The Uncertain Impact of Cannabis on COVID
The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 highlights the need for rescheduling cannabis so that it is no longer considered a Schedule 1 Narcotic. Green Reine Executive Producer Shawna Vercher was asked by High Times for her thoughts on cannabis’ potential impact on the pandemic, and how America would have some better understanding of the plant if we had been able to study it if not for its Schedule 1 status.
How does the Schedule 1 status of the plant impact research in the U.S.? Is there any effect when studying cannabis and COVID-19?
The limits to necessary research are staggering. Hospitals, universities, and independent research facilities risk losing grants, government funding, and even research personnel if they decide to include cannabis in their studies or trials. Even when research moves forward, the need for COVID data is so pressing that any additional regulatory red tape or delay might cause us to miss the window we have to help.
“I believe one of the most powerful motivators on the cannabis research front will be our competitive and collaborative spirit with other countries.”
How does the U.S. scheduling of cannabis impact the global community’s research?
There are scientific consequences to having an entire part of the planet self-exclude from medical research. However another societal impact is that successes in cannabis research are not taken as seriously by peers or by the American public.
Until cannabis is given the same consideration as pharmaceutical drugs, we will never fully unlock its potential to heal or to alleviate pain.
Does restrictions on U.S. research influence lawmakers to deschedule/reschedule going forward?
Knowing and understanding the restrictions on research has not been enough yet to get certain lawmakers off of center when it comes to descheduling cannabis. However, I believe one of the most powerful motivators on the research front will be our competitive and collaborative spirit with other countries.
As scientists in other nations start to unlock the potential of cannabis and make headway with research, it will act as a motivator for the United States to get off of the sidelines and remove the restrictions in place.
With the U.S. limiting its research, which nations are leading the way of studying cannabis, specifically in regards to COVID-19?
So far a majority of the known research has been led by Israel, Spain, Germany and Denmark, with Canada now moving aggressively forward with its own research as well. However, these countries have been diligent in attempting to persuade the United States to come to the table and went as far as hosting the Global Cannabis Research Summit in America in the hopes that we would get on board.
It’s difficult to know if there was any success from that summit because the pandemic hit weeks later and that has shifted the focus and the priorities for everyone.
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Executive Producer, Green Reine (Reine Media)
Shawna Presley Vercher is an award-winning political media strategist and social justice advocate. She is a widely-acclaimed speaker, recognized for powerfully advancing the conversation on a number of humanitarian issues. Her Top 25 book, A Fearless Voice: How a National Scandal Made Me an Advocate for Building a Better America, has been renowned as an honest and heartbreaking look at our unjust institutions and how we can work together as Americans to improve them.
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