ballot initiative this November to legalize marijuana, and DC patients are worried they might lose their medicine. Let's hope we can work it all out.
Then there as a panel discussing one of the main isolated cannabinoids that has shown tremendous promise in fighting a myriad of health issues, CBD; and the myths and misinformation surrounding it. For one, even though THC is way more psychoactive and the one hippies love, one expert was saying CBD does have some psychoactive properties; although the effects are very negligible and vastly different from THC. I was misinformed on that one I have to admit. The other myth around CBD is that it is not on Schedule 1; it is. There is also not a lot of study on the long term effects of using CBD only, rather than say a flower where you would ingest all the over 80 cannabinoids found in cannabis. CBD-only bills have passed in Alabama and Utah, and some fear a rush to CBD-only will jeopardize the whole field of patients who need the other cannabinoids or need the synergistic and dialectical effect of some or all the 6 main cannabinoids isolated. Many think that all 80 cannabinoids working together makes it more effective as a medicine, and you can't separate them.
I walked away the first day with the impression that the medical marijuana advocacy field has a tremendous amount of people with amazing energy and dedication working on the issue from many angles. From activists and legal experts helping with legislation, entrepreneurs in the medical cannabis industry, to organizations and individuals working to establish industry standards and regulations, and especially the patients who are denied their medicines, are medicine refugees, and have to stand in line and talk at a microphone pleading with their state legislators demanding their medical cannabis rights. JTMP will be covering this event all weekend, and we took video all day and I will be posting the videos on our JTMP YouTube Channel soon. For now, check out some pics on our JTMP Facebook Page.