A hundred years ago, what Martin Lee describes, was common to all pharmaceuticals. Drugs were generally made from dried plants ( the Dutch word “Drug” derives from the word for “dry”) that a pharmacist ground into powder and extracted. Standardizing the growing conditions was difficult. Ultimately, standardization was a matter of isolating the active ingredient and making pure crystals of it, then weighing out the crystals milligram by milligram, to mix the finished medicine.
The problem with these cannabis extracts, is that very few people are isolating each pure active ingredient and studying what each ingredient does by itself.
Once we know what each ingredient does by itself, it’s possible to make sense of how mixing several ingredients back together, has a particular enhanced effect on a particular disease.
Shortcutting this scientific process results in unreliable products. The potency varies.
A number of people who have used cannabis to fight cancer, have later died of the cancer. I’m concerned that what may have killed many of these people, is that a minor change in the growing conditions of the cannabis plants, reduced the potency of whichever ingredients have the anti-cancer effect. The people kept dosing themselves with their oils or tinctures, but the oils and tinctures no longer contained enough cancer-fighting agents to defeat the cancer, and the people had no way of measuring this.
Cannabis research is very much a research field. Patients need the insights that a hundred years of pharmaceutical science has done for every other plant-derived medicine that’s presently in use, by identifying each of the active ingredients, and then weighing them out milligram by milligram, so that patients know exactly what they’re taking. The Government needs to do it’s part, by moving out of the way and allowing researchers to carry out studies…at present, DEA won’t allow studies to be done and this interferes with scientific research into what’s in cannabis and why the substances in cannabis work for people. But cannabis supporters must do their part as well. Hiding from the scientific method, and hurling bizarre conspiracy theories around to impugn the motives of science researchers, is making cannabis medicine less reliable than it needs to be, for the people whose lives most depend on it. We’ve known since 1974 that something in cannabis can stop cancers from growing. Don’t we deserve to know why this works?