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Day 3 Hearing Recap for Kansas Medical Marijuana SB560.

As advocates for medical marijuana and adult-use marijuana, it would be easy to go into today's hearing and react to every objection - but it would not be advocacy. It would be my own bias manifesting negatively and defensively. To truly advocate for something means acknowledging the good and the bad and having adult conversations to find solutions and compromise to the "dark reality" so many refuse to acknowledge in the light of all of the benefits of cannabis. I am not going to recount every testimony so that you can target the statements of individuals. I am going to give you the overall consensus of their concerns. Their real concerns.

There are many valid concerns that the physicians and law enforcement expressed today. They are doing what some of us refuse to do and are looking into the worst-case scenarios. They're forced to do this because they see them. Every day. We don't

There are no dosage guidelines, no consistency with effects. No real way to enforce the laws because there's no way to measure the current level of intoxication based on dosage - because a person's tolerance varies, and one dose may not impair one person, while completely impairs another. It's the "wild west" of medicine.

Who among us has smoked and felt paranoia or panic? Be honest. ✋ Who has felt that edible or dab hit a little too hard and had to lay down? ✋

Anyone denying they've never felt a moment of negative effect from cannabis use is lying to themselves or simply doesn't remember. Now - are these what people would think of as "major side-effects" when we have pharmaceutical commercials with symptom precautions listed by an auctioneer in the background? Heck no! These are the minor league compared to our everyday pain and they pass quickly. But that is not how a physician or law enforcement officer sees it. A problem that's a problem - is a problem.

As proponents, we often say "Well, we can't cap the THC levels because different people with different tolerances will require increased amounts." Or "We need all forms of use available because it affects people differently." We acknowledge that what's right for one user, isn't always right for another. These are our valid and truthful defenses. They are also the same reasoning and defenses used by the opponents today - it does affect everyone differently, and they are seeing an increase in the negative effects as THC levels rise in medicinal and recreational products. Every medical professional today noted a diminishing return, if you will, in the medical benefits of cannabis after a peak of 10-15%.THC. That perhaps we're discovering that there is a point where too much IS too much that we would not have known if not for the emergence of concentrates and strains specifically bred to increase THC. They are saying "Absolutely, yes - cannabis has health benefits, and has been safely used for thousands of years - but not with these man-made levels of THC." These genetically modified buds aren't the "natural medicine" we're accustomed to and fighting for. They even explained that we see this phenomenon in other medicines as well. As dose and potency increase, the adverse effects are increasingly likely and become worse. Over-the-counter medicines such as Ibuprofen are beneficial at small doses but can cause great damage at high dosages and prolonged use. Ulcers and stomach issues are often reported.

And while we may not think of them this way, the paranoia, anxiety, "greening out" we experience are all symptoms of THC overdose. And while cannabis doesn't directly kill you, they have seen instances where the panic it has induced has caused heart attacks, and the paranoia has caused suicides. And that while these instances used to be few and far between - they're becoming more common as the levels of THC available are increasing. These correlations are clear and increasing enough that they are concerned. As THC levels increase they are also seeing a parallel increase in mental disorders associated with long-term use. And while you may be like me and immediately say "I use it to help my mental disorders!", and dismiss them, it's enough of a concern that Colorado overwhelmingly passed Bill 21-1317 into an Act in June of last year to further study how these effects should dictate future regulations. Those studies will conclude on July 1st, 2022. It's easy to shrug them off and say "Well, there's a lot going on in the world, these mental issues are just life right now." - and we would not be wrong, but if they are able to draw a clear line of causality over the past decade or so between the increase and exposure to high doses of THC not seen before in mankind's history and mental health episodes - it's worth taking the ounce of caution to listen.

They aren't wrong - THC levels available have risen dramatically since people have been allowed to openly grow and play with genetics. This study ends in 2014 and we hadn't even hit 14% yet. Less than 10 years later we're seeing plant matter up around 40% and concentrates, "THC diamonds" that are 99% pure THC. If it was going to be sprinkled sparingly like salt - diluted and on its own, that's one thing - but people are layering this with waxes, kief, and plant matter - or dabbing it straight.

As an avid user and proponent, even I have to step back and think sometimes when I see these products and videos of users on social media - "Damn, that's some overkill". And if your tolerance is that high, perhaps it's time for a T-break, or micro-dosing to get that back under control. I even personally find that use of concentrates raises my tolerance faster. Some of these new products are not being used responcibly.