Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘cannabis

Review. Kanabo VapePod

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I’ve been intrigued to try this vaporiser ever since I first heard of it.  Its stand-out feature, though not a unique claim, is that it accurately dispenses cannabis vapour, clearly an important facility for medical use.  Perhaps what’s even more important is that it’s part of a package from Kanabo, newly quoted on the London Stock Exchange, alongside cartridges of different cannabinoid content. It’s the first credible, all-in-one prescription product for vaporised medicinal cannabis.

It doesn’t disappoint.  The packaging looks just right to be sitting on a pharmacy shelf.  There’s no silly cannabis branding.  You couldn’t mistake this for a children’s toy or a stoner’s gizmo.  It hits the spot precisely: functional, medical, professional.  It’s going to inspire confidence from anyone, including a naive cannabis consumer, when they collect this from their pharmacy. It elevates the sometimes jokey level of medicinal cannabis products to where they need to be.  It is perfectly judged.

The device itself is a bit fatter and a bit shorter than the standard vape pens that we all know. It’s a black plastic, octagonal tube with a translucent coloured mouthpiece. I think I prefer its thickness compared to standard vape pens but that may be the size of my hands. A woman might still prefer the thinner design.

I was provided with two cartridges which come in smaller boxes. They’re described as “Pure Distillate Hemp Extract” and I have the “Reload. Feels like a moment of clarity and focus” and the “Relax. Quiet your mind & find tranquility”. The difference between them is the blend of terpenes which are added back into the distillate once it’s been refined.  Inside the box is what looks much the same as the small vape cartridges that we’re already used to, with the mouthpiece already attached.  It really couldn’t be easier.  You just drop the cartridge into the end of the tube and it’s ready to go.  Equally you can just pull one cartridge out, it’s held in by a magnet and replace it with another.  The only thing I’ve found to criticise so far is that there is no distinguishing mark on the cartridges so it’s impossible to tell them apart.

Of course, I’ve only been provided with the CBD cartridges. Where this product is really going to come into its own is when prescribed with cartridges that contain THC.

So to the crucial issue. How does it accurately dispense vapour, metered dosing as it is called? It’s a patent pending device, designed in Israel, where the only other metered dosing vape, as far as I know, the Syqe, also originates. It seems to work simply by limiting the duration of an inhalation to about two seconds.  In the interests of testing it out, I did see if I could cheat it and it’s definitely the case that if you pull harder you inhale more vapour. Each inhalation is supposd to dispense 1.2mg of CBD, so I think you can increase this fairly easily but only within a narrow band.  It’s no criticism.  I’m impressed with the way this works and I only wish I could try it with a THC cartridge.  But this is a new world now, in a good way.  I can’t see Kanabo sending me a THC cartridge to try if it’s not prescribed and that is the way it should be really.

As for the contents of the cartridges themselves, they’re clearly quality products and I fervently hope that prescribers will have the option of specifying from a wide range of cartridges with different cannabinoid and terpene content.

With the sole exception that each cartridge needs labelling so you know which one you’re using, I can’t fault this. It’s the right idea, well executed and this is the future of medicinal cannabis as a serious medicine.

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 3, 2021 at 12:58 pm

A Small Victory Against Misleading Reporting on Cannabis in the British Press

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The peculiar relationship between drugs policy and evidence in Britain is caused largely by inaccurate, misleading and sensationalist reporting in the press. Our politicians’ inability to deal with this subject, even to engage in serious debate about it, is all about their fear of being dubbed ‘soft on drugs’ by the newspapers.

At last, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) has upheld one of my many complaints about inaccurate reporting. This was a particularly egregious example of distortion and twisting of facts to suit a newspaper’s anti-cannabis agenda.

In January 2021, the Daily Telegraph published an article headlined “’Super skunk’ cannabis led to surge in mental health crisis”. This old trope, that cannabis causes mental illness, is now confined almost exclusively to our corner of North-West Europe. The Irish also suffer under this myth and to a lesser extent, so do Australia and New Zealand but everywhere else in the world a far more balanced and realistic view is taken.

There is no evidence to support it as a direct causal effect, only that it may, in some instances, be one of a number of component factors. Science shows that cigarette smoking and traffic pollution may be far more potent factors, not to say general adolescent angst and many other issues of modern life.

Nevertheless, in Britain, the press and therefore our politicians are obsessed with the idea and regard it as fact. It is this wicked prejudice that for decades has held back access to cannabis as medicine and still does so today. Our most senior clinicians have shown themselves incapable of separating fact from fiction and in a wider context, this myth is probably still the most important factor in holding back general drugs policy reform.  Because of politicians’ weakness in the face of newspaper sensationalism, they have enabled a massive £6 billion market to develop under the control of organised crime which now causes enormous harm throughout society.

My complaint read as follows:

“This article asserts that “cannabis has contributed to a record 100,000 people admitted for NHS treatment for drug-related mental health problems”

In fact, in deliberately misleading and sensationalist fashion, figures for primary diagnosis and secondary diagnosis have been combined. Total figure for primary diagnosis in relation to all drugs is 7,027, secondary diagnosis accounts for the other 93,000+ and means that for 90% of these admissions, the primary reason may have been nothing to do with drugs.

The 100,000 figure is clearly associated with cannabis yet the actual figures for cannabis show a decline from 1135 in 2018/19 to 1087 in 2019/20.

It is crystal clear that this presentation of the data is deliberately designed to mislead and sensationalise.”

What has always surprised me in running many of these complaints is the vehemence with which the newspapers have tried to defend what are nothing more than lies.  The Daily Telegraph did exactly the same this time, trying to adduce a large volume of irrelevant information that had nothing to do with its inaccurate journalism but was just about pushing its anti-cannabis agenda. As I wrote to IPSO at one stage:

“The Telegraph is entitled to publish as much one-sided, cherry picked evidence as it wishes except that if it does not do so accurately or distorts it to the point that it is misleading, it is in breach of clause 1 of the Editors’ Code.

I have no doubt that the newspaper will continue its current policy until the flood of money into the cannabis sector reaches such a level that it will be acting against its own self-interest.  That day is now very close and then the Telegraph will face the challenge of explaining to its readers why it has misled and deceived them for so long.”

So, IPSO has upheld my complaint and its full decision can be seen here. On the face of it, the result will just be another small correction that few people will read. But I hope that the time and money it has cost the Telegraph to deal with this might have some impact in future.

I’ve just heard that the Telegraph has appealed against IPSO’s decision which demonstrates just how keen it is to continue misreporting about cannabis!

 

 

 

Written by Peter Reynolds

July 26, 2021 at 5:46 pm

100 Days Since Health Minister Stephen Donnelly Promised To #talktovera

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Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD

It was in late March.  The #talktovera hashtag had already been trending on Twitter in Ireland for several weeks when Vera Twomey received a text message from Stephen Donnelly promising that he would be in touch shortly.  100 days on and he hasn’t made contact at all.  A few days ago an official from the Department of Health (DOH) telephoned with some vaguely encouraging words but Donnelly himself has completely failed to honour his promise.

#talktovera is a campaign that has attracted the support of millions of people but the abuse the Twomey family has endured at the hands of politicians and officials is only the tip of the iceberg of Ireland’s self-destructive problem with cannabis.  It is an issue that highlights the division between a youthful, progressive electorate and a political establishment that is 20 years behind, confused between the repression of the Catholic Church and deep seated vested interests in medicine and the civil service.

Vera Twomey honoured at the 2018 People of the Year Awards

Vera’s remarkable personal effort, including walking in protest from Cork to Dublin, led to a special ministerial licence for her daughter Ava, enabling her to access medicinal cannabis that has undoubtedly save her life.  Now around 50 people in Ireland also benefit from a similar licence but funding of the medicine is a mess with no consistent or rational policy in place.  Ava is far more fortunate than others as the cost of her medicine is met by the state but only after her parents have to find €9500.00 every three months and then wait five weeks for it to be reimbursed.  This is an enormous burden for any working family and means they live in peril where illness or work problems could easily result in a serious threat to Ava’s life. #talktovera started as a straightforward and reasonable request to the health minister to discuss the matter and find a resolution.

Four years ago, largely as a result of the attention that Vera had brought to the issue, the Irish government announced its Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP).  Not a single patient has yet been prescribed cannabis under its provisions and funding for it has has only just been announced.  It enables consultants to prescribe for just three conditions and they are restricted to just four products, all of which will be funded at source by the state. But none of the products used by the 50 people with a ministerial licence are included and on the face of it they were abandoned to continue finding the money themselves, with only a few, including Ava, ever getting it reimbursed.

This ridiculous state of affairs has transfixed Stephen Donnelly. He and his officials have failed to deal with the issue properly and the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be an excuse for something that needed only a few minutes of his time.  It does require the courage to grasp the nettle and cut through reluctant, stubborn officialdom and a medical etablishment that is way behind every other country in Europe in embracing the remarkable power that medicinal cannabis offers.

To be fair, Micheál Martin, the Taoiseach, has spoken directly to Vera on a number of occasions. He was always supportive of Vera’s initial campaign for Ava but his contact has been in a personal capacity and for some reason he has felt unable to instruct his health minister to deal with the matter. He could also have instructed DOH officials over Donnelly’s head but he hasn’t been prepared to do this either.

The reality is that in Ireland, on this issue, its political leaders are not in charge. The tail is wagging the dog.  Officials at the DOH and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) are not in charge either.  They submit to a regressive, bigoted medical establishment that ignores best practice and evidence from around the world and is fundamentally hostile to cannabis.  They in turn submit to the powerful forces of gangsterism and organised crime that pervades Irish society, still, tragically, with significant paramilitary influence behind it.

I can attest to my own experience of Ireland’s self-destructive problem with cannabis.  Although I have now lived in the Republic for four years, before that while living in the UK, then still a member of the European Union, I have been trying to help Ireland develop a medicinal cannabis industry. I have learned that there are powerful forces resisting any progress with a calculated determination to procrastinate and prevaricate. As far back as 2015, I first approached the DOH with a proposal from one of the leading Canadian licensed producers to establish an Irish facility.  Since then, three further clients, each substantial international organisations, actively seeking to invest tens of millions of euros in Ireland, have walked away, frustrated by backwards, negative thinking, prejudice and bigotry.  Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of jobs have been lost and tens of thousands of Irish people are denied access to the medicinal cannabis that could improve their health.

The UK remains way behind where it should be in access to medicinal cannabis but as I work with clients in both countries, in comparison Ireland makes the UK look like Califiornia.  It’s pathetic the way that senior clinicians in the UK continue to resist the inevitable and the huge weight of positive evidence but Ireland is far, far worse. Some of it is to do with it being a very small country, a population of only five million, any one senior doctor who achieves professional and political influence can become immensely powerful.

Dr Ray Walley leads Irish doctors against cannabis

Dr Ray Walley, formerly president of the Irish Medical Organisation and prominent in health politics, runs the Cannabis Risk Alliance, a cabal of senior clinicians that promote 1930s ‘reefer madness’ ideas about cannabis. In 2019, to its eternal shame. the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland invited Alex Berenson, a tabloid journalist and author of spy and conspiracy fiction, to address its members on his theories that cannabis causes violent crime and has no medical benefits. It’s hardly surprisng that when in 2017, the HPRA convened an expert working group to review the medical use of cannabis, its conclusions were about as negative as you would expect from ‘experts’ with zero knowledge of cannabis steeped in prejudice from all their colleagues. It would be funny, were it not so tragic, that the ludicrous conclusion of its work is that pain is now excluded from MCAP. It’s the condition for which millions of people around the world successfully use cannabis but according to these fools it doesn’t work in Ireland.

It’s absolutely clear that it’s these attitudes that control officials in the DOH and HPRA and have led them to frustrate any political will to support medicinal cannabis.  It’s the HPRA that has taken an absurd length of time to identify four products for MCAP that are actually a hopeless mismatch for the three conditons that it covers.  Ironically, the products selected would be more suited to treatment of pain which is, of course, excluded from the programme.  There is a suggestion that officials selected these products based on lobbying from their producers rather than their suitability.  I have seen no evidence for this but based on my other experiences, it makes sense.

The HPRA was also charged with setting up a licensing system for the cultivation of cannabis and production of medicines but to my first hand knowledge it has been dilatory to the point of negligence. Senior officials at HPRA have twice made promises to my clients on timings which they have reneged on, costing my clients substantial investments of time and money.

It is clear to me that there is institutional hostility towards cannabis in the DOH and HPRA and that this is fuelled by the prejudice and ignorance that pervades the medical establishment.  In the face of this, Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly are impotent, useless and incapable of making any progress.

Irish drugs gangsters thank their customers for their continuing support

Then, to far more sinister effect and at the root of all this is the burgeoning criminal market in cannabis, the credible evidence that at least 10,000 Irish people are regularly accessing illicit cannabis to deal with their medical conditions, that probably half a million more are engaging with the gangsters to buy cannabis for pleasure and relaxation. Behind this is violence, misery, human trafficking and the massive cannabis cashflow that funds the even more dangerous trade in hard drugs by the gangsters and paramiltaries.

Cannabis could be a huge opportunity for Ireland in better medical treatment, new businesses, increased employment and a healthier and happier society. Instead it is a massive problem caused by weak politicians, incompetent officials, a corrupt medical establishment and violent orgainsed crime.  An Garda Siochana, the Irish police, are trapped in the middle but it’s the Irish people that are the real victims. And the weak, pathetic, hypocritical and cowardly health minister, Stephen Donnelly, still won’t #talktovera.

Written by Peter Reynolds

July 3, 2021 at 5:20 pm

Politicians Who Want To Keep Cannabis Banned are on the Same Side as the Gangsters and Drug Lords.

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This article was published in the Daily Express on 8th April 2021 as ‘Legalising cannabis will slash drug crime and levy taxes, it’s nuts not to’

Sadiq Khan has suggested, timidly, a ‘drugs commission’ to look specifically at the legalisation of cannabis. No.10 has hit back saying that a review is waste of time and it has no plans to change the law because “illicit drugs destroy lives and cannabis is a harmful substance”.

I agree.  A review would be a waste of time. We already have all the evidence we need from around the world and it is clear that legalisation would reduce all harm, undermine the gangsters, cut street dealing and violence, protect children and families.

I also agree that “illicit drugs destroy lives” but it’s not the drugs that do that, it’s the fact that they’re illicit.  The law against cannabis causes far more harm than cannabis itself.

Yes, cannabis can be harmful but we have wealth of evidence showing that it is much less harmful than alcohol, tobacco, energy drinks, traffic pollution and many things we consume regularly. Peanuts and shellfish cause far more health harms than cannabis.

But even if you believe the hysteria and exaggeration about the dangers of cannabis, does it make sense to allow gangsters to control the market?  If it’s so dangerous, to protect children and the vulnerable, our government should take responsibility and take control of the market. Look what has happened in many other places, legal regulation of cannabis takes it off the streets and into licensed retailers who have to obey age limits, label their products so adults know what they are buying and pay taxes, which in the USA are raising millions of dollars which are spent on schools, healthcare, drugs education and other community projects.

In Britain we spend £6 billion every year on cannabis and on top of that hundreds of thousands of people grow their own. No one pays any taxes on it and all the profits are used by organised crime to fund other criminal activity.

It’s the criminal cannabis market that provides the funding for county lines.  Young people are groomed into delivering hard drugs by being offered “a bit of weed’. The epidemic of knife crime is driven largely by the gangs and they are funded by their trade in cannabis.  It funds prostitution, modern slavery, people trafficking, it’s where all the gangsters’ money comes from and the very last thing they want is for it to be legalised.

The alternative can be seen in reality in the USA, Canada, Uruguay and other places. In Canada, after just two years of legalisation, already more than half of all cannabis is bought through licensed retailers. In the USA, where cannabis is legalised, underage use has gone down.

The most important thing is that in these places there is now some real control over cannabis. Crime has been reduced. Gangsters don’t rule the streets anymore. There’s no problem with ‘Spice’ because why would anyone buy that dangerous synthetic when they can get the legal, top quality, much safer real thing?

In the USA there are now 350,000 new jobs in the legal cannabis industry. That’s equivalent to 50,000 new jobs in Britain and those are jobs that have been taken away from criminals. All those workers now pay taxes too.  It’s a win-win solution

Today it seems that the main opposition to legalising cannabis comes from the organised crime gangsters and from our politicians. Why? All they ever do is come out with the same non-explanations as Boris Johnson has.  They don’t seem to want to discuss the subject at all and most of them, including Boris, have said they have used cannabis themselves!

In fact, in a video that is widely available on social media, in the year 2000 Boris Johnson asks why his “respectable neighbours who roll up a spliff and quietly smoke it together” are “in breach of the law”?  And he says “I think there is a danger that the government is becoming out-of-touch with what people are actually doing”.

The truth is that legalisation is inevitable.  Every day that our politicians put it off they cause more harm. Another child is sold highly potent, so-called ‘skunk’ on the street. Another young girl is groomed into using hard drugs by being offered some new clothes and a ‘bit of weed’. Another young man is stabbed to death in some stupid dispute over territory, the sort of argument that is dealt with by normal business methods in places where cannabis is legally regulated.

So next time you hear a politician being ‘tough on drugs’, realise that its not drugs he’s being tough on, it’s the people in your community.  Banning cannabis hasn’t worked, there is more of it consumed across the world than ever before. There is a choice, let the gangsters keep running it, terrorising our streets and communities or get tough on them!

Take away the cannabis trade from organised crime and take responsibility for it.  Control it.  Reduce its harms. Benefit from safer streets, increased tax revenue, more jobs, less crime. Ask your MP, whose side are you on?  Are you on our side, looking after us properly, or are you on the same side as the gangsters?

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 11, 2021 at 10:25 am

As the Best of Britain Dies, the Evil Spectre of Anslinger Rises in Steve Moore, Government Stool Pigeon and Traitor to the Cause.

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Harry Anslinger. Steve Moore.

They say bad news comes in threes and this morning we were greeted with the appalling news of another ignorance-based clampdown by the Home Office on CBD products.  Then, shortly after lunch, we heard that the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) which has been collaborating with the Food Standards Agency to destroy all the small businesses that created the CBD market, has gone into partnership with Trading Standards.  It will train Trading Standards officers to assist them with enforcement action against the small businesses which compete with ACI’s big business clients. These small businesses sell ‘real’ CBD, genuine whole plant extracts, while ACI is bulldozing regulators towards nasty, ineffective, isolate and synthetic-based products.

Finally we hear the terrible but not unexpected news that Captain Sir Tom Moore has succumbed to pneumonia, exacerbated by Covid-19.

RIP Captain Sir Tom Moore

Where Captain Sir Tom Moore represented the very best of British and was a symbol of hope and endurance for us all, the gone-to-seed figure of Steve Moore, head of the ACI, is the very opposite.  What cruel irony that they share the same surname!  When Paul Birch, the multimillionaire stoner, gave Steve Moore the funding he needed to launch his Big Pharma-inspired assault on the British cannabis market, he cannot have realised that he was unleashing a tyrannical, bullying monster, almost the reincarnation of Harry Anslinger, the evil force behind ‘reefer madness’ and the father of the war on drugs. The Birch-Moore cartel now has its tentacles into every aspect of the British cannabis market and is eyeing Europe as its next target. We must see that our neighbours are warned. A tie up with the EU bureaucracy would be exactly in line with Moore’s modus operandi.

Birch, who is known to suffer psychotic episodes, once resulting in an intervention from anti-cannabis advocate Lord Monson, provided Moore with the cash to buy up a long list of highly qualified scientists, lawyers and PR consultants. They have taken his thirty pieces of silver and set about the systematic destruction of the wonderful story of British enterprise and innovation that led the world in CBD products.  The contrast between the great Captain Tom and the ignoble, self-serving Moore could not be greater. The coronavirus has taken so much from us and only an individual tied to the sleaziest end of the Conservative Party could exploit it and turn it to his own disgusting advantage.

We should not lose heart though because now the enemy has revealed himself in all his sordid reality.  Across the Atlantic, a new, decent administration is about to decriminalise cannabis federally.  Moore’s advantage will be shortlived.  The prohibitionists in the Home Office and British establishment will shortly be trounced by market forces that are more powerful even than their dead hand, with resources that far exceed anything that Birch and Moore can muster.

It may be a few years yet but the immense benefits of real cannabis which for few short years as ‘real’ CBD have helped so many people in Britain will return.  When the day comes for Birch, Moore and their Gestapo of assistants to meet their maker, they will not do so with the honour and righteousness of Captain Tom but with a squalid record of ignominy and disgrace.

Written by Peter Reynolds

February 2, 2021 at 6:59 pm

My Predictions for Cannabis in the UK in 2021

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On medicinal cannabis, the senior clinicians and bureaucrats at NHS, NICE and the professional medical bodies will continue to do all they can to block access. Until key individuals are offered fat fees to run clinical trials they will continue to insist that this is the only form of evidence that is acceptable. They will continue to ignore and reject all evidence from overseas. The clamour from more and more patients will grow. The private clinics will boom but our political ‘leaders’ will continue to be impotent in the face of the vested interests of the medical establishment.

The Cancard will take off and police forces will welcome it as a sensible solution.  More and more people will grow their own and cannabis will become completely decriminalised by default.  Only if you’re behaving like an idiot or are engaged in large scale commercial grows and/or gangsterism will the police be interested.  Again our political ‘leaders’ will be useless and too scared of the tabloid media and their bigoted, poorly-informed backbenchers to do anything.  Meanwhile the cannabis trade will continue to drive county lines, knife crime, prostitution, modern slavery, all off the back of profits from cannabis but Boris and his buffoons will refuse to understand this or follow the evidence that legal regulation is the solution.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA), in collaboration with the big business lobbyists, The Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) , will succeed in getting all the multiples and major retailers to stop selling whole plant CBD extracts, which are what work and what consumers want. Dozens of small CBD companies who actually built this market will be put out of business by the FSA/ACI and hundreds of people will lose their jobs.  FSA/ACI will continue to ramp up their false propaganda that CBD can be toxic despite a complete absence of any real world evidence – all this with the intention of pricing small, artisan suppliers out of the market. Nasty, ineffective, isolate-based products will come to dominate the high street. Despite this, whole plant extracts will continue to be available online and the FSA will discover that it can’t enforce its rules because its definition of ‘novel food’ doesn’t actually fit genuine whole plant extracts.  They will bring prosecutions against some suppliers but these will fail once expert evidence is adduced.

The legal British cannabis market will continue to develop in faltering steps because of the obstacles inherent in the way the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 is applied. The government is terrified to undertake the wholesale reform that is urgently needed because of outdated and ignorant attitudes.  It’s so transfixed by the drugs issue that it won’t even make the small tweaks to regulations on industrial hemp, exempt products and licensing that would give a massive boost to business prospects.  I can see no chance of any progress until the Covid crisis is over and ministers have more bandwidth to look at other issues.  Even then it’s going to need some new blood in cabinet.  Although Boris Johnson himself probably does have the instinct for reform, he is surrounded by third rate ministers, most of whom could never be considered progressive and are hardly visionary or ambitious thinkers.

The Birch-Moore cartel will continue to try and monopolise the entire British cannabis space.  Paul Birch, the multimillionaire stoner who landed a fortune from shares in his brother’s business, provides the cash and Steve Moore, former architect of David Cameron’s damp squib ‘Big Society’ project, runs the show. Volteface, Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, the ACI, Hanway Associates, Familes4Access are all different faces of the same core team, all characterised by generous funding, a young, aggressive team and an arrogant disdain for everyone else in the market.  Birch’s money has definitely brought some welcome benefits and was the missing ingredient in achieving the media coverage which led to the legalisation of medicinal cannabis in 2018.  They took ideas and policies developed by other groups and added a well-funded PR operation because the reality is that however important your message, without the hard cash you just don’t get coverage on daytime TV and the main news programmes.  Aside from causing great division, particularly amongst the families campaigning for their epileptic children, the negative and malevolent aspects of their work is best demonstrated by the ACI’s manipulation of the CBD market and bullying of many small businesses.

I’m hopeful that at least in Scotland, which has the worst drug deaths record in Europe, there will be some progress on dealing with problematic hard drug use and its consequences.  The heroic actions of Peter Krykant, who is illegally running a mobile drugs consumption room in Glasgow and saving lives every day, have had a big impact.  This man deserves every bit as much praise as Captain Tom, Marcus Rashford or anyone else who has engaged in altruistic campaigning in 2020. He deserves a knighthood. As I write this, the latest reports suggest Nicola Sturgeon might even defy the dinosaurs in Westminster and fund appropriate harm reduction measures which are so desperately needed.

Until our political ‘leaders’ wake up to the fact that the entire criminal drugs market and the tens of billions it costs the UK are driven by the prohibition of cannabis there will be no real progress either on reducing the cost or improving public health.  The kids who are being stabbed on London’s streets, the young people who are trafficked and the vulnerable hard drug addicts who are being cuckooed as part of county lines dealing, it all starts with the criminal trade in cannabis.  That’s where the money comes from and until the market is taken away from the gangsters and properly regulated, things will only get worse.

Although we’ve all despaired about some aspects of the US political system, the progress on cannabis, even in Republican states, shows what real democracy can achieve. Local ballots have forced reluctant and often hostile politicians to comply with what the people want and make cannabis legally available.  The Biden-Harris team have promised federal decriminalisation and expungement of criminal records for all non-violent cannabis offences.  I think this will happen.  Even if the Republicans retain control of the Senate this issue has built up a head of steam that won’t be stopped. Remarkably, the one issue that transcends the terrible divides in American politics is cannabis.  If the Senate goes Democrat we could see much more far-reaching change.  And once the federal law on cannabis changes, you watch all the slimeball politicians throughout the rest of the world pretending that’s what they wanted all along.

Overall, I am optimistic. Hopefully, as we head through summer and into autumn next year, Covid will be behind us, we’ll all be back to earning a proper living and a lot closer to enjoying our cannabis in freedom, for pleasure, medicine or both.  My very best wishes and the compliments of the season.

Written by Peter Reynolds

December 24, 2020 at 12:51 pm

Review. Karma Coast CBD

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Karma Coast 1500mg CBD OIl

I hope you’ll take my word for it, that here are two of the best tasting and most effective CBD products on the market.  Karma Coast’s CBD oil and vape pen cartridges are as good as you can get and I have the experience and knowledge of this market to be able to make that statement with confidence.

Karma Coast CBD Vape Cartridge

I first sampled CBD oil back in about 2012.  Nobody knew anything about it back then and I wasn’t at all sure that this new angle on cannabis wasn’t just another scam or some internet myth.  There were some pretty extraordinary claims being made around Real Scientific Hemp Oil (RSHO) but with its deliberate play on the famous RSO (Rick Simpson Oil), that simply reinforced my scepticism.

Then a good friend of mine with an appalling catalogue of health problems, fibromyalgia, ulcerative colitis, sciatica and more, started to experience some amazing results.  It wasn’t quite raising Lazurus from the dead but it he did get up out of his wheelchair and walk across the room – something he hadn’t been able to do for years.

Fortunately, I’ve never had any severe health problems myself but I’d already been campaigning on medicinal cannabis for many years and this felt like a breakthrough.  Back then there was little prospect of legal access to medicinal cannabis but here was something that was legal and offered many of the same benefits.  It was revolutionary.

It was the medicinal benefits of CBD that caused this market to take off.  Still today the reason people buy CBD is to deal with health problems and whatever the law and the medical establishment says about it, it works very effectively for millions of people.

One issue that has always been a problem is the taste of CBD oil. It can be vile and although some like their medicine to taste bad, it’s been something that has put many people off.

So I am delighted to have discovered Karma Coast products.  The oil is delicious.  Not just bearable or OK but quite genuinely it has a gorgeous cannabis flavour.  It won’t be any hardship taking this every day and holding it under your tongue for four or five minutes to absorb it most effectively.  It’s also supplied in sensible strengths and sizes at reasonable prices.  The basic 10ml bottle contains 1500mg of CBD in a genuine whole plant extract for £75.00. That means that each drop is equivalent to 7.5mg of CBD. For me, four or five drops per day is the perfect dose and this little bottle will last well over a month.

The crucial point is that this is a genuine whole plant extract.  It preserves all the compounds that were in the low-THC cannabis plants (industrial hemp) from which it was extracted. Experience and an increasing amount of research shows that this is how to deliver the benefits of CBD. Isolate-based products simply don’t work as effectively.  The bad news is that if the Food Standards Agency (FSA) gets its way then isolate-based products are going to take over and dominate the market. It is being supported by a big business lobbyist organisation, the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI), which is intent on taking over the market and wiping out the small businesses like Karma Coast that are delivering products that actually work.  The good news is that the FSA has slipped up in its definitions. It doesn’t really understand what CBD products are and a genuine whole plant product like Karma Coast won’t be subject to the ‘novel foods’ rules it has introduced.

So to the vape cartridges. Vaping CBD is the most effective method of absorption there is.  It can get three or four times more CBD into your bloodstream than ingesting the same amount of oil. The effect doesn’t last as long though, so if you’re using CBD for pain, anxiety or as a sleep aid, you should take your main dose as oil and use a vape to top up or accelerate the effect you need.

The brilliant thing Karma Coast offers is a range of flavours and, harking back to my hash smoking teenage years, I chose the Moroccan Hash variety.  Wow!  It really does bring back memories and the taste is exactly right.  This is achieved by addng terpenes to the oil to match the cannabis flavour you’re looking for – and it really works.

So I’m very fortunate in that I get offered a lot of CBD products to try.  The best I can say is that I am very happy to spend my own money on Karma Coast.  I highly recommend these products.  Go to the company website for more details and to order: https://www.karmacoastcbd.co.uk/

 

 

 

Written by Peter Reynolds

December 8, 2020 at 5:01 pm

Review. ‘The CBD Book. The Essential Guide to CBD Oil’ by Mary Biles

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If you are looking for a basic guide to CBD, then this is the book for you. If you’re looking for a more advanced guide, with in-depth detail about research, then this is also the book for you.

In fact, even if you’re a doctor or scientist, looking for the most comprehensive, user-orientated information about CBD, this is a remarkable achievement by the author, Mary Biles, who I am fortunate to count as a friend and she can justifiably be very proud of it.

As writers in the cannabis space, Mary and I have followed similar paths, so I understand exactly the challenges she will have faced in writing this book and she has handled them wisely.  It is easy-to-read, not in the least dry but manages to pack in a great deal of valuable information, clearly explained scientific evidence and sensible advice which will be of great benefit to all readers.

Contents include the basic science of cannabis, cannabinoids, CBD and the endocannabinoid system; an excellent section on research into using CBD for many medical conditions; wellness; how to take CBD and some useful case studies.

Mary sticks to the science but has a deeper understanding that is not found in simplistic objectivity.  Experience, both her own and learned from others, shows that the absence of evidence does not mean CBD doesn’t work but also that more extreme claims need to be treated with healthy scepticism.

Highly recommended and I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

 

Written by Peter Reynolds

October 29, 2020 at 4:45 pm

Professor Les Iversen, Tightrope Walker and Unsung Hero of Cannabis Law Reform

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Leslie Iversen, born October 31 1937, died July 30 2020

Daily Telegraph obituary ‘Leslie Iversen, pioneering neuroscientist who studied the effects of drugs on the brain’

I’m sad that the latter years of Les Iversen’s life have been skipped over in this obituary. As with so many scientists who have had some influence in the political field, he had to tread a tightrope between scientific evidence and the ignorance, bigotry, prejudice of those in politics who are far more concerned with tabloid headlines than facts.

His chairmanship of the ACMD was conducted with great skill and enormous patience as politicians took decisions which were diametrically opposed to evidence. If Les had had his way, the medicinal benefits of cannabis would have been acknowledged far sooner and his knowledge would have cut through the vested interests of senior clinicians which are currently stalling progress on uptake of this most valuable medicine.

Les was appointed chair of ACMD following the disgraceful sacking of David Nutt who had the temerity to tell government the facts about relative drug harms. Les was less of an abrasive character than David Nutt although their professional opinions on government drugs policy were closely aligned. He continued to speak truth to power and, as he told me many times, was completely frustrated by politicians’ attitude to cannabis and their preference for the Daily Mail’s guidance on drugs policy rather than science.

From 2010, as the campaign for cannabis law reform became far more professional and began to attract support from more and more backbench MPs, it was immensely valuable to have someone who was strong and certain in advising ministers of the facts, even if they chose not to act on them. He must take a huge amount of credit for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis in 2018. He was immensely skilful at remaining in post in order to provide the best advice while actually telling ministers that their polices were foolish. He has never received the recognition for this that he is due.

Today’s ACMD is supine in comparison, crippled by legislation which has effectively castrated it and turned it into a committee that will confirm whatever the Home Secretary of the day requires. Scientists and clinicians, more than ever, are controlled by the big businesses and fat cats who want to determine drugs policy based on self-interest and prejudice rather than science. Les was one of the last of the noble breed of scientists who told the truth without fear or an overriding concern for their bank balance.

Written by Peter Reynolds

October 27, 2020 at 12:14 pm

Five Reasons Why Boris Johnson Should Legalise Cannabis Now

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1. Popularity

Polls confirm that a majority of British voters support reform of our cannabis laws. More than three-quarters are strongly supportive of medicinal cannabis.  There has been a sea change in attitude, also strongly accelerated by the rise of the CBD market, itself born entirely out of small, entrepreneurial British businesses. Boris could catch this wave, delight more than half of the electorate immediately with a bold, radical move and dispel much of the ‘nasty party’, authoritarian mood that has come out of the Covid crisis. Properly explained, a new policy can also deal with the concerns that still remain about cannabis. It should be presented as a solution to the four further reasons set out below and because, in 2020 no one wants to see their son, daughter, mother or father turned into a criminal just for cannabis.  A large majority of electors support this.

2. Mental health

For many years, politicians have been advocating that mental health should be treated with the same priority as physical health. The Conservative Party has promised it repeatedly over the past decade. For those that fear cannabis contributes to young people’s problems, legal regulation is, without doubt, the solution. Age limits and licensed rather than criminal distribution channels will minimuse underage use. Proper labelling and limits on THC content of licensed cannabis will protect against the negative effects of so-called ‘skunk’.  For the millions that we know already use cannabis actually to help with their mental health, particularly during lockdown, it will enable access to new, safely controlled and designed products with ideal ratios of CBD and other ingredients. These will be far preferable to the massive bill both in NHS expenditure and side effects that we currently pay for tranquilisers, anti-depressants, sleeping and anxiety medicines.

3. Tax revenue

The potential for an enormous net gain to the British economy, turning what is now only a drain on resources into a new revenue stream is huge. Serious, erudite work has been completed by a number of well-respected institutions. The most pessimistic estimate a net gain of about £1 billion. The most optimistic projections are 10 times as much. Looking to actual experience around the world, most likely is somewhere in the middle, perhaps around the £6.7 billion that the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit calculated in its 2011 study. As we emerge from the Covid crisis into a deep recession, cutting our costs and increasing our income are going to be vital and cannabis isn’t going away. We have to choose whether to waste money on it or make money from it. Cannabis legalisation won’t just cover its own costs but provide billions more that can be added to the public expenditure budget – and we are going to need every penny.

4. Jobs

About 250,000 people work in the legal cannabis industry in the USA and numbers are expected to grow significantly as legalisation expands. That’s equivalent to creating about 50,000 new jobs in the UK. A legally regulated cannabis industry would create huge investment in sophisticated cultivation and production facilities, distribution and retail channels. The CBD industry has already created hundreds of new businesses and thousands of new jobs in the way that only new industries can. We can already see that the push back from big business and big pharma that have missed out on this boom is about destroying jobs and stifling innovation. The path that the EU and the FSA are trying to force the CBD industry down is really about protectionism for the established pharmaceutical and supplement industries.  We are going to need new markets, new thinking and fresh ideas to create new jobs.

5. Crime and violence

The long held ‘gateway’ myth that consuming cannabis ‘leads on to harder drugs’ has been disproven over and over again by science. It’s still strangely prevalent amongst the poorly informed but even the UK government’s expert advisors formally rejected it in 2008. The laws against cannabis and the £6 billion criminal market that they have created is the gateway to deliquency, knife crime, county lines exploitation and hard drugs. The police and our political leaders have found themselves on the same side as organised crime, for they share the desire to keep cannabis banned. The public demand is not going away and a responsible government would act to regulate the market, to make it safer and to protect consumers. The criminal cannabis market is how young people get groomed and enticed into county lines and it’s what drives knife crime. It drives and funds much more serious crime. It is undermining our society. It really is one of the most idiotic, irrational and counterproductive of all government policies.  A legally regulated market will pull the rug from under this nightmare scenario.  As Canada has proved, within two years, around 50% of the market has already moved to legal channels and the damage caused by nearly a century of prohibition is gradually being undone.

Written by Peter Reynolds

October 3, 2020 at 4:30 pm