There was no question for him about whether it was OK or not to steal the medication. He had to live with the reality of his mother living a life of pain and sickness that he had to watch every day. I remember he looked everyone straight in the eyes and said he would steal the medication a million times if it meant his mother would be well, right before he ran out of the classroom in tears.
The thing is, the plant in question has been declared illegal to grow and use for medicinal purposes in many countries, including mine (New Zealand). Now, who on earth would want to put a stop to sick people accessing a plant that may be able to help them? I’m guessing those who would benefit from their own products footing the bill for the chronically unwell. I smell a rat — a morally-challenged rat.
To use medicinal cannabis illegally or not? To decriminalize growing and using the plant for the chronically unwell and terminally ill? I wonder how many of the people who are making these decisions have had the experience of that boy in my class? Knowing the reality of a life filled with pain and suffering offers a unique experience that is a game-changer in the whole debate.
About the Author
I did some research and discovered that it’s not possible to overdose on cannabis, because it does not shut down the part of the brainstem that controls breathing and blood circulation — unlike opioids or alcohol. The very same opioids that are easily available on prescription and handed out like lollies from the doctors. And the very same alcohol that is freely and legally available to purchase and drink for fun by almost anyone, at any time, and as much as you like.
When I was diagnosed with systemic scleroderma, it was a relief to finally understand why I had been feeling so terrible. The doctors seemed to have many therapies to offer, most of which I took without question. I was the perfect patient.
Legislation and intricate technicalities on how the plant works and is used must be considered. There are also moral arguments for and against, together with much confusion about the difference between medicinal and recreational use. It is, therefore, a subject fraught with complications.
What if cannabis, a plant that has been used for thousands of years as an herbal medicine, could help me? A law-abiding citizen, with a rare complicated painful autoimmune disease? With thousands of anecdotal benefits and more recently, studies outlining the plant’s anti-inflammatory, pain relief, and anti-nausea properties, why on earth wouldn’t I give it a try?
Comprised of endogenous compounds that bind to cannabinoid receptors – CB 1 and CB 2 – that are expressed in all types of skin cells, the ECS plays a vital role in maintaining skin homeostasis through a signaling mechanism that promotes healthy skin renewal and barrier function. 2
At the same time, CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory that augments CB 2 receptor signaling, thereby boosting the antifibrogenic activity that’s sorely deficient in scleroderma patients. Scientists have yet to sort out exactly how CBD induces effects that are similar to CB 2 activation without binding directly to the CB 2 receptor.
The Endocannabinoid System & Scleroderma
Rodents treated with the synthetic cannabinoid WIN55 developed less excess collagen and generally fared better compared to untreated animals.
People with scleroderma often experience pain and inflammation. As is the case with many autoimmune diseases, there aren’t any therapies that have been specifically developed to treat this condition. The scarcity of treatment options makes scleroderma an “orphan disease” – a special classification that the Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) uses to incentivize drug-makers to develop new and innovative “orphan drugs” for the treatment of rare diseases.
Zoe Sigman is Project CBD ’s Program Director.