Opinion » Letters

Fed. legalization is needed to learn cannabis' health merits

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I just read about the research study from Oregon State University, which found that consuming two cannabinoids (called cannabigerolic acid, or CBG-A, and cannabidiolic acid, or CBD-A) could prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Awesome! But the study falls short.

CBG-A and CBD-A are both derived from hemp (i.e., part of the cannabis sativa species, but without the psychoactive component, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC). Both CBG and CBD have an abundance of cannabidiolic acid, which has the potential to bind onto COVID-19 spike proteins and prevent further infection. THC-A also has this acid (and in abundance!). However, researchers cannot study THC because it is still federally classified as a Schedule 1 drug and it would violate OSU's policy.

This is a huge shortcoming, and it serves as another reminder that we are overdue for legalizing marijuana federally.

Currently, 36 states have legalized medical marijuana. The CDC estimates 48.2 million people in the U.S. (of a 329.5 million population) consume marijuana. That means approximately 82 percent of the population is missing out on cannabis's health benefits, such as the potential to prevent COVID-19. If more clinical studies were allowed to study THC, there would be more information about cannabis's effect on our health. And with more information it's likely that nonrecreational consumers will be more willing to try cannabis for its specific health benefits.

I say this because I was a nonrecreational consumer who only turned to cannabis out of sheer desperation. I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in 2014 after 11 years of repeated misdiagnosis and consistently debilitating health. I tried myriad Western medicines, but cannabis was the only remedy that brought me back to a state of normalcy and stabilized my quality of life. The benefits were so significant that I started cultivating my own cannabis so that I could ensure a sufficient supply of high quality (organic) cannabis.

There are many similar stories to mine, and probably many more with 82 percent of the population not realizing the health potential. If cannabis remains federally illegal, we are inhibiting research and delaying major discoveries on its health benefits.

Sara Rotman

Busy Bee's Organics

Buellton

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