An article by Philip Antony Bevington
The story and history of cannabis is complicated and full of misrepresentation. These go back at least 50 years and are predominantly based on hysterical pronunciations by politicians with the aim of demonising it. Whatever their motives they have done untold harm to the health of humans. In the 70's a Dr. Mechoulam in Israel ascertained that the bodies of all mammals has a system in in it specifically designed to work with the chemicals in Cannabis. He called this system , 'The Endocannibinoid System. The body is full of Receptors designed to link to the cannabinoids. The body produces cannabinoids naturally (such as Endocannibinoid and anandamides) that share a similar chemical structure to that found in Cannabis.. Such as CBD, THC, CBN, CBG and many more. The Endocannibinoid system (ECS system) regulates a variety of biological processes, such as, sleep, relaxation, feeding, and also certain inflammatory reactions including cognitive functions. In short the ECS is responsible for the optimum function of your body. This is a recognised and acknowledged scientific fact. But that is not taught in the majority of Medical Schools. Resulting in Doctors being ignorant of the ECS system and its work within the body.
Endocannibinoid Receptors are found throughout the body. While the system performs its tasks, experts (such as Dr Mechoulam) believe that the function of the ECS system is the regulation of Homeostasis. Homeostasis is the concept that most biological systems are actively regulated to maintain conditions within a narrow range. In layman's terms to 'Balance the bodies functions to their optimum.'
The Government are well aware of the medical benefits of cannabis and yet seem loth to take a proactive stance. NICE have stated that there are 'inadequate trials to prove the benefits of cannabis. But ignore the fact that unlike other Pharmaceuticals Cannabis cannot be separated into individual compounds for testing as their efficacy comes from a multi pronged effect of the 'whole plant effect' or the 'Entourage effect'. It seems the radical shift needed by them towards the plants benefits is seriously retarding progress. Where now days many other countries are accepting the benefits at face value the UK is not. This is forcing patients onto, the Black market, or to using pharmaceuticals with side effects and addictions that often are worse than their complaint. Alternatively signing up with a Cannabis Clinic and getting it prescribed. However this is expensive and out of many people's reach. Consequently Economic Discrimination.
There are around 1.6 million people in the UK wishing to utilise Cannabis as a medicine and are being denied it due to the financial pressures and are having to take the illegal route and suffer the potential consequences of being criminalised. Also of course another six million using it recreationally.
Cannabis is a plant that has been used for millennia as a medicine and as a recreational tool for relaxation. Much as today Alcohol and Tobacco are used, despite their far more dangerous potential to cause harm. Deaths from these two are among the highest in comparison to Cannabis which has no deaths directly attributable to it. Certain individuals with a propensity may suffer Psychosis but it may well have occurred anyhow using Alcohol or other Pharmaceutical drugs and the numbers are minimal from cannabis (1 in 4,000) . If there were to be a devastating effect this would have manifested itself in the many countries where it is now legal in one form or another and it has not!
The UK Government claim, 'that Cannabis causes harm to communities and encourages crime.' But this is due to Prohibition and the criminal tag that surrounds it. As the USA found out with their Alcohol Prohibition. There is a growing call from experts in Drugs and Policing that changing the treatment of cannabis from a Criminal issue to a Health one would be the best route to go. Giving a more satisfactory return on investment than is happening at present where when one drug dealer is taken out more spring up within hours. Billions spent on law enforcement that gets nowhere!
Cannabis and Hemp are the same genus. But Hemp has little of the psychoactive component THC but its benefits are massive and ignored at the present. Hemp could solve the UK's environment problem in one fell swoop. Hemp can most easily be used within the livestock industry by using the seeds to replace or supplement meat and dairy products in the human diet. Hemp is literally the low hanging fruit in the climate change battle. With 1/3rd complete protein,1/3rd essential fatty acids and can be eaten raw. A superior product than soy for most foods and usable with any recipes. Free from drugs, non-GMO, can be organic and free from most of the anti-nutritional factors with soy. Its important to also consider the source. Is the soy sustainably farmed ? Use of water. Hemp grown for seed is tall, with more biomass, sucking carbon out of the atmosphere than an equivalent field of Soy. Additionally where there is Hemp there is bast and fibre, a lot of it !Up to twenty times more fibre than seed. Which could be used for Biocrete to make carbon negative building insulation, ethanol, biochar, animal bedding, auto-parts, erosion control and many others. It also has the ability to 'clean' polluted land by removing the heavy metals. But with its close association to cannabis this crop is demonised totally unjustly, since it posses none of the qualities that Cannabis does.
Cannabis has historically been demonised for Political, Racist and Economic reasons. Used medically for millennia it became a threat to powerful industries and politicians and a folklore was created that frightened people away from it. Though remaining out of sight and under cover throughout. Resulting in decades of persecution and criminalisation of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide for a plant that is now emerging again as being medically valuable. Many worldwide have spoken out against this demonisation and the lack of scientific evidence to support Government allegations. Only now after decades of this, countries are beginning to wake up to the proven benefits and change their stance. Changes have been made citing medical benefits, Human Rights violations and the failure that Prohibition has been. Also the fact that the cost and effectiveness of Prohibition has achieved little success in its stated aims. I regret the UK lags behind the rest still citing facts and statistics that have long ago been debunked. Facts that have been imprinted generationally to create fear. But that we now know to be totally untrue and unprovable. But the fear remains and for Political motives ( being seen as 'hard on drugs) is a vote winner. For the UK the injustice and persecution remains.