It has been called ‘groundbreaking’, ‘activism with a twist’ and a ‘wonderful cannabis philanthropy event’ and this year it raised €100,000 to support the use of medical cannabis in treating cancer.
We are talking about the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour, which took place in Spain over three days in March. Paradise Seeds was proud to be a gold sponsor of the event, and proud also to have riders participating in the tour.
The event attracted cyclists from many European countries as well as the US and Canada, and coming from different sections of the cannabis and non-cannabis community. For example, there were representatives from the industry, cannabis users but also non-users who were just sympathetic to the medical cannabis cause.
In three years, the bike tour has grown significantly, in numbers of participants (this year’s ride had 55 riders and volunteers involved – double the size of the 2013 tour) and in terms of profile for the use of medical marijuana in Europe. By combining cannabis with sport, this tour has made people sit up and take notice, reaching out to a more mainstream audience by showing the plant in a new light.
The MCBT this year was a tough three days, with 400km cycled between Valencia and Barcelona, ending with well publicised arrival at Spannabis 2014.
The biggest cannabis information resource in the world, the US based Leafly, described the event as, “a fantastic way to show that cannabis consumers can be athletes.” Its News and Culture editor, Rebecca Kelly, posted on the site. “Stereotypes about marijuana lovers mean that athletes who partake tend to face a lot of flack by mainstream audiences. I'm so happy that canna-activism is really branching out with active, creative efforts like this one.”
The Science of medical cannabis and cancer
The bike tour raises money for independent scientific research which is being conducted by scientists at Madrid’s Complutense University. For the past fifteen years they have been running a programme that studies the potential of cannabis to treat a variety of tumours, including glioma (brain), Melanoma (skin) and breast cancer.
Run by Dr Manuel Guzman and Dr Guillermo Velasco, the Madrid programme has made significant progress. The team’s research has suggested that a combination of cannabinoids with other anticancer agents inhibits the growth of tumours by starving them of their nutrients (therefore stopping the cancer from spreading through the body) and destroys cancer cells.
The Medical Cannabis Bike Tour has been helping to fund this programme for the past three years (it also receives funding from sources such as the Spanish Ministry of Health).
The act of cycling
As well as raising money for the medical cause, it should not be forgotten that the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour is also a sportif event. While the tour attracts cyclists of all ages and abilities, it is a challenging ride, both physically and mentally. You need to be fit... and even the fittest found it tough at times - particularly on the tough ascent through the Garaff Natural Park to reach the coastal road to Barcelona, which makes up part of the route for the Vuelta Espaňa cycle race.
This year there were some strong cyclists in the field with some very good times made on all three days. That said, the MCBT is not a race – the only race is to raise money and awareness for medical cannabis!
It is no race. The goal is simply to complete the course and raise money and the profile of medical cannabis. What is impressive about the tour is the great atmosphere and camaraderie of all involved. This is what makes the MCBT such a pleasurable experience, and an event that Paradise Seeds will be sponsoring again in 2015.
For more information, you can check out the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour website. There are also press reports from Weed World and High Times. Videos (with action from Day 1, 2 and 3) can be viewed on the official bike tour YouTube channel.
Videos after the break:
Medical Cannabis Bike Tour 2014 Highlights: Cycling for Medical Marijuana in the Spanish Mountains