Easy On The Spice...Please

I was listening to a story this weekend that made me stop what I was doing and really hear the message. This story made me laugh and cry and think. A lot, don’t you think? It was a story about the Spice Girls, a girl group with whom I am familiar but am not a big fan of. However, I may have to rethink my attitude after listening to David Montgomery’s engaging story of living in Spice World. A few hours later I heard a strangely disturbing story about spice, the drug also known as K2 or synthetic marijuana.

I’m a middle-aged woman, boring and traditional, and I really didn’t know what this drug is, but was intrigued because it’s not often that the word spice comes into my world twice in one day. But this story about spice was horrible, and the idea that our endocannabinoid system can be so easily manipulated by what has become known as manufactured weed is alarming, don’t you think?

What I came away with was a bigger question: Why create something terrible that works with the endocannabinoid system when something great, like cannabis, already exists? And I worry what may happen given big pharmaceuticals interests in deconstructing the cannabis compounds and rebuilding them into something new and unknown.

The origin story of the chemicals in synthetic marijuana, the creation of cannabinoids that can attach to our endocannabinoid system and ruin our brains, starts with a medical chemist who was just doing what he knew how to do. Experimenting with chemicals. It is claimed that the devastation reeked by this synthetic cannabinoid was unforeseeable, but because his knowledge was published and transparent, as all good scientific knowledge is required to be, it was out there for people to use for benevolence or malfeasance.

Now we have more industries, big pharmaceuticals especially, trying to isolate the compounds in cannabis to create a synthetic version that could replace or supplement the benefits of the plant. Maybe because synthetic cannabinoids made in labs would not be subject to the problems associated with agriculture and would be quicker to produce this could be a reasonable idea. But I believe that good things take time. Time is required for fine wines and most quality foods, so cannabis plants must be cultivated with care to allow them proper and healthy growth so that they can benefit us the most.

Now that cannabis is regulated and transparent, it’s just another way to make a living and there are lots of cultivators out there interested in doing just that. But money is powerful motivator and sometimes, maybe many times, it corrupts what is good. I do believe that everybody wants to be the good guy in their own story and in this moment of reverse government intervention we in the cannabis business are no longer walking a tightrope too close to the law, we are clearly on the other side. We are the good guys in this story. We are all responsible for creating the world we want. The cannabis market exists for anyone who wants what they need to feel better and we shouldn’t allow big business intervention to undermine what is good.

The illicit market is hard to change, and because bad government intervention created this market it is difficult to see how we will use government to solve this problem. And I worry that bad science will corrupt the true essence of cannabis. Personally, I would rather see resources focused on clinical studies on how the plant and extracts really work for our most vulnerable populations to reduce the use of narcotics. For that reason, we out there seeking positive cannabis stories. Just last week Jimmy had a great interview with Marion McNabb and Randy MacCaffrie of the Cannabis Community and Care Research Network (C3RN) . Presently they are launching a study of medical cannabis for military veterans. These are the types of projects that lay the groundwork for great hope of this industry.

However, the cannabis business will be subject to those who are only interested in ruthless profiteering and the cannabis research by big pharma that hopes to take the compounds apart and recombine them into something new that may have unforeseen consequences feels inevitable but also dangerous. But for now let’s focus on what is good. And in the meantime, if you need a little joy have some cannabis and dance in Spice World like no one else is watching.