Trinidad: Demand growing for medical marijuana

(Trinidad Guardian) Just over two months ago when the T&T Guardian fea­tured Javed Baksh as part of its se­ries on the de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion and pos­si­ble le­gal­i­sa­tion of mar­i­jua­na, the news­room re­ceived a call from a man who had been suf­fer­ing for years with chron­ic pain and was des­per­ate­ly seek­ing re­lief.

That man, whose name is be­ing with­held to pro­tect his iden­ti­ty, want­ed the num­ber for Baksh’s com­pa­ny Grass­Lab.

Af­ter years of pop­ping painkillers, the man start­ed to smoke mar­i­jua­na to help him over­come his pain. How­ev­er, a run-in with po­lice of­fi­cers af­ter buy­ing some mar­i­jua­na one night last year caused him to re­think that strat­e­gy.

The po­lice did not charge him, but he did not want to risk get­ting caught again as he felt he would not be as lucky a sec­ond time. So he stopped smok­ing mar­i­jua­na and re­vert­ed to painkillers. How­ev­er, his liv­er has been af­fect­ed by the con­stant pill pop­ping.

But the man even­tu­al­ly called Grass­Lab and af­ter in­ter­act­ing with Baksh be­gan to pur­chase cannabid­i­ol (CBD) oils there. He has been do­ing so for two months now. That man is just one of a num­ber of peo­ple who have now start­ed to use CBD oil as a form of al­ter­na­tive med­i­cine.

Speak­ing to the T&T Guardian yes­ter­day, Baksh said the de­mand for the CBD oils for the treat­ment of ail­ments such as can­cer, chron­ic pain and anx­i­ety is on the rise in Trinidad and To­ba­go. In some cas­es, per­sons are call­ing him af­ter be­ing rec­om­mend­ed to do so by their doc­tors. CBD is one of the two ma­jor com­pounds found in the cannabis plant.

“The hu­man body has an en­do­cannabi­noid sys­tem that re­ceives and trans­lates sig­nals from cannabi­noids, so we re­quire cannabi­noids. In­ter­est­ing­ly enough, cannabis is not the on­ly plant with cannabi­noids, you can ac­tu­al­ly find it in kale, spinach, you can find it in echi­nacea, gin­ger, but cannabis has the most abun­dant con­cen­tra­tion of cannabi­noids,” Baksh said.

CBD oils can be im­port­ed and sold here once it comes from the hemp plant. CBD from the mar­i­jua­na plant, how­ev­er, car­ries a high­er lev­el of Tetrahy­dro­cannabi­nol (THC) and is still il­le­gal in this coun­try.

“You don’t on­ly have to smoke (cannabis), con­sid­er CBD oils as an op­tion. Do some re­search, it works for a lot of peo­ple, the pa­tients I am treat­ing they are hav­ing a lot of pos­i­tive re­sults, it is a re­al­ly good op­tion. Un­for­tu­nate­ly. I can­not pro­vide every­thing the way I want be­cause of the le­gal sta­tus but I can still help with CBD,” Baksh said.

Baksh said he hoped the Gov­ern­ment will move to­ward de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion of mar­i­jua­na soon.

“The goal for Grass­Lab is to have a dis­pen­sary where I can have it re­al­ly dis­pensed as a med­ica­tion. In truth and fact right, now, giv­en the state of the leg­is­la­tion, I don’t even have ac­cess to some of the med­ica­tion that I need for some of my crit­i­cal pa­tients, so I am hop­ing that at least de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion could al­low me to im­port the THC com­po­nents I need for my pa­tients, that is the main vi­sion and to have a li­cense to pro­vide for pa­tients the way I would like to,” Baksh said.

Baksh com­ments came two days af­ter the Rasta­far­i­an move­ment host­ed a ral­ly at Wood­ford Square in which they and oth­er ad­vo­cates called for the de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion of mar­i­jua­na.


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