THC Bank’s David Hutchinson on the Medicinal Promise of Marijuana
David Hutchinson is communications and research director of The Herbal Clone Bank, also known as THC Bank, a company currently listed on the Canadian Securities Exchanges as Infinity Minerals Corp. (CSE:IFN). David has deep and specific knowledge about the medical applications of marijuana and its various chemical components. I interviewed him earlier this month at the Canadian Investment Conference.
James West: My guest today is David Hutchinson, who is director of Communications and Research with The Herbal Clone Bank, or THCBank. THC trades on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the symbol ‘IFN’ David, thanks for joining us today.
David Hutchinson: Nice to see you James.
James West: David I would like to talk to you today about the true applications for and the potentials for medical marijuana in Canada, and what effect the current regime is having on access to that medication. And I’m going to lead you directly to a case example. You are acquainted with a young girl who is suffering from a particular type of cancer and for whom the extracts of marijuana are providing not just symptomatic relief, but quality-of-life improvements.
David Hutchinson: Actually James its not cancer – she has severe epileptic seizures. She’s two years old, she lives in the interior of British Columbia. She was having up to 200 seizures a day just a month ago, and she’s now, through a source in British Columbia, she’s taking medical marijuana as an extracted product – as a derivative, and she has seen a reduction in seizure activity to zero. She’s now as of three weeks yesterday without a seizure.
James West: Wow. So she’s ingesting oils? Extracts? She’s not smoking it?
David Hutchinson: It’s an oil. She can’t smoke it. Unfortunately the way the rules are written by Health Canada, derivatives are not allowed – it’s just dried marijuana.
James West: So the way the rules are written, what she is doing to cure herself is not actually legal?
David Hutchinson: No, it’s illegal. The family are all I guess guilty of trafficking and working with a narcotic to keep this little girl alive.
James West: So I guess it’s safe to conclude from this one example that the medical marijuana regime as put forth by Health Canada is not perfect, to say the least, and is actually a barrier to access for some people who really need to get their hands on some form of marijuana or marijuana extract because it contains active ingredients that mitigate serious medical issues.
David Hutchinson: Yes I think it’s increasingly recognized within every animal on the planet – not just human beings, but every animal on the planet has a system within it called the ‘endo-cannibinoid system’. It was only discovered around 1990. But this system is the system that regulates a host of other medical conditions – so you’re heart rate, your blood pressure, your acidity – even your temperature. So its an endogenous system – its from within. One of the richest sources of endo-cannibinoids is actually a mother’s breast milk. It’s why its so important to a mother to breast feed even just once. She passes this onto the child. It encourages suckling, it helps sleep, it helps mood – and there are a host of medical conditions positively impacted by medical marijuana. Unfortunately, the counter to that is the regulatory authority – and by that I mean Health Canada – always say ‘Health Canada and the Federal Government does not endorse the use of medical marijuana’. If they said ‘we do endorse it and we’ve got research going on’, I think that would be more helpful to patients and to people that are researching it and particularly to the medical community.
James West: Sure. Okay so, by way of example, the head of the Canadian Medical Association recently stated that he was against the idea of prescribing medical marijuana in any form because it was so poorly understood by the medical profession in Canada…how do you reconcile that with the system you’ve just described that is a part of us. We are built with receptors that are designed to work well with cannabinoids in our bodies, and derived from a plant that is natural and ubiquitous across all continents. And so how do we reconcile the policy of Health Canada with the requirements of humanity?
David Hutchinson: I think its very very difficult. I think people need to speak out, and they are speaking out more and more. When people see a young patient like that two year old girl, she’s taking medical marijuana, not because she’s trying to get high, or even of her own volition. She’s taking it because the family have seen what it can do and it’s having an effect. But I think people have to speak out when they see that, if there’s a potential for this to work for their medical condition or if its for a member of their family or a friend, people have to be willing to take a stand on it. And if they don’t know about it – and particularly you referred there to the Medical Association – another part of his statement was that he doesn’t know anything about it. Well he has many many hundreds of doctors across Canada who do know about it. They have taken the time to research. And I’m sorry, sir, but it goes with the job. You need to go and do the researchYou need to find about it and educate yourself.
James West: Exactly! So one might argue that he’s not really fit to be the head of the Canadian Medical Association from statements like that…
David Hutchinson: Well! I wouldn’t want to comment on that. But I think he needs to educate himself on something that does have a positive impact, and that many of his doctors do know about.
James West: Sure. Okay so the case that we’ve just discussed – the girl who has the epilepsy problem – that’s not an isolated case? Do you know of other examples where there is real world treatment of various serious medical conditions ongoing with medical marijuana extracts?
David Hutchinson: Yes. It impacts – what I was saying before about the endo-cannibinoid system – it’s homeostatic, which means there’s a range. The endo-cannibinoid system wants to keep your body within a certain healthy range. With acidity, it doesn’t want your body becoming too acid or too alkaline. And it does that continuously. One of the best examples is temperature. Your core temperature is regulated by the endo-cannibinoid system. So if you get too hot, you start to sweat. It’s not a positive conscious thought – you don’t think ‘oh well I’d better start to sweat because I’m getting warm’. Similarly, when you go down below the range, you get cold, your skin will shiver. It starts to tremor, to generate friction. Again it’s a non-conscious thing – it just happens and this is what its caused by. So I think so many other medical conditions can be impacted positively. One of the ones that also gets a lot of attention now is post-traumatic stress disorder. A lot of people have been impacted by that through some awful family events, through many organizations such as the military are probably most famous for it, but it also impacts firefighters and the police and RCMP. And it is an approved drug for Veteran’s Affairs. They will approve payment for medical marijuana for PTSD.
James West: So David tell me, why is it so important that we protect the genetic integrity of the various strains of marijuana when it is being grown for a medical application?
David Hutchinson: The plant is not just one plant. Cannabis is available in many many strains and they’re all different chemical constituents. There are approximately 400 different compounds within Cannabis – around a hundred of those are cannabinoids. The most famous cannabinoid is Delta 9 Tetra hydra cannabinol, or ‘THC’. That can be within a plant to a greater or lesser extent. It’s most famous because it’s what people have used recreationally to get high. But it can be available in a plant or it can be present in a plant in just a trace element amount, and even in industrial hemp, it’s part in the plant. But different conditions respond to different combinations of cannibinoids, so the profile of the plant varies so the medial effects vary, depending on which of those chemicals are available. So we think its very important that as the medical community and researchers and patients… a lot of it has been anecdotal, but there’s patients and researchers and doctors who want to give strains that are particularly high in particular cannabinoids…CBD has become particularly famous over the last year. Cannabidiol – there’s a young lady down in Colorado called Charlotte Figi, and cannabidiol has become very famous because of that. It’s very useful for – its extremely anti-inflammatory. And its very very good for a whole host of conditions including arthritis. So for that reason, they aren’t just talking about one particular cannabinoid, but when you look at all the cannabinoids that are available, as we discover which are the important ones, we want to be able to replicate that each time [it’s grown] so that the patient gets the same product or as close to that it can every time within certain tolerances.
James West: I see. So, marijuana has such a robust pharmacopeia, for want of a better word, that part of the ongoing art of applying if for medical conditions is configuring it – or configuring the right strains and the right mixtures and doses and whatnot – so that it addresses specific problems in specific people.
David Hutchinson: Yeah. Certainly a hundred years ago, about a third of the medications that were prescription drugs that were available then contained cannabis. That’s not the case now. But with the medical community and patients are realizing the positive impacts. It’s been a medicine that’s been utilized as a medicine by man for over 5,000 years, but it’s the last 70 to 80 years where we’ve ended up with a situation where we’ve become convinced that its extremely dangerous, which it obviously is not.