The Dongola Times

(Anachronistic) Dispatches from the Kingdom of Makuria.
01st of March, 2013

Don’t Let Them Penicillinise Marijuana

Less than 100 years after penicillin was discovered, the problem of anti-biotic resistance looms larger than most non-experts are able to fathom. But just to give you a simple metric for how serious the problem is: humanity has lost the battle against anti-biotic resistance and now no new anti-biotics are being made. The war was lost and we accepted defeat.

Why did this happen? Because the Western way of doing medicine is to isolate and purify, to target and calibrate, to specify and regulate. The little variations that naturally occur in everything in the universe are rather uncomfortable to a modern mind. These variations, although they seem to get in the way, keep the bacteria surprised and avoid the resistance. Synthesised chemicals and modern drugs are at their best when they do not vary at all; in other words, the good, resilient medicines are considered crude and stupid. The best treatment of this modern mental disposition, and the sheer extremes of its implications, can be found in the tome written by Prof. Iain McGilchrist, The Master and his Emissary. It is possibly the greatest treatment of this subject that humans will ever create.

Anyway, long story short, we went mad for anti-biotics because they seemed to fix all our problems while themselves being a simple thing. Most of our problems were because of microbes. Penicillin, because it could do one thing (kill microbes) ended up doing many, many things. For example, most anti-biotics in use today are used in farms, to make animals gain weight. How does that work? Some bacteria prevent obesity, which is advantageous in food animals. (Ironically, these bacteria in question are Helicobacter pylori, which was once the target of an extermination campaign, but they got resistant.) It is because of massive feeding of anti-biotics to farm animals that you get the drug-resistant strains of E. coli that periodically ravage American consumers. Anyway, this is how you go from a drug that does one thing well, to a miracle drug that does all sorts of unexpected good things, then to a wasted opportunity.

Now we have marijuana. Like anti-biotics, it is very old. But modern attitudes towards it risk “penicillinising” it. Marijuana does one thing, which is to produce cannabinoids. This one thing fixes all sorts of diverse problems, because many of our problems are modulated by our naturally-occurring endocannabinoid system. This is how cannabis goes from reducing pain, to killing cancerous tumours, to relaxing people, to creating appetite. But, keeping to type, the Western mindset is now isolating particular single chemicals and breeding other things out or just chemically washing them away. The benign forms of this corruption are the breeding high-THC strains of marijuana, which got this close to having none of the extremely crucial cannabidiol, simply because it was not useful for the single, narrow, over-focussed purpose that the modern Western mind was pursuing. And yet it gets worse, with the market having pure, synthetic THC as the pill Marinol. Pure THC is not the best idea. The result is impossible to predict, except for one thing: such cannabinoid-based medicine will not be natural, and will therefore carry the huge burden of modern human’s ignorant hubris, and will be dangerous in the long run.

Please: have enough wisdom to understand the dangerous narrowness of your point of view. Trust the whole plant. Trust the natural system. Don’t use un-natural ratios of cannabinoids. Don’t let them penicillinise marijuana.