Friday 9 December 2016
This is a common sentiment, even in the Cannabis industry. When patients run out of their mail-order only medicine, it is indeed an emergency. In my opinion, those who don't see this, do not truly see Cannabis as medicine.
When I was on antidepressants many many years ago, I used to run out sometimes. Money hindered access to those as it does for many, and for all intents and purposes, I was addicted to them. Prozac, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Cymbalta ... all highly addictive. I remember once making my way to the pharmacy for help. The brain zaps were extreme that day, zapping me every few moments, my brain screaming for those meds. The pharmacist took pity on me and gave me enough to get me by. I felt such intense gratitude that day, and within about half an hour of taking one caplet, the zaps subsided.
There is no pharmacist or dispensing site for emergency supplies of Cannabis in Canada though. If you are in the ACMPR and you order incorrectly, you'll be out of your meds and expected to be fine with that. You'll be told to plan better next month. Cannabis emergencies happen daily in Canada. People who say they don't exist likely don't use Cannabis as medicine yet.
You see, when you have an untreated or an under-treated illness and you finally find a medicine to treat it, you'll do almost anything to maintain access. I know patients who are currently cancelling cruises and trips South because the U.S. doesn't respect this program or this medicine. They refuse to live without it now. For over fifteen years I did this. I bought from whomever I could buy from, putting my own safety, freedom and health at risk. But it was worth it to turn off the negative chatter in my brain. I broke the law for many years just to feel human.
Right now in Canada, running out of Cannabis is an emergency for many patients for one major reason: to access it in between mail-orders, you have to step into your criminal skin and buy it illegally. A Cannabis emergency means the patients turn into criminals just to ease their pain, depression, or the bazillion other things Cannabis is prescribed for.
Medical Cannabis production is now a highly restricted, highly regulated industry that is run by pharmaceutical companies. Many have stocks being traded on the stock market. Yet we can't buy this medicine in storefronts. When you really look at this mail-order process in its full functionality, you see very clearly that the entire program is a Cannabis emergency in itself.
Legalize safe medicine now.
Sunday 4 December 2016
Over the past few years, Canadian Veterans have learned a lot about pot. Mostly from one another, or other grassroots-minded friends or relatives. Over the past year, so many Veterans have been educated on, experienced, and realized the benefits of Cannabis that the spike in use has alerted the officials. Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr was shocked to see the math. I guess he hasn't heard: the Veterans want plants not pills.
I'd love to know how long it took them to decide to cap coverage to a measly 3 grams per day maxed at $8.50 per gram. That's $6.50 less per gram than what VA was usually paying prior to this. And, some producers have assured their Veteran patients that they can remain using the same trusted strains, as they'll gladly absorb the difference. Wow. That's some profit margin. That's like quadruple the profit margin that's in a Hyundai Accent for frig's sake! But you must understand, they're supplying us with medicine that none of us can be trusted to grow safely ourselves. Oh the smoke-screen is thick. Must be all those Health Canada approved pesticides left in the bud! That is, if you can keep it lit! But I digress. I want to know how long it took them to cap coverage when people have been dying from Opioid deaths in every province for years now, and no one is capping coverage for the reverse-engineered heroin!!
I demand that Kent Hehr do the math again, this time including all of the variables, carrying all of the 1's. The average Veteran has been prescribed dozens of pharmaceuticals, all covered by VA. Many of those meds are to treat the side effects of the first ones. Many disrupt bodily processes. Many disrupt peace of mind, the one thing they're supposed to treat. But that's the thing isn't it? As yet, we don't have any pharmaceuticals for which the sole purpose and treatment is PTSD. That's how complex it is, even the white-coats haven't figured out how to treat it. And they're pissed that this plant does. They're also pissed that patients everywhere are ripping up scripts and lighting up doobs. Let's be clear, Cannabis is replacing Pharmaceuticals. Maybe we need to check stock portfolios of those making the rules here. What is it to anyone what a patient uses to ease his or her illness?
This plant helps all of the body's processes because each of us has a naturally occurring receptor system that accepts its compounds. This system also accepts hormone-like compounds made within our bodies, but shaped like cannabinoids. I dare say, anthropologically speaking, we're meant to use this plant. And anthropologically speaking, we are not meant to take pills made in petrie dishes in a lab! Yet we're allowing them to make it so. We're allowing them to remove our right to use what we believe works, because of financial disparity? Not good enough. I and millions like me still believe that profit should have no place in healthcare or medicine.
Whichever stamp the VA worker uses: APPROVED or DENIED, are they really able to separate themselves from the human who's life they've affected? Do they hear the Veterans that say,
"I can't believe the emotion I feel now, or the sleep that I get now, or the dreams that no longer disrupt my days now that I'm using this plant." Can our Honourable Minister Hehr hear these words?
A few weeks ago we once again, in countrywide accordance, vowed to never forget. It seems we have some poor memories in Parliament. You're forgetting every time you ignore another Veteran's plea for coverage of Cannabinoids. You're forgetting every time you side with capitalism instead of with our heroes. You're forgetting every single day that you allow the Legalization task force to drag their feet. Remembering what our Veterans have done for us, is legalizing and encouraging gardens for heroes, and covering all the costs.
Thursday 1 December 2016
I love the program Marketplace, and the host Erica Johnson and I are tight. Well not really, but we did have a nice email interaction last year regarding a local restaurant who takes tips from servers for breakage. For the most part, Marketplace gives voice to the average Canadian citizen, and outs the greedy corporate capitalist time and time again.
However, in their most recent episode titled "Superweed: What's in Today's Marijuana?", I can't help but feel disheartened. Like I felt at the end of LOST. Like they just rushed it all in, using over-simplifications to push an already shaky and often-countered opinion.
They may surprise me though. I mean, if I know there are other dangerous substances being pushed on our youth, then Marketplace must know this too! Maybe next week they'll have one titled:
"SuperBooze: What's in Today's Alcohol?".
We want to discuss recreational substances and the growing mind. I'm game! My niece is 13 and I fear for her and her peers. Do you have any idea how much research and engineering goes into making booze taste like fruit and candy in order to disguise the taste of the ethanol? Some youth have no idea what Passion Fruit tastes like until they take a sip of a Passion Fruit cooler! Peach, Chocolate, Green Apple, Pear, Pineapple-Mandarin-Orange too! Are we sure we're looking out for the kids? Or are we creating these flavours WITH the kids in mind? Yet no one is worried that the taste of the ethanol is disguised?!
Instead, we're worried that today's Cannabis is super weed compared to what was ingested at Woodstock in 1969. Speaking of booze, the act of drinking is a norm while smoking is not. More kids will drink ethanol than will smoke Cannabis! The potential for abuse is greater because Alcohol tastes good and has a delayed onset meaning by the time your little darling is drunk, he or she has drank too much. Interestingly enough, there is no lethal dose of Cannabis because it does not act on the central nervous system the way Alcohol does. Which is more dangerous? The one that can kill you or the other one?
I also look forward to another episode titled:
"SuperBenzos: What's in Today's Pediatric Meds?".
Remember Liam McKnight? The CBC has reported on his success with medicinal Cannabis many times. Well before Liam found Cannabis Oil, he'd already tried ten different Benzodiazapenes. Watch this video to see Liam's journey to reclaiming his health with the help of his family. See him shaking in that one scene? He's withdrawing from Benzos. And we're worried about the Cannabis on the streets? Benzodiazapenes and Neuroleptics are heavily prescribed pharmaceuticals that are all well known to be addictive. The process to wean off of meds like this is dangerous, time consuming, and hellish to experience. In fact, the risk of death from gran mal seizures during withdrawal is greater with Benzos than it is with Alcohol. And the white coats are giving these out like they contain hope!!
And still another one I'd love to watch:
"SuperOpioids: What's in Today's Pediatric Pain Killers?".
In 1969, when a child had their adenoids and tonsils removed, they got a popsicle and an aspirin. Yet a friend told me of an 8 year old relative who was just given a script for liquid morphine for that very same routine procedure. Cherry flavoured no doubt! Why? Has our pain tolerance lessened in the past 50 years? Have procedures become more painful?
What's my point? My point is, if we're going to be real about the dangers of recreational Cannabis then we have to also be real about all of the other clear and present dangers to the growing mind! There are young medicinal users illegally self medicating their depression, anxiety, adhd, stutters, and pain with this plant. They are replacing conventional medications that they've already tried, but found no therapeutic effects from. I and aunts, parents, and grandparents the country over are tired of the over-drugging of our youth. It's time to be real. Study all of these substances regardless of profits made. Our youth are worth more than this rhetoric.