Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Medical marijuana and pesticides

Sister Jane was one of the pioneers of the Medical Marijuana movement. She devoted her life to it and it killed her.

One of her last acts was an attempt to revive the Medical Cannabis Association which she organized in 1998. On page 35 of the Spring 2005 issue of O'Shaughnessy's, following the article by Fred Gardner announcing her illness, is found her article Can Trade Group Set Standards for Growers and Dispensaries?

It was hoped that all dispensaries and providers of medical cannabis would be a part of this organization, which would not only insure the safety of the medicine but provide a tool with which to regulate cultivation and distribution in the best interest of the patients.

The hope did not pan out. Most dispensaries exist in a bubble, competing for quality product and patient/members. Their commitment to research and education is nil. The average dispensary staff person has no idea what an appropriate dosage or strain would be for any particular condition, and most patients themselves are unaware of their own preferences.

She envisioned the organization as a method of grading and tracking producers and strains with a simple code such as B0045ROMULANI100S0100904. This would be on every package in barcode format, easily scannable. The first character is the safety rating: A, B, or C. Next the vendor identification, the strain name, the ratio of Indica to Sativa, and the date. Ideally, a sample from each crop would be sent to a lab and tested for pesticide contamination as well as spectroscopic analysis of the cannabinoid profile.

She hoped to combine this information with feedback from patients and the conditions for which they were using cannabis to create a database that would show what varieties and what dosages are effective for any given condition.

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