Plant, Synthetic, Biosynthetic…the holy medical cannabis trinity

By Clifton Flack, iCAN Founder & CMO

Among the cannabis industry there’s few friends of big pharmaceutical conglomerates.  Advocates of whole plant over chemically lab manufactured molecules rumbles on with threats of treason to nature, arguments over entourage effect.  

I’m no advocate for either side, I do not come from the world of pharma or any brand of medicine and personally I don’t particularly err on the side of hocus pocus herbology or the like (sorry).

However, global healthcare systems are failing to embrace cannabis medicine and that concerns me greatly.

My desire to see effective treatments provided to large target segments of the sick and diagnosed is rooted closer to the practicalities of conforming to age old health care systems governed by over regulated governments and over-greedy pharmaceutical companies calling the shots.

Pharma have done it to themselves, just as the banks in the last decade or two where greed and addiction to growth in competitive economies have led to morality being excluded from many a boardroom.  It’s been said that in a world of big banking, big energy, big pharma and big money that it’s the little people who’re sacrificed along the way.

So along with the big bucks , big shortcuts and big greed, you can add big stigma attached to anything synthetic, anything pharmaceutical and anything that might be corruptible by the burdened healthcare systems

Cannabis offers an alternative.

It’s fair to say that already in the USA cannabis has disrupted healthcare, with millions of new medical marijuana patients expected to come online during 2017. An already multi billion dollar industry is poised for a year of cannabis normalization.

Cannabis is a threat to ‘big pharma’

Wouldn’t it be great if we never needed to see a doctor? Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could treat all our ills and ailments with a plant grown as misunderstood as cannabis?  That we can grow our own and personalize treatments like no other in the history of medical world, this is a modern day miracle.  However the idea that flora will overnight replace the modern healthcare system is unlikely to materialize, indeed until treatments are properly and sufficiently understood I don’t believe doctors should be prescribing it in the same way they prescribe antibiotics.

Content is king though data is infinite

The internet is flush with growing mountains of anecdotal or observational evidence that cannabis treats and in some case cures a wide range of both neurological and physiological indications.  However until data is collected in an internationally recognized procedure, until medications are tested and clinically studied under laboratory conditions, until then healthcare system professionals might be willing, but the structure is such that the system is unable to universally assimilate cannabis as a credible & prescribable medication.

The intrusion of synthetic and biosynthetic cannabinoids.

This industry is filled with dilemma, many would be happy to see big pharma implode under a cannabis revolution however without their not insignificantly deep pockets and R&D capabilities, the full power and potential of cannabis may never be realized.

Some argue on the side of synthesizing as the only way to guarantee pharmaceutical grade production, standardization, dosage & delivery accuracy.   Some argue the only way big pharma may learn to appreciate the qualities of whole plant is to begin with the more palatable synthetic.  Once the scary cannabis fears have been broken, the speed at which FDA approvals for cannabinoid therapy could begin surge year on year.

Pharma has never been anti botanical, it’s often simply the model always makes sense as scalability becomes core to viability.  Scaling the sustainable production of standardized and safe botanical is often cost prohibitive.

Perhaps the answer is a middle path

For me the desire to get as much accurate and effective medicine in the hands of anyone who needs it should be the guiding light into this exciting future of cannabinoid therapies, there is a place for all medications, the challenge is to first create medicine that works and then produce enough at the right price.

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