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It isn't such a tough sell. Even for a cretin like me who has never been able to tell the difference between strains at all, it doesn't take a huge logical leap to assume that if you're trying to actually heal your body, not just any schwag will do. "At this point, when we’re in consults, a lot of the information that’s coming out is anecdotal," Kaufman said. "A lot of it is research-based, literature-based, and based on client feedback. If you have 1,500 patients and 190 of them have MS and you have a specific compound for MS you can administer, you can get a fairly decent demo spread of how that works, and you can fine-tune it and you can tweak it. "
Kaufman also waxed in detail about the hundreds of different compounds in any given strain (thus, the ability to create so many tincture and treatment varieties), the benefits of different ingestion methods, "combustible, sublingual, digestible, and topical" (smoking, putting in your mouth, eating it, and actually putting it on, to translate), its treatment benefits for nerve diseases and addiction, weed's potential as a cure — not just symptom treatment, mind you, but cure — for cancer, and the symbiosis between chemicals naturally found in both marijuana and chemicals in the body.
Again, it's not necessarily such a tough sell (especially given their intensely loyal client base), and regardless, you can safely say this is all a stratospheric step up from "Well, uh, this one's 'Headband,' it's pretty... energetic?" You could also safely say that a truly unreal amount of research is left to be done in a burgeoning medical field still devoid of federal funding and regulation, with advocates concerned that even with full legalization, recreational use will overshadow real scientific advancement. "It blows my mind how little we know about this stuff," he said.
For now, besides wondering when the fuck this is ever going to happen in New York, there's policy to worry about — will crippling recreational sin taxes (against which Kaufman is currently lobbying) be applied to the product at medical facilities? Will the monsters of Big Pharma and Big Tobacco simply swallow small operations (and their cannabis plants) whole? How can this be appropriately tested and labeled as a medication if federal regulators are forced to avoid it like the plague, and how many people truly care if it isn't? The only thing that seems particularly clear right now is that however long it takes to shake down, recreational weed is lucrative, in high demand, and will be just fine no matter what. It's the medical community that has cause to worry.
But anyway, my mystical, stoned Christmas vacation. Coming back to town as a fair-weather native on the hunt for bragging rights and leaving with a bunch of political questions and a full-fledged belief in the scientific cause is still, arguably, pretty goddamn square. Whatever, I regret nothing! It's an easy issue not to put at top of the political priorities list ("Yeah, of course that should fucking be legal, pills are the devil, now let me get back to worrying about whatever preposterous new Republican rape comment is going on this week"), but if someone is developing a real alternative to the chemical insanity pharmacies dole out every day, I'm happy to hear it. Besides, I still managed to clock 48 straight hours during the trip in the confines of my parents' house, eating cheese and watching Pee Wee DVDs. Make of it what you will.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.