A couple months ago, my editorial on the importance of getting the COVID vaccine generated some interesting responses. One in particular caught my attention. It was an email from a reader who chastised me for “promoting Big Pharma” in a cannabis business magazine. The reader went on to explain that cannabis and CBD have been proven to treat and cure COVID — a statement that is patently false.
Before going any further, let me explain a couple of things: First of all, I’m no fan of Big Pharma. While I will acknowledge there have been many huge advances in the medical field made by pharmaceutical companies, many of these companies have also been guilty of price gouging, collusion with government officials, stoking the opioid crisis and numerous other less-than-honorable practices.
But it’s important to remember, that as public companies, they have a fiduciary duty to return as much as possible to their shareholders. What this means is that their first order of business is profits, growth and shareholder value. Like it or not, this is a core tenet of capitalism. In other words, pharmaceutical corporations do what they can to make shareholders rich while also creating products that help humans. And to that end, they’ve mostly been very successful, with the side effect being that the lifespan of Americans has also grown steadily over the decades, partially because of wonder drugs developed by Big Pharma.
Secondly, as I said before, the statement that cannabis and CBD cure COVID is not true. There is no evidence of this, let alone proof. Zero. It’s ironic that cannabis has been unjustly accused over the decades of causing all kinds of personal and societal ills, only to have some in this new industry equally guilty of spreading similar misinformation, overexaggerating its medical benefits and its ability to “cure” everything from AIDS to cancer to now, apparently, COVID.
My take is simple: A lot of good information exists that seems to show cannabis, THC, CBD and other cannabinoids can help people with problems like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, eating disorders and other ailments.
Strong anecdotal evidence also demonstrates that cannabis is a great pain reliever that may well be a viable “offramp” from opioid addiction. However, there’s a huge difference between relieving symptoms and curing something, and we as a business community need to be very careful about what we say about cannabis and its medical potential until we have proof of its benefits from controlled studies done by professionals in the medical field.
To be sure, cannabis is a wonder plant that we’re only just now beginning to understand, and I’m excited to see it fully utilized and studied, especially for its medical properties.
However, right now, with COVID still a very real problem — and even more so with the new Delta variant — that has killed more than 600,000 Americans and 4 million people globally, I stand by my original statement: Get vaccinated ASAP.
Ignore the anti-vaxxer crowd and the nonsense they’re spreading on the internet and on Fox News. COVID vaccines do not alter your DNA, implant microchips, magnetize people or turn recipients into blood-sucking zombies. While there have been some extremely rare side effects, the vaccine is far safer than COVID.
The sooner we’re all vaccinated and have herd immunity, the better off we’ll all be!