Thanks to our Harper-run Nanny State, I may some time in the near future no longer have access to the medicine I have been using for RLS, the mysterious neurological disorder that has plagued me for nearly a decade. Why would the government ban my medicine? Because it’s a plant. And no, it’s not cannabis.
Today, I went to one particular local headshop ,which is more like an herbalist supply store, to get some kratom, which is what I use for RLS. Kratom is ground leaf from the mitragyna speciosa plant, an Asian tree in the coffee family which acts as a partial opiate, binding to the MU receptors. It’s something like the herbal equivalent to buprenorphine. A few years ago, they had every herb you could want and pages of cannabis seed types in a catalogue. Things have changed. No more seeds, that is not so surprising. But several plants have been newly banned and the manager said he was even arrested for importing illicit drugs when he tried to bring a couple of them over the border.
What was he bringing in? For one, he had mimosa- the tickle plant! Accused of importing DMT for having a tickle plant! And he was also accused of importing mescaline for having some cacti, and of course cannabis for having some seeds. A few years ago, the Australian government set out to ban every one of the thousands of types of plant that contains DMT or any component that could be used to make it. Turns out, it’s not just Australia doing this. Here in Canada, Banisteriopsis Caapi is now banned, even though it doesn’t contain DMT, but because it can be used in the making of the ayahuasca brew, which does contains the molecule.
Plants are an important source of medicine, and having access to them is an important source of health freedom and power. I use kratom for RLS. It works, I don’t need a prescription, I control when and how much I take, and the side-effects are minimal. Now and then, it has me wake up with a bit of a headache. The alternative is pharma’s RLS drugs, which are really Parkinsons’ drugs that are only a little more effective than a placebo for RLS. But the side effects are a lot more serious than a placebo. It can cause sudden impulse and compulsive behavior. I’m talking binge eating, hitting the casino to blowing your life savings, and jumping into bed with every random guy you fancy. How does it make sense that a drug that can do that to you is considered ‘safe and effective’, but an herb that does none of that and works a lot better is threatened with being given an illegal status as contraband? I use kratom safely and responsibly. I don’t need some government or professional looming over me to make sure I don’t turn into an herbal junkie. In fact, if it wasn’t for the availability of herbs like kratom, I might end up in bad enough shape from lack of sleep to develop some serious problems. I’m keeping myself healthy by enabling myself to get some sleep. And as a healthier person, I cost Canadian tax payers a lot less money.
Banning medicinal plants just because they have psychoactive properties only limits people’s access to good health, both physical and psychological. Those who use them are in a minority, and it doesn’t benefit anyone to clamp down on them and their herbal medicine cabinet. All it does is empower the enormous pharmaceutical multinational corporations to hold an iron grip monopoly on our health and the decisions we can make regarding it.