Cannabis has great medicinal potential, but the majority of the public is uneducated about Cannabis and many are assuming that street-sourced Cannabis has the same medicinal benefits and quality as Medical Cannabis.
Cannabis has been cultivated by humans over thousands of years to produce the euphoric effect which makes you feel high. The chemical component within Cannabis that does this, THC, is one of the many Cannabinoids found in Cannabis. Much of the Cannabis that is bought on the street is high in THC and lower in other Cannabinoids such as CBD.
There are some green market suppliers who swear that they undertake testing on their product to ensure correct levels of THC and CBD, and some patients have even had success. Unfortunately, taking someone’s word for it is very different from being answerable and compliant to the government standards as legal Medical Cannabis is.
The black market, grey market, green market, street or illicit Cannabis market don’t have the checks and balances that legal channels have regarding the growing, manufacturing, transportation and distribution of Medical Marijuana. Illegal and underground channels are not enforced or regulated to ensure Good Manufacturing Practices, safe prescribing practices, labelling standards adherence and so forth. You can’t be sure that what you’re getting is what you’ve been promised.
Additional to this, illegal channels:
- don’t pay tax and aren’t auditable by any government departments
- aren’t compliant with the Australian standards of patient data protection
- can’t be enforced to provide refunds or guarantees if the product doesn’t work or causes serious health issues – customers aren’t protected by the Australian Consumer Law.
- aren’t enforced to grow and store the product in a safe and secure environment that the police can support – leading to potential robberies and gang wars
While growing plants yourself is something that we believe should be a human right, the reality is that this is a plant that has been prohibited for 80 odd years and therefore, the vast majority of the public are uneducated about its use, science and dangers. Until the public is fully educated about the safe use of Cannabis, it’s unlikely that the government will want to fully legalise a potentially dangerous substance (dangerous to children, those with unstable heart disease, those with schizophrenia etc).
Even if people we’re legally allowed to grow their own plants and manufacture their own medicines, many people simply don’t have the time, space or know-how to do so. While there will always be a market for grow-your-own as well as organic boutique brands, there will always be a market for high-quality Medical-grade Cannabis medicine.
Illegal Cannabis whether sourced from Australian green market suppliers or online is grown from and distributed from unknown sources and could contain pesticides, moulds, bacteria and contaminants which can be harmful. Therefore, using illegal Cannabis from unknown and untracked sources can cause more harm than good. It can also be highly inconsistent, and you can’t be certain of what you’re buying or ingesting into your body.
While you may hear of legal Cannabis products not being quite up to scratch from time to time, it’s more likely that Marijuana from illegal sources will be of sub-par quality consistently. Cannabis from legal sources are under the microscope of the media and social media, so when you hear of the odd bottle of oil having a low tide, this is highlighted and echoed throughout society while illegally-sourced Cannabis doesn’t come under the same scrutiny.
Illegal sources are not regulated to distribute Cannabis that meets labelling laws. Legal sources must correctly label products with the exact concentration of the active ingredients within that batch. This may be in total milligrams or it may be in milligrams per millilitre. This allows the consumer to determine the cost per milligram of active ingredient enabling them to compare products based on this calculation.
While illegal sources (such as from overseas online stores) may have slick-looking labels with concentrations of Cannabinoid content, you can’t trust that what is on the label is reliably in the product. The only way of knowing for sure, is to test it yourself.
Testing of legal Cannabis is done by the growers, producers and distributors of the products. The ODC asks suppliers to provide independent tests done by Australian-registered testers. The ODC and TGA can audit products and compliance test at any time. Testing by the governing bodies to ensure not only the product reliability and consistency from batch to batch but that the products are free from harmful substances such as heavy metals, toxins, bacteria, yeast or mould.
Finally, legal Marijuana products are produced and distributed in such a way that each bottle is carefully tracked in the event of a contaminated batch.
It may be a little more expensive than the illegal route depending on your dosage and products, but can you really put a price on your health?