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STEVE ELLIOTT

Your source for uncut, uncensored, no holds barred, non-corporate controlled cannabis news

Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s first medical cannabis documentary, “Weed,” changed the debate forever. Bringing into the national consciousness as it did the plight of parents who in many cases are forced to choose between breaking the law, treating their kids, or moving, “Weed” fomented a revolution in awareness of the healing powers of pot.

His follow-up, “Weed 2,” also arguably advanced the ball down the field, but it was very much a mixed bag, with both plusses and minuses.

One of the best things in “Weed 2” was Dr. Gupta’s cogent explanation of what he called “the Entourage Effect,” another way of saying that all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids in marijuana potentiate each others’ effects in a synergistic fashion. This is why Full Extract Cannabis Oil is more effective than any single-cannabinoid extract ever will be, and this is why Big Pharma’s single-cannabinoid preparations like Marinol are so woefully ineffective.

Dr. Gupta used this opportunity to point out that “CBD-only” legislation, a wave of which has recently been introduced in state legislatures (particularly in more conservative states) just doesn’t go far enough, and beyond that is unscientific. “While science has not yet shown the exact role or mechanism for all these various compounds, evidence is mounting that these compounds work better together than in isolation,” Gupta says.

Also among the good things in “Weed 2”was the inclusion of a pain patient who smokes his cannabis, a welcome acknowledgement that smoked marijuana works great medically (which benighted pot-haters often deny), and the further exposure of parents — this time, the parents of Vivian Wilson of New Jersey — who are in the difficult position of having to fight state laws and bureaucracy to do right by their daughter.

I found it very troubling, however, that a cannabis-naïve viewer could easy have come to the conclusion that, for instance, the Stanley Brothers of Colorado are the only places to go if you want CBD oil, or CBD-heavy genetics such as those found in “their” proprietary strain, Charlotte’s Web. That’s just not true; there are more and more high-CBD strains around, including Harlequin and Cannatonic (which we would not have known just from watching the show).

I’m sure the Stanley Brothers are very happy with what amounts to spot of extremely valuable free advertising. Dr. Gupta did, at least, mention in passing that the Stanleys stand to make “millions of dollars,” but he certainly didn’t dwell on it — in fact, it would be easy to miss.

Additionally, I’m getting mighty tired of people like Josh Stanley smirking on camera (as he does in Weed 2) about “disappointed hippies” (because CBD won’t get them high). They act as if disappointing hippies, of all things, somehow ranks high on everybody’s “to do” list. But besides the obvious silliness, it also serves to unfairly and foolishly demonize THC, which happens to be one of the most therapeutic (and safest!) substances known to man.

THC is one of the most useful, non-toxic, natural compounds we know, and when it’s against the law, we have a lot more serious things to be worried about than “disappointed hippies,” despite the popularity of this chuckling soundbite among timidly conservative politicians and now, distressingly, from supposed members of the medical marijuana community.

Hey, Josh Stanley: Making fun of THC is not doing this community any favors. Demonizing it is a grave disservice to patients. Stop it with the lame-ass Reefer Madness, already.

Beyond that, as already pointed out right here on Toke Signals, it doesn’t even have to be CBD oil to effectively treat pediatric seizures without getting kids stoned — THCA (non-carboxylated THC acid) does the same thing, just as effectively, and much less expensively in today’s speculative CBD Gold Rush environment.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta chats with GW Pharmaceutical's Dr. Geoffrey Guy at the pharma giant's secret cannabis farm in the U.K. [Weed 2]
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Dr. Sanjay Gupta chats with GW Pharmaceutical’s Dr. Geoffrey Guy at the pharma giant’s secret cannabis farm in the U.K.
[Weed 2]

Another drawback of Weed 2 was that, at times, it felt like an infomercial for GW Pharmaceutical, in particular, and of the Big Pharma takeover of cannabis in general. Could this, as has been suggested in some of the more cynical corners of the movement, have been because the monied pharmaceutical giants have “gotten to” Dr. Gupta? That’s possible, I suppose, but a more likely explanation would be that Dr. Gupta, a trained product of Western medicine, would naturally be more comfortable with a model of medical research and treatment controlled by these corporations — it’s all he’s ever known professionally.

If you’re an executive at a major pharmaceutical firm — a firm which has been watching with increasing concern at the giant profits being accrued by medical marijuana retailers in multiple states — and you are looking for an “in” on this lucrative marketplace, you’d absolutely LOVE “Weed 2.” Hell, with a minimum of judicious editing the thing could be used as a propaganda film for the Big Pharma takeover of the medicinal cannabis industry, complete with “concerned” buzzwords like “lack of standards” and “largely unregulated.”

Does this mean it’s inevitable that giant, faceless, profit-oriented corporations will inevitably rule the day? Will they take this nascent, thriving Mom-and-Pop industry right from the hands of those who risked everything to found it, often under the threat of prosecution at both the federal and state levels, and turn it into yet another huge profit maker for themselves? Is cannabis destined to become a Schedule II or III prescribed drug, available only from Big Pharma?

That is certainly going to be the outcome, absent the unknown factor of citizen participation in the democratic process. If voters do nothing, then the big money speaks clearly and loudly with no counter-message at all — and you know these politicians are always hungry for campaign funds.

You know what that means you have to do, right? It means you have to BE PART OF THE PROCESS. Don’t settle for letting other people run your life and set your rules.

The medical marijuana industry in the United States — well, at least in 20 of ’em — is one of the purest expressions of the free market currently in existence. Don’t let over-regulation and over-commercialization ruin safe access to the organic, herbal plant of healing. It’s almost certain that Big Pharma won’t be providing you with cannabis flowers as does the current medical marijuana industry; Big Pharma prefers pills and potions, because those are much more profitable and not so easily produced at home.

The ability of medical marijuana patients to produce their medicine at home, after all, is the real biggest problem corporations have with cannabis. It’s obviously not a safety issue, since no one has ever died from marijuana. It’s, simply put, Patients vs. Profits.

See the clip below for Dr. Gupta musing about if people would be “more comfortable” buying their cannabis from Big Pharma instead of from Mom-and-Pop shops.

Here’s the complete documentary, Weed 2:

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