420 Investor Alan Brochstein: United States Has Led A Failed War On Drugs
Richard Nixon declared it public enemy number one.
The Reagan administration told citizens to 'just say no.' But among the long-running 'war' on drugs, reality has risen to the top, particularly when it comes to marijuana.
Still, even the president keeps his words slightly guarded when it comes to the plant, saying recently that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol, but that he wouldn't want his children to get involved with it.
"It's hard to admit when you're wrong," Alan Brochstein told Benzinga. "They have to have a graceful exit (from the war on drugs). Just think about how long it took to get out of Vietnam."
Brochstein, known to many as the 420 Investor, spoke to Benzinga on several issues within the marijuana industry. He said there is still room for the advancement of medical marijuana and its potential benefits (or lack thereof), but since it is federally illegal, research is limited. He is not the first to say the 'war' has been a failure, nor will he be the last.
"There's 70 or more cannabinoids and other parts of marijuana. Some say you need the whole plant..or just certain strains. It gets tricky," said Brochstein. A study by Dr. Sanjay Gupta cited that there are actually 66 cannabinoids among the 480 natural components of a marijuana plant, noting that "all [of] these components of the cannabis plant likely exert some therapeutic effect, more than any single compound alone."
Among the most prominent are THCs (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBDs (cannabidiol). THC is the psychoactive competent that helps get a consumer "high"; however, this can also help alleviate certain pains and increase a person's appetite. CBDs, in their pure form, can treat certain illnesses, but without the lingering "high" effect. One report has shown that even just one drop of a CBD-based oil can help prevent seizures and other problems associated with epilepsy.
.@MediReview I think the attitudes are already starting to reverse in the medical community even if docs won't discuss openly.
— Dr. Sanjay Gupta (@drsanjaygupta) March 12, 2014
Brochstein said it will be easier for the industry to continue its advancements once they have better-developed evidence of marijuana usage and effects, but there's still risk among the federal government. "My impression is that people were totally unaware of the medical benefits," said Brochstein. Even he was not aware of the benefits until a little over a year ago, when he was able to better research and educate himself on the subject.
GW Pharmaceuticals (OTC: GWPH), located in the U.K., has been the most prominent in this development, having reportedly spent the last decade and over $100 million into marijuana research. This help result in Sativex, a marijuana-based drug that has helped treat people with multiple sclerosis. Still, marijuana must be consumed in a smart way. Overindulgence, whether by accident or lack of education or accident, can lead to emergency room visits.
Moderation remains key, whether on war, drugs or anything in between.
This is the first in a series of pieces with comments from leading industry analyst and 420 Investor Alan Brochstein. Check back for his thoughts on marijuana business and investing
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