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Who should control medical care: individuals or profit-focused corporations? [Occupy.com]
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Who should control medical care: individuals or profit-focused corporations?
[Occupy.com]

By John Novak
Treasurer, The Viper’s Club

It has been incorrectly argued by large corporate interests that no more than 150 or so cannabis strain varieties, handled by one or two corporations will be enough for every patient condition. This argument is inaccurate as it clearly lacks the most basic horticultural knowledge of maintaining an expanding, dynamic gene pool. Access to stabilized varieties, especially heirloom and landrace, provides a large gene pool for horticulturists worldwide.

One real world sad example outside of cannabis is the Cavendish banana. Lack of genetic diversity has placed this kitchen favorite in a precarious position, and the danger posed to its continued existence by disease is well documented.

Patients rely on a large variety of cannabis strains being made available because of the unique properties of each plant’s phytocannabinoids and terpene content. Not only is each cannabis strain variety different, but each plant is unique.

Over time, the desirable genetic qualities break down and therefore , access to a large gene pool is mandatory, for the ongoing science of finding a cannabis strain match to condition, that can give the best possible relief or potential cure. While stabilized cannabis strain varieties offer the best for medical purposes, the cloning of female plants off a stabilized mother will not stop genetic degradation over time.

New seeds and people to breed them will always be needed to perpetuate the existence of stabilized standards and new cannabis strain varieties. Even the “small guy” in his own basement, garage or backyard horticulturist, makes a contribution to the continued existence of the species.

More so than most plant consumer groups, cannabis patients need control over who grows their cannabis plants and how they do it.

This is critical for those who can’t grow it themselves due to financial, health or residential restrictions. Those who need direct control over the choice of cannabis strain varieties and the types of fertilizers and pest control methods, all need home horticulture, patient supervised designated growers and the ability to participate in non-commercial, non-regulated collective horticulture with other patients, and patient supervised designated growers . Having direct interaction and commerce with commercial horticulturists is also helpful in acquiring seeds and plant starts.

One of the biggest arguments patients and medical cannabis advocates have used in the past to keep home horticulture within local laws, is the cost of production. Patients can grow the plants together or by themselves for much less money than what the commercial industry is charging. This argument is starting to be defeated in some areas that are considering having insurance companies pay the costs, so that it’s even free or costs next to nothing and still shut down home horticulture.

In Canada, due to a possible upcoming Supreme Court decision , the federal Government’s response may be to pay for the cannabis, for those exempted cannabis patients who cannot , as a means of keeping Canada’s “medical big grow” program in place.

We are now left with having to defend ourselves over why we need to save the compassionate use model. And that defense is undoubtedly,’the matching of a proper cannabis strain variety to the patients condition’; which the current world-wide seed market makes possible and available . The compassionate use model is so important to preserve, because big grow corporations will not ever serve that kind of patient need for everyone.

They will be able to take some business advantage of the needs of certain cannabis patients by making available those strains known to be good matches for certain patient conditions . However only those strains, that allow such ‘strain limiting enterprises’, to remain within their’ fiscal requirements’, for running commercial or government regulated big grows.

Since such big grow corporations can never offer a proper strain match for all patient conditions, they must not be permitted to monopolize ‘legally sanctioned cannabis access,’ or cause the patient’s right to cultivate cannabis to be lost. Most often, it’s just to personalized a search, for a big grow corporation’s ‘fiscal’ constraints to fulfil .

The more the science on the endocannabinoid system and the entourage effect of phytocannabinoids in whole plant therapy and medicine advances, the more it is realized how many conditions cannabis safely and effectively treats.

All adult use, especially the elderly, can be seen as a medical/therapeutic preventative, intended or not, in relation to US Patent 6630507, awarded to the Department of Health and Human Services, which states, “Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.”

Even if a person believes they are using cannabis for ‘non medicinal purposes,’ the bottom line is that strain varieties have different effects on the user. That is the point of compassionate use: more choice of effects means a greater chance for “superior effective relief;” relief of all symptoms and/or cure, including the prevention of disease.

Using the same math probability of less choice of available strain varieties, means less chance for “superior effective relief.”

It is clear to those who look at the math with an unbiased view: a good match is possible at 15,000+ strain choices, where limiting that to five, six or even eight hundred cannabis strains , insures that some patients will not get “superior effective relief;” relief of all symptoms, cure of their disease, or prevention.

It is already happening in Washington state, where medical shops that provide a vast variety of cannabis strains in a near free market, are being closed down in favor of the over-regulated I-502 “recreational” shops, largely supplied by strain limiting, big grow corporations. Patients are beginning to give anecdotal evidence that they cannot find the strain varieties they need , and find this out for themselves without knowing the math; they are not getting good enough relief.


It is clear to those who look at the math with an unbiased view: a good match is possible at 15,000+ strain choices, where limiting that to five, six or even eight hundred cannabis strains, insures that some patients will not get “superior effective relief;” relief of all symptoms, cure of their disease, or prevention.

It is already happening in Washington state, where medical shops that provide a vast variety of cannabis strains in a near free market, are being closed down in favor of the over-regulated I-502 “recreational” shops, largely supplied by strain limiting, big grow corporations. Patients are beginning to give anecdotal evidence that they cannot find the strain varieties they need , and find this out for themselves without knowing the math; they are not getting good enough relief.

The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, Articles 4 and 28 gives allowances for Industrial, Medical, Horticultural and Scientific uses of cannabis.

With this knowledge in hand, the term “illicit” defies common sense in relationship to the use of cannabis . Especially when it has never been the direct cause of death in all of recorded history. This is why the laws must change and the cannabis species itself protected from over-regulation and monopolization schemes.

In today’s world of on-demand consumerism, we must not so easily forget the decades — and in many cases thousands of years — of selective breeding. There would be no named varieties of flowers, trees, veggies, fruits and herbs that bless our society today, if those that came before us were apathetic.

We must not give up on protecting and expanding the vast genetic heritage, simply to line the pockets of a few who have no sense of integrity on this issue.

 

The Viper’s Club is a social welfare charitable corporation in Washington State, not organized for profit and operated exclusively to promote reducing harms associated with unjust cannabis laws, while protecting access and cultivation rights for compassionate users aspiring to prevent, cure and/or find superior effective relief of all their symptoms through the use of the cannabis plant, in all its forms and varieties currently available worldwide. Find out more at vipersclub.org.

 

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