The following is a letter from one of the pioneers of Medicinal Cannabis in the US, Andrew L McIntyre. I have republished it here in its entirety because it is crucial that governments and the industry do not lose sight of how and why the Medicinal Cannabis industry began in the first place, and address the very real concerns of the most vulnerable. The lessons and trends evident in the US, are also being felt in other jurisdictions like Australia and the UK.
Something That Grabs You: Epilepsy
Who opened the door of legitimacy for the Cannabis Industry?
As private use of cannabis to treat children with epilepsy became more widespread, caregivers and parents drew upon their talents to ensure safety at all levels of production. With a sense of urgency, families with epileptic children, small growers and commercial operations joined forces to perfect the process of producing and administering cannabis as medicine.
This collaborative effort resulted in significant improvements in testing techniques and plant type or strain selection. This compounding of different types of plants and molecules is proving to support not only epilepsy health outcomes but also other similarly sensitive neurological conditions. Our culture has not fully digested how positive kids’ health outcomes from cannabis truly are and yet the impact is already being felt like load roaring thunder.
An important outcome is that the successful use of cannabis in treating pediatric epilepsy has opened up new awareness in the public eye of how and why cannabis can support many other disease states. All the groundwork that has been laid out in pediatrics is now being carbon-copied in such areas as geriatrics, where the insights gained about low-dose strategies for children were immediately applicable.
While the new pediatric strategies were created under emergency conditions, parental demand and grower angst pushed development, the innovations that resulted from this struggle are fueling many of the continuing advancements in the cannabis industry today.
Without this movement in pediatrics, various cannabis legalization bills might not have been passed and the techniques to deliver safe and quality medicinal product would not have emerged so quickly. All of the successful pediatric studies changed the landscape of the cannabis industry, bringing a revolution of thought and legitimacy. It was all driven by the efforts and sacrifices of parents, advocates, and medical professionals who fought for the right to access for kids. This effort cracked the egg for the entire industry, but who is eating all the eggs?
Unfortunately, as the industry is exploding the parents and people who fought for legalization see other families are left behind. They are still struggling for safe access to the specific medicines they need. It varies drastically from state to state. Thousands of cannabis cultivation licenses have been issued and some states even require pediatric formulas be made. Yet in many cases, even when it is required by the state, many of the new licensed producers do not make the right formulas for diverse and somewhat perverse legal reasons. In other cases the testing is not used to the standards needed by the parents and prescribing doctors to drive these proven treatment strategies.
In fact, the scientific achievements around cannabis and epilepsy have been a great unifying factor of political factions in the cannabis industry. These divisions in the industry historically haven’t always been on the same page, especially when it comes to legal definitions of drug class.
It is now a moot point as we know everyone needs safe access now. This is an emergency and we are in the middle of healthcare crisis all over the world. Every child in America should get access Rights now under the Right To Try Act. We should lead!! It should clearly be delisted from the FDA schedule and graded for quality like vitamins. Best quality gets a different stamp with approval by parents and advocacy groups. EASY!! Please move the FDA's failed and inconsistent drugs laws on cannabis aside and let America take its next golden ticket to the global markets. That is what the story behind the pediatric cannabis developments should tell us.
Of course, we are not out of the dark age of confusion over cannabis as many of the cannabis industry leaders are still unclear on the production types needed. There will be leaders that emerge in the industry who understand cannabis is a warehouse of nutritional molecules. Finding the best ingredients out of the 600 molecules in the plant is the equivalent to finding the God vitamin or supernutrient. That is what we do in pediatric cannabis. Something like this is happening in labs across the world after the new pediatric methods put a new drive to dive deeper into the science.
From Greek origins, the root of the word epilepsy essentially means something that grabs you. That something also grabbed the cannabis industry and set it on a scientific High with legitimacy.
The thing that takes hold of the person in epilepsy or the “Grab” that causes a seizure is a breakdown or interruption in the “bodies balance”. This is what biologist refer to as metabolic homeostasis. This is related to much more disease states than just seizure activity. Not enough of cannabis science has been directed toward metabolic considerations but it has been slowly growing in the direction for decades. These metabolic considerations are now dead center under the microscope as a result of the pediatric influence. It is a very common understanding that the same diverse metabolic dysfunctions that occur in epileptic seizures are present in autism, ADHD, sleep disorders, bipolar and migraines. The list goes on. The Door just blew open scientifically.
If you do not understand magnitude of metabolism please take this part away with you and spread it throughout your circles. This new pediatric cannabis emphasis on the body’s balance and its impacts on broader medicine is the equivalent to discovering and harnessing electricity. As a result, the industry is exploding with new low dose, low psychoactive techniques, and I believe it is just the beginning. We owe this to the kids and their parents who won for us all...We should open access for kids like them now and in the future. May their lives inspire us.
Please get cannabis use for epilepsy and autism on the right to try Act Now Mr President. And Please push to Delist cannabis off the FDA drug schedule.
Hope and Health,
Andrew L. McIntyre