Two things we know about marijuana: millions of people in America smoke or ingest it every day and popular access to and usage of marijuana is only likely to grow over the next 20 years.
But of the hundreds of chemical components in cannabis, a.k.a. marijuana smoke, we know most about just 2 of them, DELTA 9 THC and CBD, and almost nothing about most of the others.
That’s pretty stupid, since with millions of American citizens regularly using cannabis, if there really is something dangerous about it, you’d think the Federal Government would want to know, so it could mount a proper toxicological defense against marijuana.
But the Federal stupor over marijuana goes way beyond not playing defense.
For literally a couple of millennia people have used cannabis to get high, but also as an effective folk medicine to treat pain, epilepsy, inflammation and depression. Think they might be on to something? Uncle Sam isn’t interested in finding out. In fact, the Federal criminalization of marijuana in 1937 and its refusal to allow research on pot’s medical potential has sacrificed thousands of lives that could have been made better by cannabis.
A big breakthough happened last year when a panel from the National Academy of Sciences completed a report on Marijuana, considering its use – on and off the books – for Pain Relief; Epilepsy; Cancer and PTSD. Their detailed findings are fascinating, but the NAS panel’s bottom-line recommendation was emphatic – we need unshackled research and a lot of it ASAP.
But even as November votes could make Michigan and North Dakota the 10th and 11th states to legalize so-called recreational marijuana, and Missouri and Utah could bring to 33 the number of states that permit marijuana for medical use, and even as research continues in Israel, Canada, Spain and other European countries, the Federal ban on research into the medical value of marijuana continues to enforce American ignorance.
My good friend Dr. Ben Daitz, one of New Mexico’s most humanitarian healthcare professionals and an award-winning documentarian, joins us to talk about his newest work, The Medicine in Marijuana, which I was proud to narrate. The video, which is headed for broadcast on New Mexico Public Television, lays out some of the known medical benefits of THC and CBD, two of the leading chemical compounds in marijuana, and the reason why so much about the drug is still unknown. That reason in a nutshell: because the U.S. Government does everything it can to ban real scientific inquiry and verifiable trials for marijuana. There is, Ben notes, a lot of research going on outside the United States. The film is terrific, and Ben is a genuinely expert investigator, filmmaker and communicator.