Paradigm shift: From prohibition to risk (harm?) reduction

Prohibition has proven to be ineffective in terms of its objectives since it does not meet its goals of reducing consumption, let alone eliminating it altogether; economically inefficient - it is hugely costly, obtaining in return very poor results if any at all; and socially unjust - it is especially focused on ethnic minorities and economically disadvantaged groups, which can be seen by the fact that while substance use is transversal in society (in terms of gender, class, ethnicity etc.), penalties and prison sentences are not. The perverse effects of prohibition have led to greater social and health problems (violence, corruption, epidemics, etc.) than those which it was originally intended to avoid.

"Therapeutic users have to have their own space where scientific criteria, objectivity and rigor prevail in so important and transcendental a matter as health".

Given this panorama, experts in the field and the international community are increasingly inclined to change the paradigm that currently guides action on drug policies in most countries; to replace the prohibitionist approach and police action with the new paradigm of risk reduction and health action in order to combat the social and health problems that may be generated by the compulsive or problematic consumption of currently controlled substances.
In terms of our field of enquiry, medical cannabis, prohibition has had and has very serious consequences: on the one hand, since the 1950s in which the cannabis sativa plant was declared a dangerous substance (without any scientific evidence and with a strong moralistic and even racist charge), the plant came to be considered without any therapeutic value (thus obviating thousands of years of medicinal use and its multiple properties). On the other hand, at present, due to the prohibition of the plant, biomedical researchers who work with cannabinoids encounter great difficulties when it comes to carrying out clinical trials where controlled cannabinoids such as THC are administered to people, despite the encouraging results of experimentation with in vitro and in vivo pre-clinical trials -in rodents- on the potential of cannabinoids as antitumor agents (previously cited).
One of the reasons for Medcan's existence is to provide detailed, objective and reliable information to the general public about medicinal cannabis and the therapeutic properties of cannabinoids.


Medicinal cannabis harm reduction

In order to do this, we rely on the available scientific evidence, at our center you can find different dossiers on scientific publications related to cannabis and the different medicinal uses for each of the pathologies susceptible to being treated with cannabis. The Medcan team consists of a collegiate physician specialized in the endocannabinoid system and phytocannabinoids, a physiotherapist and a medical anthropologist. For complete safety in the medicinal use of cannabinoids, we carry out an exhaustive control by means of laboratory analyses of all the products available to us. Likewise, our team carries out a personalized follow-up of each one of the patients.
Until not long ago, medicinal users were forced to resort to the black market to obtain medicinal cannabis, having to consume cannabis whose proportions of THC, CBD and other cannabinoids therein contained were unknown, as well as if it was adulterated, contaminated by heavy metals or insecticides (from the earth, water or chemicals that could have been used during the process of growing the plants).
With the emergence of associations of cannabis users in Spain (especially in the Basque Country and Catalonia), many therapeutic users have found an alternative to the black market, where they can usually obtain more and better information about the plant and acquire cannabis of a certain quality in many cases. However, the presence of doctors or medical personnel specialized in medicinal cannabis is very scarce, practically anecdotal, in the scenario of social cannabis clubs. With the best of intentions, some associations of cannabis users have dispensed oils, tinctures and other products containing cannabinoids to medicinal users without the slightest control over what exactly was being consumed, or in what proportions, or how it was administered, or in what way the cannabis sativa plants had been cultivated and processed or from where the cannabinoids were extracted.
While recognizing the positive role that many associations of recreational cannabis users has had with respect to therapeutic users by distancing them from the black market and providing cannabis and better-quality information, we believe that therapeutic users must have their own space, where scientific criteria, objectivity and rigor prevail, in a matter as important and transcendental as health.