“Yes, we can!” “Hope and change!” The bumper-sticker mantras that inundated America back in 2008 brought out record numbers of young and minority voters. As it is today, the country was tired of the status quo and ripe for a different direction. During the campaign, Americans vociferously announced their priorities in polls and surveys.
The results: Complaints and concerns varied greatly, but among them, one unifying issue stood out as consistent across party, state, ideological, and socioeconomic lines: People were ready for cannabis reform.
United We Stand
Whether for adult discretionary (“recreational”), medical, or industrial purposes, the people made it clear in 2008 that cannabis law reform was a serious part of their agenda. So, the new president claimed to add it to his own. Of course, he did so only after joking about “who must be answering these online surveys”. He claimed general support for things like access to effective medicine for people acting within state laws, then explicitly placed further advancement on the legalization issue—one of the easiest things to have gotten traction on, since about half the states had already made their wishes known—at the bottom of his to-do list. But at least, it was on there!
His statements on this among many other issues showed a dedication to the will of the people that was far from steadfast. However, those platitudes were doubtless good enough to increase his popularity among key demographics, particularly youth and minority voters.
Fast-forward eight years and two terms. The president has put no effort into pushing cannabis reform through, as he alluded to early in his campaign. He has promised not to use federal funds to prosecute medical cannabis patients who comply with state laws. Good. But as we’ve seen, he hasn’t exactly cared when dispensaries get raided anyway. Nor has he done anything to address the federal position on cannabis. “There’s no question that Obama’s the worst president on medical marijuana,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, in 2012. “He’s gone from first to worst.”
Just Do It
He has sternly warned us: “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone. And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward” without Congress. With a stroke of that famous pen, he could do something extraordinarily powerful for the suffering people and reeling, punch-drunk economy of the United States: remove cannabis from the DEA list of controlled substances, allowing it to be regulated and taxed—and openly collected and lovingly revered in fancy cellars—just like wine. Or, with one quick call on the Obamaphone, he could instruct the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to do it. In fact, she could do it tomorrow with no requirement to ask permission.
Alternatively, either of them could take the more wishy-washy kind of mealy-mouthed, namby-pamby politician path down the middle and move it down to Schedule III or IV. They could still claim it’s evil and scary, but now they’ve graciously decided to make it much more easily researched and developed into mainstream medicine to save more lives. These two individuals, the POTUS and Secretary of HHS, have the power to do the right thing; yet they refuse to do it.
Bipartisan Effort To Keep People Sick?
Closing out his final State of the Union address, the president has challenged the United States to become the country that cures cancer once and for all. It is tragically ironic, if not plainly sardonic, that he would claim dedication to this end, considering that his and prior administrations from the “other side of the aisle” have either ignored or actively suppressed—for at least four decades—the hard evidence that cannabis is a potential cure for the disease that kills one of every three Americans. Drug warriors have known since 1974 that THC kills cancer cells, yet have suppressed that knowledge, even trying to scrub LIBRARIES clean of the data. This is not the kind of “bipartisan effort” the country needs, thanks.
Cannabis is obviously not a panacea for every type of cancer, every single time, but evidence does exist that it reduces and eliminates some cancers in some cases. That’s more than enough to justify more extensive research. Radiation therapy often has a depressingly low success rate, as well as the alarming potential to cause different types of cancer altogether. And chemotherapy has an annoying tendency to kill the patient, making side effects of cannabis medication—such as dry mouth, an enhanced appetite, and relaxation—seem somewhat less horrifying by comparison. If most cancer patients in this country die of chemotherapy, maybe we could give something else a try?
Even if cannabis were not the wonder drug it is showing itself to be, it nevertheless is a welcome start down a whole new avenue of cancer treatment that deserves to be explored further, and accessed more easily by doctors and patients, than its inhumane classification as a “Schedule I narcotic” allows. Schedule I is supposed to be for drugs of abuse with no medical application. If this is true, then how can it be that the federal government holds patents on cannabis specifically for its medical use? How can the government be shipping 300 pre-rolled joints of federally grown medical cannabis monthly to (too few) needy patients at taxpayer expense?
Humans have been consuming cannabis medicinally for thousands of years. We should at the very least have a spirit of scientific curiosity about it; it would be ridiculous to assume that something used for so long in so many cultures is devoid of therapeutic value. Yet that is exactly what those responsible for the Schedule I status of cannabis maintain.
Obviously, smoking is not an ideal way of consuming cancer medicine or anything else. Thankfully, however, there is no evidence that cannabis has ever caused a case of cancer; on the contrary, its effect in that regard appears to be preventive and curative. Plus, there are plenty of less toxic options for consumption of the herb. From vaporization to extracts and oils, cannabis can be processed in a number of creative ways.
Edibles, or “medibles”, are an excellent example. By infusing cannabis into food, as one can easily do with a MagicalButter® machine, one can consume the THC, CBD, and the complete profile of other cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis without worrying about any adverse health effects of smoking. (In fact, the most dangerous and addictive ingredient in those classic “pot brownies” is ordinary sugar.) The MagicalButter Botanical Extractor™ is the first countertop appliance designed specifically for extracting the phytonutrients from cannabis and infusing them into foods like butter, alcohol, or cooking oil, at the touch of a button. The full spectrum of cannabinoids in natural, whole cannabis have been shown to enhance one another’s actions, producing an “entourage effect” that is medically superior to single-cannabinoid pharmaceutical drugs.
So, we have the potential to cure cancer once and for all, and lofty rhetoric out of Washington has challenged our best and brightest to “find” that cure. But one promising route has already been found. Politicians and bureaucrats need to quit the foot-dragging and pontificating and acknowledge cannabis on a federal level before we can explore much further. Clinical trials are desperately needed to nail down which types of cannabis are effective for which cancers in which patients. To continue overlooking this option for treatment would not only set back a cure by years, if not decades, but it would do so at the cost of human lives—and indeed is doing so by the day. As long as the federal government continues the blacklisting of cancer-related cannabis research and results, the campaign to research and fight cancer amounts to little more than a costly charade.
Can cannabis kill cancer cells? Yes, it can. Can we as a nation finally find the cure for cancer?
Maybe we already have.
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