Dope Magazine: Medical Cannabis Takes Over Washington D.C.: Day 1 of Americans for Safe Access Conference

Summary: Dope Magazine reviews the first day of the National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference, hosted last weekend by Americans for Safe Access in Washington, D.C. MAPS Founder Rick Doblin, Ph.D., spoke during the conference about MAPS’ upcoming clinical study of marijuana for PTSD, and the future of marijuana research in the United States. “The NIDA monopoly is the fundamental obstruction—68 million dollars a year to grow cannabis that doesn’t meet our research needs. The monopoly is doomed—there’s no way to sustain it,” explains Doblin.

Originally appearing here.

Regardless of your opinion on medical cannabis, the first day of the Americans for Safe Access Unity Conference in Washington D.C. would be sure to make you think, laugh, and likely shed a tear.

In a presentation from Rick Doblin of MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies, he noted that the ever-evolving conversation surrounding cannabis is continuing to shed light on the therapeutic benefits of the plant.

“We need a federally approved protocol for importing cannabis,” cited Doblin, explaining that the plants being grown in Canada and Israel are better suited for medicinal research, and cost far less. He further elaborated that MAPS has successfully imported psychedelic substances for medicinal research purposes, candidly noting, “It shouldn’t be more difficult to study cannabis than LSD.”

MAPS is currently coordinating a multi-million dollar study in Colorado wherein 76 veterans diagnosed with PTSD will receive cannabis as a potential therapy. While a ground-breaking study, it is important to note that MAPS has little intention on dealing with further governmental interference—including obtaining their cannabis from the infamous NIDA facility in Mississippi—currently the only federally-approved cannabis research facility in the United States. While NIDA is rumored to have plants up to 12% THC, Doblin was quick to note that those numbers are pathetic when it comes to what is available in medical marijuana markets:

“The NIDA monopoly is the fundamental obstruction—68 million dollars a year to grow cannabis that doesn’t meet our research needs. The monopoly is doomed—there’s no way to sustain it.”

An emotional turning point in the day’s conference featured a co-presentation from Patrick and Beth Collins, the parents of Jennifer Collins, a young epilepsy patient who recently received respite from what had grown into over 300 seizures a day via treatment with THC-A oil. As her father passionately proclaimed, “One of the defining things of being a parent is you will do anything for your child. This makes us a very different messenger with a very different message.”

Beth and Jennifer recently spent a year in Colorado, separated from the rest of their family, seeking proper treatment for Jennifer’s condition. As Jennifer’s mother said, “It is sad and ridiculous that in our country we have to go through so much for treatment.” As if one family’s suffering wasn’t enough, the Collins’ were just one of 250 families that had relocated to treat their child’s medical conditions to a state that would permit it. Thankfully, the treatment received in Colorado reduced the seizures to as few as ten daily, as well as drastically improved the emotional and educational reality for Jennifer. We’re talking Ds and Fs to straight As here. . .

In the end, while the speakers were nothing short of remarkable, it was the individual sitting next to me who struck me the most—Mary Ruth Hunter. Here, I came across a nurse with 23 years of experience from the cannabis unfriendly state of North Carolina. She chose to spend her personal savings, including a $600 conference ticket, to attend this event solo, purely as a learning experience. If that isn’t an indication that Americans for Safe Access were on point with their conference slogan—Wellness is Winning—then nothing is.