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How I Almost Lost My Senior Citizen Mom to COVID-19

7/7/20 A letter from WILLIAM RIBACK

COVID-19 has been especially hard on senior citizens in nursing homes like my mother.

Day 63 my 89-year old senior citizen mother has been quarantined under Governor Phil Murphy’s general order that people living in elder communities shelter in place. This means my 89-year-old mother did not see another human being for 63 days.

Due to complications from isolation, she became critically ill. It was so serious that she was sent for an MRI to rule out a devastating stroke. I cried on multiple occasions. When I initially visited, all I got in terms of response from her was mostly a blank stare. After three weeks visiting five hours a day, a fragile recovery slowly started

I had to do something to speed up her recovery. My fascination with plant medicine was now important beyond my own needs. I suggested to her doctors that they look into micro dosing of mushrooms. After the doctors researched their chemical makeup, they prescribed one thousand milligrams of Lion’s Mane mushrooms and Paul Stamet’s Host Defense Mushrooms.

But that was not enough. I got on the phone with Saul Kaye, an Israel-based entrepreneur in plant medicine. He founded the companies Canna Tech and PsyTech which put him on the cutting edge of global cannabis research. We met at an investor’s conference a couple years ago. I turned to him for advice.

When I called and explained the issue with my senior citizen mother, Saul completely abandoned any notion of discussing business. At his fingertips are all the recent studies in clinical cannabis on the aged. He immediately said that what they would do in Israel is microdose a high dose CBD to low dose THC at 20:1. CBD relaxes the digestive tract, soothes the irritated bowel, and stops the spasms. The infinitesimally small amount of THC can increase her appetite. Learning from Saul confirmed that I’m no pharmacological expert.  Nonetheless, it is a problem solved. Except for one other problem.

Cannabis is what many term a “New Jim Crow object”. Thus, any pretense that clinical cannabis is medicine is opposed to the criminalized status of cannabis.

My mother is a senior citizen who lives in a facility that receives federal aid. Thus, the facility cannot prescribe high-THC CBD nor cannabis to treat her conditions for fear of losing their aid due to cannabis prohibition. The same prohibition enforcements bars cannabis as a viable alternative for patients with epilepsy and autism. These patients are also victims of the racial war against cannabis. People of color, senior citizens, and the disabled suffer the most.

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