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Standardizing Medicinal Cannabis Extracts

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By Owen Smith

In a previous Lift blog I mentioned a number of medical cannabis products that are being developed around the world. All of these products require at least the basic extraction of the medicinal ingredients from the bulk of the cannabis plant. Although it is difficult pioneering work, medical cannabis groups have been diligently attempting to meet the high standards of modern medicine by producing a standardized product from the extract of whole plant medicinal cannabis.

In California, C-3 Patients Association have released “a patent pending advancement in standardizing and administering natural cannabinoids in a pill.” On their website, C-3 refer to Idrasil™ as “Nature’s ‘Tree of Life’,” in reference to the central world tree of Norse mythology Yggdrasil. Although it is only available to California citizens, C-3 states that Idrasil “will diminish their pain, aid their sleep and enhance their quality of life as a holistic alternative to addictive opiates and life threatening narcotics.” (source)

Idrasil is an all-natural cannabis plant extract containing the full spectrum of naturally occurring cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids), with a 1:1:1 ratio of CBD, CBN and THC. (source) Idrasil is a tablet containing 25 mg of cannabis extract, offering a “consistent, standardized, aseptically processed, bacteria free, non addictive alternative to smoking cannabis.” By providing patients with a mainstream all natural nutraceutical, Idrasil hopes to eliminate negative social stigmas associated with medical cannabis use. (source)

For the many Canadians in need of cannabis medicine who seek to relieve their suffering with an extract, compassion clubs/cannabis dispensaries have diligently pioneered these essential alternatives. However, as previously mentioned, since the judge’s ruling on Apr. 13, 2012, persons in British Columbia may now legally produce their own. Extraction techniques allow for the utilization of previously wasted materials like leaf and stalk, increasing the overall medicinal yield of the plant. Licensed cannabis producers in Canada have expressed interest in making standardized extract products. Any day now a ruling from the BC Court of Appeal will offer clarity to the situation.

There are many Canadians, even children, who are currently suffering unnecessarily due to unscientifically guided medical cannabis laws. To prevent MMPR producers, patients and caregivers from providing these safer standardized forms of this medicine seems to lack any rationale. Just south of the border in Oregon, 9 year old ‘Brave McKayla’ uses a non-psychoactive Raw Cannabis juice alongside a CBD rich cannabis extract to treat her Lymphoblastic Leukemia, the results are clear to see (VIDEO). This shortfall is the Canadian medical cannabis regulations is no more evident than in the case of Liam McKnight, a 6 year old from Ontario who suffers from Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy. Under the current rules, he cannot legally access a non-psychoactive CBD rich concentrated extract, essentially limiting him to smoking or vaporizing. As more of these cases emerge, I echo the sentiments of Liams father:

“I really hope that somebody at Health Canada or somebody in this government just finally stands up and says, ‘OK, this is ridiculous. We need to help these kids.’” (source)

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