Diluting the debate

When we are asked what sort of tea we want at a cafè, we select an option. We know what we want – English breakfast tastes different that Earl Grey, Green Tea and others.
So, we acknowledge that teas have different properties, different tastes, different “actives”.
What is it then so hard for pharmacists to understand that all herbal extracts are different?

For example, the specific extract of ginkgo biloba called EGb761 has been clinically trialled for tinnitus. That’s the extract, and it is matched with the research. Other types of ginkgo (if you can find out what they really are) are different, and they probably won’t work for tinnitus. So why say to somebody enquiring that “this is the same”? It’s not the same, and we can’t imply that it is – that’s misleading and unprofessional.

Similarly, there’s a specific extract of olive leaf that’s been shown to be as effective as metformin in pre-diabetic men.  It’s the extract used in the research, so you can’t assume that other extracts will be the same. The potency of the “actives” aren’t the same?  The polyphenol content isn’t the same? Has it been fresh picked and bottled same day, or does it say “fresh picked” followed by a drying process and reconstitution process a year down the track?

St John’s wort sends many pharmacists into the foetal position. Check the Ze117 extract of this outstanding herb and you will understand that it is different as well.

Apply this rationale to cannabis.

This argument is compelling in that the media and the politicians are having a field day discussing medicinal cannabis. Notwithstanding the commercial interests of those opioid analgesic manufacturers who might suffer less exposure in the market, the specific extract of this herbal medicine is the issue here for patients – not the political posturing or company lobbying.

If the research supporting the use, effectiveness and safety profiles in Europe and the United States have been demonstrated, then why do allow vested interests to delay the specific medical use here?

Medicinal cannabis use in those states of the U.S. where it is permitted has reduced opioid-related deaths significantly.

Interesting times……

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