Us versus them- the divisiveness between CBD only supporters and whole plant advocates and patients and physicians.
There is this divisiveness within the cannabis community. CBD vs THC and then a small population of us in the middle who want one but advocate for all. Supporters of legislation that promotes a CBD only mentality- typically defined legally as less than .3% THC- assert that if their legislation saves one life it was worthwhile. They also like to claim that they are introducing these efforts in states that would “never” pass full access legislation. But there are deficits in these proposals that cannot be overlooked or skimmed over. Looking, for example, at states that are trying to pass CBD only laws but NO in state cultivation. Essentially they are saying we are urging you to commit a federal crime by trafficking this schedule 1 substance over state lines, but we wont prosecute you for giving it to your child once you are here. However if you get caught somewhere between that state and our state, umm, too bad. How does anyone look at that and consider it reasonable to create a law that STILL makes parents become criminals to save their children? Or adult patients criminals to save themselves? And while I cannot argue with the idea that saving even one life is great work, I assert that it is not enough. I could not hold my child in my arms at night knowing she was saved and feel good about that if I have to consider the children who are dying because I supported something that road blocks the efforts of another parent or patient to save their child or themselves because they need something different. And that’s where we all need to get on board about cannabinoids. CBD, CBG, THC,CBN, THCA, CBDA, the list goes on and on-and they are all different. Not better. Not worse. Just different. We have to stop trying to make one a hero and one a scapegoat and make them all accessible to everyone who needs them.
As if it’s not enough that there is this infighting within the industry, the us vs them mentality in the medical community runs rampant as well. Patients are urging doctors to acknowledge this treatment as a legitimate treatment for a variety of conditions. Doctors are skeptical, conservative, citing first do no harm and they are unsure of the harm cannabis could inflict. They routinely spout that we lack studies and knowledge about the long term effects of cannabis and many truly feel that they cannot in good conscience recommend something that might hurt the patient. However giving them all of the benefit of the doubt that they truly feel that way and are not just still buying into decades of manipulation and lies, does not stop them from doing exactly that with experimental treatments (seriously-check NIH for how many studies there are on experimental treatments for seizures. Treatments that we don’t know all of the facts about or long term consequences) and harmful, addictive pharmaceuticals that also have NO long term studies on their effects in children. We recently consulted for a VNS device for my daughter. It is not FDA approved for children under 12. When I asked the surgeon about that she said that is because it is too expensive to do the studies it would take for approval, and brushed it off as though that approval means nothing. If that is the case then why we are holding cannabis to a “higher” (pun totally intended) standard than our pharmaceuticals? I can open my medicine cabinet right now and read off labels and side effects that would curl your toes from medications that aren’t approved for my daughter at her age but that have been prescribed to her anyway. And no one stopped to consider first do no harm then, because you know what’s harmful? Seizures.The seizures that my daughter endures daily. The ones that steal her energy and have robbed her of a childhood and that I fear will take her life. That is what’s harmful. When I look at these bottles upon bottles of pills-both prescribed and over the counter- it makes bile rise in my throat to think that there deaths contributed to every single one of them. Even Tylenol can kill you. You know what has never killed anyone? Cannabis. So who is doing harm now by pushing these drugs down my child’s throat and risking her life by taking them, but refusing to endorse treating her with a plant even when every single chemically laden pill they can think of has failed her?
Patients are advocating for themselves. They are standing up to both doctors and politicians and demanding more. And feather are being ruffled. No one in either of those sectors likes to be challenged and they like control. I think the primary argument I’ve heard when reading between the lines on physician opposition is that recommending cannabis puts control of the patients treatment in the patients hands under all of the current regulatory models. But I have learned more in our 5 year journey battling this monster we call epilepsy from parents than I ever have from any doctor. When Haley’s doctor declared her out of pharmaceutical options I researched and found 1 drug that we hadn’t tried. And we are trying it now. And she is doing well on it. But it was up to me to find that information and present it to my doctor. They may not want to admit that we have patient directed care now, but I am willing to stake my life on the fact that most of the Moms I know-the Dravet tiger Moms and the Epilepsy warrior Moms, and the oncology Mama bears-they know more about their child’s condition and response to medications and have directed much of that treatment. They can list all of the side effects, even ones that doctors dismiss as not being a side effect, they see the correlations that doctors miss. Because of what’s at stake. Because of the depth of their love. Do you really think you need to tell me first do no harm to my own child? I’m the one protecting her from the harm you want to inflict sometimes!
So if it really is us vs them, my money is on us. Because our motivation is more than dollar signs, it’s measured in lives.Whole plant, full spectrum cannabinoid access to every patient who needs it.