Opening Pandora’s box

Last month, Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer, declared that allowing medical use of cannabis was akin to “opening Pandora’s box.”

Her remark made headlines.

I mean it’s a pretty scary parallel she’s drawing.

In mythology Pandora’s box was said to contain: “sickness, death and many other unspecified evils”.

But that’s what you do in rhetoric, you use emotive phrases to manipulate your audience. That’s fair enough, it’s been going on for thousands of years.

Dame Sally Davies made this particular remark during a parliamentary committee on medical cannabis.

Her point was that medical cannabis might not be as safe or effective as others think it is – and so its medical use should be curtailed.

“There is a belief that it words for many conditions… I do have concerns about safety.”

She went on: “Without an evidence base, we cannot license these drugs and move them into whatever turns out to be their rightful place in medicine.”

This comes after Professor Mike Barnes, from Newcastle University, showed that only six people have been given medical cannabis perceptions since the change in the law – none of which were on the NHS.

“The legislation has had no impact on the health of people due to the lack of education of the medical community and overcautious guidelines produced by the Royal College of Physicians and the British Paediatric Neurology Association,” he said in the British Medical Journal.

The reason I brought up that Pandora’s box comment is because in terms of medical cannabis, Pandora’s box was opened more than a decade ago.

Britain is not the epicentre of medical research. And when it comes to medical research into cannabis, we haven’t even left the starting blocks.

Cutting-edge research into medical cannabis has been going on for decades, out in the desert

Which country is the world leader in cannabis research? It’s not the US, or even Canada, but Israel.

Professor Raphael Mechoulam, a scientist at Hebrew University, was the first person to isolate the major psychoactive and non-psychoactive compounds in cannabis.

This was back in 1964.

According to The Jerusalem Post:

He learned that researchers had isolated morphine from opium over 150 years ago and cocaine from coca leaves a century prior, yet no one had tried to understand cannabis and its psychoactive and non-psychoactive ingredients.

Today roughly 147 million people use medical marijuana for effective relief of various ailments, including AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, cancer treatment side effects and Parkinson’s. Experts believe these numbers will grow exponentially in the coming years, and Mechoulam is now widely recognized as the godfather of medical marijuana, the high priest of his field.

So although in the UK research into medical cannabis is practically non-existent. Around the world, it’s been doing on for more than half a century.

And while our politicians and medical gatekeepers close their ears to the wealth of research out there, the US has stood up and taken notice:

From Forbes:

Cannabis is still federally illegal, so while more than 30 US states allow doctors to recommend it, there is very little medical testing of the substance in America. In Israel however, medical cannabis has been legal for more than ten years and studies on the plant’s ability to alleviate the side-effects of cancer and ease other diseases have been published in medical journals. Now Tikun Olam, an Israeli company that has been studying medical cannabis for over a decade, is bringing their tested strains and proprietary genetics to the US market.

Cannabis has created 296,000 new jobs in the US alone

In fact, the cannabis industry is now the fastest growing job market in the US.

According to a recent report by Leafly and Whitney Economics, in 2018 the cannabis industry created 64,389 new full-time US jobs.

That total comes up to 296,000 when you count the jobs indirectly related to the industry.

When you look at the reforms the US and particularly Canada have made to cannabis legislation over the past few years, it makes you wonder if the UK will follow suit.

Sam Volkering certainly believes it will. I was lucky enough to see a presentation he gave on investing in the cannabis boom last month. You’ll be hearing more about that in a few weeks.

Needless to say, the investment opportunities Sam has tacked down certainly have our office excited.

To go back to our opening statement from Dame Sally Davies, Pandora’s box is already open.

It was opened before humans even began to walk the Earth. Cannabis far outdates our own species.

And doctors have been treating conditions with cannabis around the world for more than a decade.

And as the myth says, there is no way to cannabis back into the box now.

But I did think it was rather poignant that Dame Sally Davies chose that particular analogy to strengthen her argument. As the myth goes, the last thing that remained inside Pandora’s box was hope.

If you would like to find out how to invest in the booming cannabis industry, you’ll be pleased to know that Eoin Treacy has a number of cannabis stock picks in his Frontier Tech Investor portfolio.

This is an area he has been interested in for a number of years, and when California and Canada’s cannabis votes passed, he was ready to show subscribers how to get in on the action.

If you’d like to see his top cannabis stock picks, you can get a trial to Frontier Tech Investor here.
Until next time,

Harry Hamburg
Editor, Exponential Investor

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