Last Week in Weed (Issue 8)
Well, we’re officially a month into 2021 and things in the cannabis industry are continuing to grow and grow. There has been a lot of news this week in the US with discussions about possible federal legislation but there isn’t really enough to warrant me covering that just yet.
So this week we’ll be looking at Kanabo announcing that it is to be the first ‘medical cannabis’ company to float on the London stock exchange. The six companies that France has selected to supply its ‘medical cannabis’ pilot program due to start in a few months and finally the tragic suicide of a 23-year-old woman that her mother is blaming on cannabis.
Israeli vaporiser company first to float on London stock exchange
An Israeli-founded vaporiser company called Kanabo recently announced that it is to be the first “medical cannabis” company to float on the London stock exchange ever. The originally Israeli-based company was bought in 2019 by a ‘cash shell company’ based in the UK called Spinnaker.
The VapePod vaporiser uses oil-filled CCell-powered carts that are ‘tamper-proof’ to prevent ‘misuse’. The company says that each inhalation gives the user a precise 1mg dose. Their website makes statements meant to downplay the efficacy of combusting cannabis over any other form of ingestion. This is just not clear given the limited data on the long-term effects of vaporising compared to combusting cannabis. (without tobacco)
This move was made possible by The Financial Conduct Authority who announced back in September 2020 that “medical cannabis” companies were allowed to trade on the London stock exchange. However, companies that sell “recreational cannabis” anywhere in the world – even if it’s legal in that region, would remain banned from trading due to the Proceeds of Crime Act.
“For medicinal cannabis and cannabis oil companies with overseas activities, the company will need to satisfy us that their activities would be legal if carried out in the UK,” – The FCA
Given that what we discussed in issue 4 of Last Week In Weed, It is interesting that the company is choosing to float on the London stock exchange rather than in Tel Aviv on the TASE. Regardless, the company has managed to leverage £6m from their investors and are valuing the company at £23.2m. Shares will become available at the start of trade on 16th February as Kanabo makes its stock market debut.
“This is great and overdue news for the medicinal cannabis sector in the UK, both for medicinal cannabis companies themselves, but also for patients, who have yet to receive easy access to the products they need” – Nick Davis, chief executive of the law firm Memery Crystal
The VapePod seemed familiar to me when researching this blog. After some digging around in a box from my US road trip a few years ago. Sure enough, I found that I already own the exact same vaporiser only it is branded as Indigopro.
I actually rather rated this vape when I picked it up from a dispensary in either Colorado or Oregon. The only issue I had was nowhere else that I traveled stocked the carts. A somewhat reoccurring theme to my US road trip.
France selects companies to supply its ‘medical cannabis’ trail
Back in October 2020, the French Minister of Solidarity and Health signed a lengthy piece of legislation authorizing the creation of a small-scale two-year trial to supply ‘medical cannabis’ in the country. The trial will supply free cannabis and cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) to a small population of 3000 patients.
In order to achieve this, the French Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) announced that it would publish guidelines on how companies could apply to supply to the trial. Firstly, flower and CBMPs will have to meet pharmaceutical-quality standards guidelines and will only be used as a ‘last resort’ instead of a first step intervention.
The successful companies would be expected to foot the entire bill for the short-term experiment. From production costs to securing distribution networks, the companies are to ensure no additional cost is paid by either the French government or the end consumer.
The winning companies’ products would have to meet amongst others Good Agricultural Practices, Good Manufacturing Practices, Pharmaceutical-quality standards, part of the European Pharmacopoeia, and many other European regulations. All while taking the sole responsibility for maintaining the pharmacovigilance of the program.
The patients will also have to meet the criteria by following consumption guidelines by following the dosage, only vaping the supplied flowers, and having one of the limited qualifying conditions listed below.
- Refractory neuropathic pain.
- Certain forms of drug-resistant epilepsy.
- Certain intractable symptoms in oncology linked to cancer or anticancer treatment.
- Palliative situations.
- Painful spasticity from multiple sclerosis
- Pathologies of the central nervous system.
This week it was announced by the ANSM that it had selected six international cannabis companies to supply free ‘medical cannabis’ to the countries small pilot program. The six countries represent four potential power-house nations when it comes to future international dominance of the emerging global cannabis market. Australia, Canada, Israel, and the UK.
The exceedingly high barriers to entry meant that in reality, only a handful of players were ever in with a chance of securing a contract. The companies that won were Tilray and Aurora from Canada, Althea and Little Green Pharma from Australia, EMMAC life sciences from the UK, and Panaxia based in Israel. Tilray’s share price rose by 10% following the announcement.
The first prescription is expected to be fulfilled by the end of March this year. You can read more about which companies will be supplying what products in this great article by MJBIZDaily.com
Mother claims her daughter’s suicide was related to cannabis
The final story we’ll look at this week is the tragic story of a young woman’s suicide that her mother is blaming on her cannabis consumption. It was reported in several mainstream papers in the UK this week that a 23-year-old girl named Emily Rowling committed suicide by jumping from a multi-story car park in Nottingham on May 14th, 2019.
Image of Emily
The woman’s mother claims that she became addicted to cannabis and became increasingly paranoid the more she smoked. An inquest into Emily’s death was held at Derby Coroner’s court and returned a verdict of suicide.
Speaking after the inquest Emily Rowling’s mother, Kerry Head said “they say no one has died from taking cannabis, but I disagree, my daughter has” She then goes on to talk about how her actions detrimentally affected her daughter’s mental health.
As reported in the Daily mail and several of Reach Plc’s properties this week Kerry Head decided to cut off her daughter and not giving her money as she would just spend it on cannabis. She was advised by an unnamed ‘drug helpline’ that Emily would only help herself when she hit rock bottom. A classic harmful and baseless prohibitionist refrain.
“We would give her cash cards she could spend at Asda for food so she couldn’t spend cash on cannabis, but we later found out she was buying video games with them and selling them to get the cash” – Kerry Head, Emily’s mother
Emily, who was just 23, had previously been diagnosed with Emotionally unstable Personality Disorder also known as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Which is one of the most fatal mental health conditions, with some 10% dying by suicide according to the latest research.
It is also one of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions in modern psychiatry meaning that she may well have also suffered from a schizoid type disorder that went unchecked – as she refused to engage much with mental health services. More than likely due to the continual attacks on her cannabis consumption.
Cannabis has like any other psychoactive substance or severe traumatic event can precipitate a psychosis type event but it is not directly responsible without underlying or other excising issues. Cannabis use is indeed reported higher in those suffering from psychosis, but this doesn’t equal causation. The incredible Dr. Carl Hart breaks it down wonderfully in an article in the Guardian newspaper.
In our extensive 2016 review of the literature, we concluded that those individuals who are susceptible to developing psychosis (which usually does not appear until around the age of 20) are also susceptible to other forms of problem behavior, including poor school performance, lying, stealing and early and heavy use of various substances, including marijuana. Many of these behaviors appear earlier in development, but the fact that one thing occurs before another also is not proof of causation.
It is also worth noting that 10-fold increases in marijuana use in the UK from the 1970s to the 2000s were not associated with an increase in rates of psychosis over this same period, further evidence that changes in cannabis use in the general population are unlikely to contribute to changes in psychosis.- Dr. Carl Hart (Guardian 2019)
There is no doubt in my mind that her mother’s ignorance of why her daughter was choosing to continue to consume cannabis despite her best attempts to control and stop her daughter played a large part in her death.
Isolation and the loss of close familial connections are all too common in drug-dependent individuals but this is most often due to the continual stigma surrounding drugs, the consequences of prohibition, and the disgusting advice handed out by ‘drug helplines’ and anti-drug organisations around the world that tell loved ones to abandon addicts and treat them with ‘tough love’ when what they really need is actual love and support for the system.
If young Emily was, in fact, a borderline then she may have actually found a great deal of refuge from the daily hell that can be your BPD brain – trust me I should know. I am borderline and I utilise cannabis every day to help me mitigate the most destructive and vicious tenancies and traits of this condition.
“It was difficult to try and get her to seek help. I was so worried about her, but she wouldn’t let us help,” says Kerry. This sounds all too familiar to me, I have a lot of lived experience in this arena as I had my own dependency issues with various drugs over the years that were greatly compounded by my family and doctors ignorance of how these drugs were actually helping me.
All they could see was the emotional pain and turmoil that I was in and assumed it was the drugs and not the lifetime of trauma and various consequential mental health conditions that I was fighting at the time. It took a lot of hard work, research, and convincing but I finally was able to demonstrate to my family and healthcare professionals that their demonisation and dismissal of my valid reasons for consuming these various substances only compounded my distress and impede my recovery.
A legalised cannabis market here in the UK would allow for the profits of sales to go to help fund the small minority of consumers that may experience dependency or unwanted side effects rather than just potentially fund serious criminal activities.
There is growing evidence to support the efficacy of cannabis to treat a variety of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. If only the British establishment wasn’t so attached to the antiquated notion of ‘skunk psychosis’ then we could actively be helping individuals like Emily instead of driving them to their tragic death.
Cannabis didn’t kill Emily Rowling, cannabis prohibition did. The ignorant ideology of prohibition kills consumers of all drugs every day with its unceasing stigma and shame. Unfortunately, this “bright and fun” young woman’s death is just another tragic reminder that the stigma, propaganda, and ignorance of reefer madness is far more dangerous than cannabis could ever be.
Written by Simpa for TheSimpaLife.com