For those who believe in marijuana and cannabis freedom, the future has never been brighter. Right now there is an awakening to the benefits of cannabis for medicinal purposes, specifically something called CBD oil. But is the new CBD craze being manipulated by media and politicians? If it weren't we wouldn't need to do a show about it.
The first step toward truth is to be informed.
CBD Oil… you've probably heard of it by now. Thanks to CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and his special report "Weed," millions are now aware of the cannabinoid rich oil being used to help children in Colorado with epilepsy. Especially this one little girl Charlotte Figi after whom the Charlotte's Web strain of cannabis has been named.
I wanted to learn what CBD oil and the push behind it is all about so I traveled to Denver, Colorado. Home to legalized marijuana and the Stanley brothers, the family behind the charlotte's web strain of cannabis oil.
The Stanley's were the ones to prove in Charlotte Figi's case that CBD rich cannabis oil can prevent seizures in children.
"We have this strain that we were going to use for cancer patients because studies have shown that CBD helps stop the metastasizing of cancer. We went ahead and tried it and after she (Charlotte Figi) had it a week she went a week seizure free," says Jesse Stanley.
Charlotte Figi's life was transformed by CBD oil. Now, to understand what is unique about CBD oil, you have to understand what a cannabinoid is.
In marijuana there are multiple cannabinoids including THC, CBD, CBN, CBA, THCA, THCB and over 160 other compounds in the plant including terpenes from the plant that create the most effective medicine.
To be clear, in order to get a high from cannabis you need a high level of one cannabinoid, THC. Again, just one particular cannabinoid. In the Stanley's case they began growing cannabis with lower THC and higher CBD.
"CBD is known to be a neuro-protectant, it is also one of the few things that causes neuro-genesis. So its not just seizures that this helps in epileptics, it is auto-immune disorders whether that's cancer, crohn's, lupus, there are so many different types of things" says Stanley.
Today, in the stunningly short time since Charlotte Figi's story became famous, the Stanley's have thousands of patients on a waiting list for their CBD oil. In fact there are thousands of families who have already traveled to Colorado for this CBD oil and thousands more on the way. They are called cannabis refugees.
All of that has led to other states wanting to legalize CBD oil. The governor of Utah signed a CBD bill into law legalizing possession of the oil. A bill in Alabama has passed the legislature and is awaiting the governor's signature. Lawmakers in Kentucky, Florida, South Carolina, Wisconsin and other states have or will consider CBD bills this year.
"We're at 20 states right now, so you already have twenty laws on the books that the people wanted or the people's representatives wanted" says Mark Slaugh of iComply, a Denver based company which is fighting to keep small growers compliant with state regulation on marijuana. There are eight strict guidelines that must be followed. Mark says states are jumping on board with CBD but not with marijuana.
"I think what most politicians don't realize when they start trying to play where the puck was and not where the puck is going to be is that regulating just one compound greatly underserves most of the patients who really need this medicine. So along the lines of medical efficacy it isn't reasonable" says Slaugh.
The reality that Mark addresses is how media and politicians are jumping on the CBD train because it doesn't get you high, but they are ignoring some very important medical facts about cannabinoids.
I talked with Shona Bonda about this very issue.
"I was diagnosed with crohn's disease. In my first year I had my first bowl resection and i went downhill after that. My immune system recognized that there was something wrong and it essentially attacked itself." "You're in pain constantly and you can't think straight. It's hard to go through your day to day life when all you can do is think about pain. It is a terrible disease" says Bonda.
Shona's condition was so bad that her teeth literally became soft and the roof of her mouth had turned black. She couldn't stand and says she parented her children from the couch. Described a like having a stomach flu every day for years, despite all the medications and doctors, Shona was rotting from the inside out.
Her break came when she saw the YouTube documentary "Run From The Cure" by Rick Simpson, which explained how to extract CBD and THC oil from marijuana. Shona had started smoking marijuana just to be able to function but she wasn't getting better. Shona's husband at the time wanted to get her a vaporizer, but that vaporizer became the road to so much more.
"He went and got me a very old fashioned vaporizer from the 1970's. I was reading a book and I pinched off the tube for way too long and oil started forming on the dome. So he went and got a rubber spatula and I started scraping off the oil three times a day and I started putting whatever I could get into a gel cap. Within three days I didn't need my cane anymore to walk and I started healing quite rapidly. So rapidly, that I started to write in a journal," says Bonda.
That journal would become the book "Live Free or Die," Shona's mantra for her own life and the lives of the people she continues to educate across the country on the benefits of cannabis oil.
But politicians and media are making CBD oil into the good kind of cannabis while arguing that THC is the bad kind of cannabis. While that is not how any of this works, that is the case that is subtly being made.
As that happens, two forces will likely come into play. One, in order to push the market away from small sellers and harvesters of CBD oil, states and the feds will likely create a regulatory climate that is so difficult to manage, they will, through cronyism force CBD oil into the hands of a few, which in turn limits supply and forces the price to rise considerably.
Two, big pharmaceutical companies will being putting out a "safe", "legitimate" form of CBD oil. That is already starting to happen.
"GWB pharmaceuticals out of Great Britain has been producing Evaz which is a 50/50 blend of CBD and THC. They have no real research behind whether or not 50/50 is even the right ratio and they certainly don't include the other terpenes and other chemical compounds from the cannabis plant. So we could see the bone tossed to the pharmaceutical dog, it's certainly a possibility but i think that if more people would take a stand for de-scheduling marijuana, regulating it in a manner similar to alcohol is really the best model to move forward with" says Mark Slaugh.
What you need to know, is where the U.S. government actually stands on this issue. Cannabis, marijuana, is today still a Schedule 1 Drug. That means, according to our government it has no medicinal use and has a high potential for abuse. Does our government really believe that? No. In 1999, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services filed for a patent for the use of cannabinoids for medicinal purposes.
Also in 1999, HHS filed for a second patent, specifically for cannabis oil for the treatment of disease. That's right, our government through the taxpayer funded Department of Health and Human Services holds two patents on cannabinoids and cannabis oil to treat certain diseases like Alzheimer's and auto-immune diseases like Crohn's.
Meanwhile, our government through taxpayer funded agencies like the Department of Justice pursue, arrest and in prison Americans who would attempt to access or use cannabis oil to heal their own bodies. Because in public they claim cannabis oil is not medicine and in private they seek to own the rights to that medicine.
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