Sunday, 11 September 2011

One quarter of our prescription medicines are derived from plants.

We derive one quarter of all our prescription medicines from the rain forests and other plants. Curare, an anaesthetic and muscle relaxant, ipecac, an emetic to induce vomiting, quinine for preventing malaria, and the opium poppy and the cannabis plant. Asprin the most common painkiller is essentially an analgesic derived from acetyl-salicylates . These plant extracts date back to the father of medicine, Hippocrates who derived the painkiller from willow bark in ancient times.

This week. Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne has come out to disappoint many thousands of New Zealanders over his refusal to carry out medical marijuana trials. I seriously can't imagine his reasoning for this. I would think that the relief cannabis provides to many thousands of people in the community will result in some backlash.

There are several high profile New Zealanders who represent all the best reasons to make a medical exemption for them to be able to use cannabis, unimpeded by the law.
The first was Neville Yates of Christchurch (and Daniel Christian) who has been an amputee in a wheelchair since losing his leg in accident. His desire to be free from Opiates led him to use cannabis. The Government did not agree and ten years ago Neville spent a very bad Christmas in prison.

He is not alone, the battle raged on and a number of people with illnesses that often left them wheelchair bound have found cannabis to work very effectively.
The brain has developed with cannabis being part of the developmental journey and we have an anandamide pathway for cannabis with  receptors which indicate this has been a normal part of our evolution. Essentially our bodies can produce and receive the chemicals to manage pain.
Another person, Peter Davy, who was not himself much of a user of cannabis as a carer of his terminally ill partner. He found after research that cannabis was beneficial to her in reducing her spasticity. An all night vigil was held by a group of supporters from all over New Zealand. The spotlight is being placed on this issue and it is unlikely to be dimmed.
The latest to defend his right for both himself and others to use cannabis medicinally is Billy McKee. In Levin, Billy has been a staunch activist for medical Marijuana. Green Cross is an Organisation dedicated to providing high quality cannabis to people with a range of medical conditions. Cannabis provides both comfort and relief to many people. People have been using cannabis for thousands and it is time to recognise its benefits and end the prejudice against the cannabis users.
A more interesting factoid is that the numbers using anti-depressants have trebled in use from 1994 to 2004. Isn't that more worrying?

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