Medical marijuana acceptance in Europe can fuel U.S. expansion, says Cannabis Science CEO
Cannabis Science Inc., a Colorado Springs company, wants to boost the cannabis-based pharmaceutical industry in the United States. But rather than focusing solely on investors in America, the firm is putting a big emphasis on Europe.
Dr. Robert Melamede.
Right now, according to president and CEO Dr. Robert Melamede, CSI is raising working capital across the pond, as well as seeking listings on exchanges in Frankfurt and other European locales.
"We're using the European markets to raise money," Melamede says. "Additional moneys are significant to us -- we're always in need of money. And in the bigger picture, what you're seeing in Europe and elsewhere is increasing awareness of the medical benefits of marijuana -- not nearly to the extent they should be, but nevertheless, we're seeing this continuous march forward."
The pace of this movement is faster in Europe for historical reasons, Melamede believes.
"My mom is German, and I've been there many times -- and I think Europeans have more of a connection to herbal remedies than we do here in the States," he maintains. "We're really become overly pharmaceuticalized to the exclusion of herbal remedies, whereas over there, I think herbal remedies play a more significant role. And the latest science supports these conclusions."
That's a matter of debate. While Melamede cites "thousands of peer-reviewed articles" that provide evidence of cannabis's medical usefulness, other medical professionals see a lack of standardized scientific studies establishing its efficacy -- including Colorado's chief medical officer, Dr. Ned Calonge.
In a wide-ranging interview with Westword last week, Calonge said additions to the list of conditions that can be treated by medical marijuana in Colorado shouldn't be made in the absence of scientifically viable human studies. Indeed, the state's health department actively lobbied against the inclusion of post-traumatic stress disorder as a treatable MMJ condition earlier this year due to the dearth of such information relating to PTSD, in the opinion of department representatives like Calonge.
This logic astonishes Melamede. "Cannabis Science did a study of 1,500 veterans, 300 of whom qualified as PTSD patients, and they all agreed that cannabis was the most effective medicine for them," he says. "True, it hasn't gone through FDA-level human trials. But what you have to do is be willing to look at the people who've fought for our freedom. Why would you default to a position that negates what they're saying? You trusted them enough to fight for your freedom. Why don't you trust them to believe what they're telling us -- that a drug that's been used for thousands of years and has no known lethal dose actually helps them?"
By the way, Melamede hadn't heard that Calonge plans to leave the health department in November for a new position with The Colorado Trust. "That's good news," he says, categorizing Calonge as a "cannabis opponent."
Regarding the capital fundraising and listing on European exchanges, Melamede says, "All of these things are in the works and lined up and look very, very positive. At this point, I fully expect to accomplish these aims in the very near future -- well before the end of the year."
He adds, "What we're seeing is a global revolution that's going to end this insane prohibition against cannabis in this country. Who in their right mind would outlaw an anti-aging drug that kills cancer cells and uses the same activity that's found in mother's milk?"
Page down to read Cannabis Science's release about its European mission: