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22 April 2006

Scientific American blog: The US Government's "Science" about medical marijuana


Science and Technology at Scientific American.com

BLOG: SCIAM OBSERVATIONS
Opinions, arguments and analyses from the editors of Scientific American

April 21, 2006
11:50:10 am, Categories: Medicine, Politics and Science, 787 words


Medical Marijuana's Catch-22

by John Rennie

John Rennie has been the editor in chief of Scientific American since 1994, and a member of its staff since 1989. His particular interests include evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and the interplay of science, politics and culture.

Yesterday the Food and Drug Administration issued a statement reaffirming its opposition to the medical use of marijuana, declaring that "no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use. There are alternative FDA-approved medications in existence for treatment of many of the proposed uses of smoked marijuana." This, despite the existence of a 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, which concluded that marijuana was "moderately well suited for particular conditions, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and AIDS wasting." As the New York Times notes in its front-page coverage:

Dr. John Benson, co-chairman of the Institute of Medicine committee that examined the research into marijuana's effects, said in an interview that the statement on Thursday and the combined review by other agencies were wrong.

The federal government "loves to ignore our report," said Dr. Benson, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. "They would rather it never happened."

Some scientists and legislators said the agency's statement about marijuana demonstrated that politics had trumped science.

(Forgive a digression: that last paragraph made me laugh. How many times in recent years have science reporters had to write some version of that sentence? "Some scientists and legislators said the [WHITE HOUSE/FEDERAL AGENCY]'s statement about [SUBJECT] demonstrated that politics had trumped science" ought to be a Word macro.)

I'm not going to pick a fight with the FDA's need to prevent anyone from circumventing its authority to test and regulate the availability of therapies. I'm also not going to argue about whether medical marijuana programs inevitably ease recreational access to pot, and whether that's a bad thing. (Attention, NORML: please spare me the missives about wondrous, wondrous hemp and its infinite uses.)

What is completely wrong about the FDA's position, however, is that in effect it continues to impede not just the medical use of marijuana but also medical research on marijuana, which could lead to superior therapies that don't involve smoking or getting high at all.

Back in December 2004, SciAm published "The Brain's Own Marijuana," by Roger A. Nicoll and Bradley N. Alger (you can read the entire text here). The article's deck tells the tale: "Research into natural chemicals that mimic marijuana's effects in the brain could help to explain--and suggest treatments for--pain, anxiety, eating disorders, phobias and other conditions." The SA Perspectives that month argued with the tight federal restrictions that limited the advance of that research:

Yet outdated regulations and attitudes thwart legitimate research with marijuana. Indeed, American biomedical researchers can more easily acquire and investigate cocaine. Marijuana is classified as a so-called Schedule 1 drug, alongside LSD and heroin. As such, it is defined as being potentially addictive and having no medical use, which under the circumstances becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Any researcher attempting to study marijuana must obtain it through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The U.S. research crop, grown at a single facility, is regarded as less potent--and therefore less medicinally interesting--than the marijuana often easily available on the street. Thus, the legal supply is a poor vehicle for studying the approximately 60 cannabinoids that might have medical applications.

...

The reasonable course is to make it easier for American researchers to at least examine marijuana for possible medical benefits. Great Britain, no slacker in the war on drugs, takes this approach: the government has authorized a pharmaceutical firm to grow different strains of marijuana for clinical trials.

This call for marijuana research is not a closet campaign for drug legalization--easing research barriers would not require that marijuana be reclassified, nor would it have any bearing on individual states' decisions to approve limited use of medical marijuana. As a 1995 editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association said, "We are not asking readers for immediate agreement with our affirmation that marijuana is medically useful, but we hope they will do more to encourage open and legal exploration of its potential." After almost a decade of little progress, we reiterate that sentiment.

And now we have to reiterate it again. Medical marijuana is caught in a classic Catch-22 situation: It is banned because the federal government dismisses the evidence of therapeutic benefit as insufficient. But because marijuana is banned, scientists can't easily gather more evidence to make the case. And new drugs based on marijuana are casualties of the same policies. Meanwhile, patients continue to suffer despite strong evidence that work in this area could lead to better medicines.

How does this seem like a good arrangement? Seriously, what are the feds smoking?

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Posted by John Rennie 34 comments

======================

Comments, Trackbacks, Pingbacks:

Comment from: James Kielland [Visitor] · http://www.escazu.biz
One of the curious things about marijuana debate is that marijuana advocates love to talk about the absence of evidence that marijuana is harmful in particular cases. "There's no evidence that marijuana use leads to..." and similar claims are abundant in the pothead's list or arguments. Try googling "marijuana [insert prescirption drug here]" and you'll get abundant returns from various articles and discussion boards detailing how many potheads like to mix marijuana with all sorts of prescribed meds. And many of them constantly provide arguments of "there is no evidence that this is harmful."

It would seem that the government's approach is not merely reducing the ability of scientists to discover potential uses of marijuana; it may also be keeping us from discovering evidence that it is more harmful than its advocates would lead us to believe.
April 21, 2006 @ 15:28

Comment from: Baseline [Visitor]
Afraid of revealing it is more harmful than we believe? Breathing the smoke most deffinately can be harmful but then breathing the smoke that comes from the millions of SUV's on the road is even more harmful.

Its sad really how we legislate in this country using the shotgun legislative approach. When an issue comes about we don't hold indivuals accountable for their actions we instead pass legisalation that in effect punishes everyone. I call it the 1% rule of lawmaking.

For lawmakers to continue to cling to the feds position of no "redeeming medicinal value" is absurd. Is the Kansas board of education in charge over there or what? Why should anyone really believe in the FDA anyway even with all the regulations and costs involved with drug approval we still get numerous drugs approved only to be pulled from the market when tragic side effects are reveled. ie.. Viagra, Cialis anyone?

There is medicinal value, it needs further study and we should expect more from our lawmakers.
April 21, 2006 @ 18:53

Comment from: Dave Lane [Visitor]
Of course you are only scratching the surface of how of how badly the Feds want to keep marijuana illegal for medical uses. You should research the Tulane studies comissioned by NIDA. After years of requesting documents through the freedom of information act Playboy magazine finally learned that Dr. Heath at Tulane University had asphyxiated Rhesus monkeys with marijuana smoke in order to "prove" it caused brain damage.
April 21, 2006 @ 18:59

Comment from: David Johnson [Visitor]
Nicotine has little medical value and the smoking of tobacco causes thousands of unnecessary deaths every year.... Yet our government continues to subsidize tobacco farmers.
Marijuana has never been shown to cause even a single death in it's entire history of use.
Can you say Hypocrisy?
April 21, 2006 @ 20:03

Comment from: Jack P Toerson [Visitor] · http://www.twonilblankblank.com/blog
There have been trials here in the UK:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/4104968.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/523106.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1528921.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/4104968.stm

I beleive it is not just GW researching it either - I'm sure I can remember a friend saying they were researching it where he worked (at a transnational pharmaceutical company). It will be interesting to see if it gains a license here in the UK. If it decreases dependence on opiod analagesics among moderate to severe pain sufferers it can only be a good thing.
April 21, 2006 @ 20:05

Comment from: Dr. Answerman [Visitor] · http://www.doctoranswerman.com
It is not so much a question of what the government is smoking, and they are surely on fire, but rather what they are supporting by their stance? What are they buying by their stance? Who profits by their anti-marijuana/marijuana research position? These are the questions to ask. By considering these you might find yourself discovering the lobbies in charge of the policy. Then you may be able to better configure your strategy.
Support in mere numbers no longer mean much in this society, if ever they did, nor do logic or reason. So forget about gathering signatures and pointing out obvious falacies. For support to be effective it must be powerful. Find the power.
I will leave you to ponder the significance/insignificance of this response for yourselves.
April 21, 2006 @ 20:08

Comment from: Anathematic [Visitor]
Cigarettes cause cancer and are directly linked to the deaths of thousands of people every year. Yet they are legal.

There is no solid proof that marijuana is addictive, or that it has killed or caused brain damage. Yet it is illegal.

Vioxx, a drug the FDA approved for use is now known to kill people.

I do know that since I stopped taking anti depressants, and started smoking pot instead, I save a LOT of money on medication, and my quality of life has improved without the side effects of the 11 different anti depressant and mood stabilizing drugs they had put me on at one time or another.

The FDA keeps pot illegal because it is financially advantageous to do so. Drug companies cannot patent a plant, and therefor cannot charge nearly as much money as they can for a pill that has the minor side effect of nausea, vomiting, weight loss, loose stool, loss of sex drive, loss of appetite, kidney and liver failure, and in some rare cases. Death.

Yah... After those side effects, I'll take pot over ANY FDA approved drugs. The only side effects pot's going to give me is euphoria, increased appetite, and occasionally I won't make any sense. Thats a small price to pay for my life back.

Oh, and you can also eat pot. Or you can use a vaporizer, which allows you to consume the active ingredients of pot without having to inhale the carcinogens involved with burning it.

The government doesn't have a leg to stand on, and they haven't since they first banned pot as a way of discriminating against mexicans. (Look it up if you don't believe me).
April 21, 2006 @ 20:11

Comment from: Thomas E. Goodwin, G.G. [Visitor] · http://www.graduategemologist.blogspot.com
You rightly ask "what are the feds smoking?" I think I have the answer. They aren't smoking anything illegal. THEY ARE DRINKING ALCOHOL! The alcoholic beverage industry has tremendous political clout. And, the LAST thing they want is a competing recreational drug like marijuana sanctioned in any form. So, is it any surprise that research is suppressed, or ignored? I think not. Once again, it's all about MONEY not public morality, and certainly NOT "public health" or safety.
April 21, 2006 @ 20:16

Comment from: Boris Shpungin [Visitor]
Some of you conjecture that pot is illegal because it benefits the alcohol and tobacco industries. However, I think you're wrong.

The food industry by far dwarfs both the tobacco and alcohol industries, many times over. Since increased use of pot would lead to increased appetites and greater food consumption, the food industry should be gung-ho behind pot legalization. Never even mind the market potential of pot pastries...

Plus, the same farmers who are seriously thinking about growing corn for ethanol production, might be just as intrigued with hemp as a great raw material for the 'natural products' industry. And the paper industry might appreciate a hemp alternative to the ever more expensive wood pulp. Not to mention that our forests could be relieved of some of that pressure -- which benefits everyone. The textile industry might appreciate an ecologically and pricewize superior alternative to cotton...

In other words, there are plenty of industries that can benefit from legalization of marijuana. So, I don't think that the economic power balance is important at all in this case. The political power balance, on the other hand...

I think the true reason for pot's illegal status is the same holier-than-thou religious politics that led to the Prohibition fiasco last century. Both parties in power are scared to death of the Fundamentalists and the "Faimly Values" crowd. They would never dare to offend the sensibilities of hypocritical socker moms and god-fearing NASCAR dads who did all kinds of drugs in their teens but would rather pretend it never happened.

So, the solution to the pot dilemma is simple: get rid of hypocricy in America's electorate. Jolly luck to all of us.
April 21, 2006 @ 21:32

Comment from: George Washington [Visitor]
"What are the Feds smoking?"

The Feds are smoking the remains of the Constitution.

Scientific reality is being held hostage by the coersive state.

IF A JUDGE OR BEAUROCRAT DENIES THE MUNCHIES EXIST, ...
[Phrase deleted by the management. Please, Mr. Washington, you're the father of our nation--less violent imagery, please! --Rennie]

I will not doublethink for the big pharma and petro industrial oligarchs. Not in my lifetime.
April 21, 2006 @ 21:37

Comment from: Jack P Toerson [Visitor] · http://www.twonilblankblank.com/blog
I don't think cannabis and canabaloids should be canonised. Any mind altering substances, including alcohol, often make the mentally ill worse off, and can have negative social consequences. Cannabis shouldn't automatically be accepted as 'good' in the same way alcohol usage shouldn't automatically be considered 'good'. There is plenty of research to do regarding the long term mental health impact of cannabis - despite of the research regarding mental health and alcohol often being ignored.

Demonisation is not the answer because it is preventing an adult discussion of important issues. There is also the problem that some people who sell cannabis are linked to organised crime. It is not just stoners and hippy dropouts. People have died as the result of the associated crime, if not the drug itself. Whether the answer to this is to take the supply of drugs away from criminals is another debate.

But it is a debate and people should be careful of adhering too firmly for any polar stance. People should go with the facts not what they believe.
April 21, 2006 @ 21:43

Comment from: Jeff Barringer [Visitor]
No surprise here.

Anyone that thought that the FDA would have issued a statement counter to current Bush Administration and DEA doctrine, really must have been smoking something. The DEA has gone so far as to target medicinal marijuana organizations and initiatives trying to change the law.

Now last I heard smoking and possessing marijuana was illegal, but as far as I know campaigning to change the law isn't.
April 21, 2006 @ 21:45

Comment from: John [Visitor]
I live near a pot dispensary , one of the arguments was that we shouldn't let kids see people going in an buying pot.However the place doesn't open until 10 and closes at three. There is a bar a few doors down, that opens at 6 am and closes at 2 the next morning. I have seen people lined up to get into the bar while it is still dark outside. Why should anybody believe that the goverment hires the best and brightest anymore , but the dull and worthless instead. America has fallen and can't get up. It is the Religio-industrial complex that has undermined all of our freedoms.
April 21, 2006 @ 21:53

Comment from: Phil Goodman [Visitor]
The fundamental point is that prohibiting an adult from ingesting marijuana is a gross violation of the social contract which serves as the basis for modern civilization. You want to tell me what I can consume for my own jollies -- jollies which do not concern you in the least?

Very well, I'll vote for violent, intrusive fundamentalists who'll claim the right to review everything that goes on in your bedroom, classroom, chatroom. How about jail for those researching truths not explicitly endorsed in some religious text?

Every reservation expressed here so far is just incredibly small beer. You must shake the narrowed-conclusion, peer-reviewed mentality, and understand that this is an issue where more is at stake than simply shrinking error bars on a damned graph.
April 21, 2006 @ 22:01

Comment from: BWE [Visitor] · http://brainwashedgod.blogspot.com
Who knows how to make a macro that would do that? Jeez, that would save so much time in Newspaper offices and reporters could just kick back and get high instead of panicking over deadlines:

The [Gov't Office of choice/ drop down menu] issued a press release denying [science] today. [Politician] said that the American People would/n't....
April 21, 2006 @ 22:03

Comment from: Abraham [Visitor]
I can understand where a lot of you come from. But just to play the devil's advocate- after all whats a discussion without two points of view!

a LOT of people see pot as a gateway drug to harder, much more addictive drugs like cocaine, heroine etc. While i endorse science studies into using the plant for medicinal research, would that not endorse its use in the mind of youngetsres who don't (or can't) discriminate between medical and recreational use?

I have to agree however, that the modern world of science research is hardly immune to the pressure from special interest groups (both in the conservative and left wing aspects). Just look at the stem cell debacle!
April 21, 2006 @ 22:17

Comment from: Jack Sprat [Visitor] · http://fsm.org
Wow, gee, the government is hypocritical. So, scientists get no respect, and people who have anedcdotal evidence can't come forward. Great catch-22 indeed. Du Pont Chemical is the reason the poor bastards with cancer and AIDS can't get relief. It's probably also the reason why we haven't transitioned away from petrochemicals to plant oils for our plastics technologies. Check the timeline around 1937 if this surprises you. Du Pont's banker, Andrew Mellon (also the President of Gulf Oil), was behind the 1937 "marijuana" tax bill. Our nation is controlled by the corporate interests over the people's interests. If this is news to you, you haven't been paying attention.
April 22, 2006 @ 01:38

Comment from: Steven [Visitor]
Marijuana can be ingested orally and has roughly the same effects. If smoking is the problem, it can be studied by eating. No lung irritation. FDA makes a big issue out of "Smoked marijuana" while ignoring the psychoactive ingredient THC.
April 22, 2006 @ 03:00

Comment from: rex wind [Visitor]
If the FDA can't be objective, who is going to take them seriously? They are no better than some of the advocates exaggerating the benefits of marijuana.
April 22, 2006 @ 03:04


Comment from: sayitaintso [Visitor]
Abraham,

The gateway theory has been debunked by science. From todays NYTimes, "...the Institute of Medicine report concluded there was no evidence that marijuana acts as a gateway to harder drugs. And it said there was no evidence that medical use of marijuana would increase its use among the general population."
http://blogs.salon.com/0002762/2006/04/21.html#a1534
April 22, 2006 @ 03:11

Comment from: Lee Aubel [Visitor]
In the words of 'Deep Throat'; "Follow the money..." There are a lot of people and companies making money fighting the 'War on Drugs' while marijuana growers are notoriously poor campaign contributors. Not to put too fine a point on it, is it any wonder that the the anti-drug political/industrial complex will do and say anything it can to protect it's position by outlawing any research that might contradict it's position??

Used stupidly, marijuana is harmful and dangerous. So are alcohol, firearms, cars, and every drug the FDA has ever approved. Used stupidly, the FDA is also harmful and dangerous. Let's try to return to decision-making based on real science and critical thinking - it could be your life that's saved.
April 22, 2006 @ 03:17

Comment from: James Kielland [Visitor] · http://www.jameskielland.com
Few things are as embarassing as people coming forth insisting upon the innocuous nature of marijuana by offering up "arguments" that consist of little more than paranoid delusions, non-sequiturs, and spelling errors.

The basic gist of several arguments here is that the Federal Government's desire to keep marijuana banned is due to a "follow the money" interest. Unfortunately, those making this argument have been unable to do exactly that and offer no clarion connections but instead toss out a bunch of vague, seeming unconnected associations. Some of these theories seem semi-plausible, I suppose. But the evidence is lacking.

I've often read about the amazing, miraculous claims put forth by hemp activists. It would seem that it is the absolute solution to every problem: cheap, nutritious food; affordable, domestically produced energy; eco-friendly and economical clothing, housing, and plastics, etc. And yet, for all the years that I've been hearing these claims it seems as if no one has been able to convince some moneyed interests of the great profits to be made in a hemp-based economy. The phrase "follow the money" has been tossed out more than once and it might be worthwhile to ask ourselves why, in fact, no one seems to be doing just that. The best documentation that I've been able to find is some old article from a 1930s Popular Science.

This might make a good subject for a special issue of Scientific American. I'd really love to read a good investigation into potential value of industrial hemp. In fact, I'm rather sympathetic to the notion. From what I've read, hemp seeds appear to be nutritious and anything that could reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources would be welcome.

I should note that none of this should be taken as a defense on my part of the federal government's position on marijuana. The current laws probably do more harm than good. But I see no evidence whatsoever that habitual marijuana use is cognitively or emotionally innocuous. In fact, I see considerable evidence of just the opposite and I believe that further research into the effects of marijuana on cognition, personality, development, and its interaction with prescription medications such as anti-depressants and anxiolytic agents, will reveal a number of things that many people will not like to be confronted with. I suppose until that time many people will be able to comfort themselves with the idea that there is "no clear evidence" that it can be harmful.
April 22, 2006 @ 03:24

Comment from: Roger [Visitor]
I agree the government is acting like idiots here and are just as wrong by why are you propping up the marijuana community?
The so called marijuana community is just as hypocritical. Where is their evidence for medical use except this one report? This is a smokescreen using some small benefits to say Pot is 'safe' and to not pay for Marinol.
Marijuana weakens the immune system and causes more sickness because of it. Sure it might relieve pain but so does Marinol (An approved marijuana based medication). AIDS is an immune system deficiency disease so the two can't mix well. If I had AIDS I would take the proper medication like Magic Johnson, not become a stoner by smoking pot every day or being subjugated to it. This is such a stupid joke. I am very shocked at pot smokers for supporting getting stoned every day for back pain. I thought they advocated smoking it once in a while.
Thanks for more ignorance on the subject Scientific American.

I also don't think it's healthy for someone to have to smoke pot every day for back pain. If I drink beer I can drink a little and not get stoned; with pot that's not true. Plus other people are effected by the smoke.
Also, are these medical marijuana people driving cars stoned? Yes.
I am going to sue my state for everything its worth if they legalize it here. Be ready. This should be fun. Not.

The best thing for both sides is to just do more studies please and stop the foolishness.
April 22, 2006 @ 04:08

Comment from: Drake (last name withheld to protect the guilty) [Visitor]

I have used marijuana recreationally (and heavily) for 30 years. In that time I have been a good employee at all my jobs (based on my employee reviews) and a good citizen (participating in voting and keeping myself educated about the issues). I also went back to college (at a point in time after I had been smoking pot for 17 years) where I raised my previous GPA (from previous college experience 20 years prior) from 1.97. I graduated college with a BS and a GPA of 3.65. I smoked pot during this later college experience, so I don't really see where it hurt my cognitive ability (I will also note that I did not get high before tests...intelligent recreational drug use requires it be used at appropriate times when mental clarity is typically not required).

I also associate with other pot smokers (most around my age, ie. mid-50's) who have had successful and consistent job careers. None of us have progresssed onto other drugs, nor have we committed crimes, developed mental illness, or had any problems social, legal or physical (all of us in good health...knock on wood). ((As a side note, none of us feel as if we are any better than anyone else in the world, so please don't think we feel morally superior, or in any way superior, to non-smokers...we merely take our relaxation in the form of pot vs. alcohol or religion))

So, based on my personal experience, I see little or no harm from a recreational use of this drug...other than the fact that we are all criminals and social outcasts who risk imprisonment and/or job loss from our choice of recreational substances.

I (we) also acknowledge that pot has psychotropic effects, so we also agree it should not be used by folks with mental problems (as alcohol shouldn't). It also may have an effect on one's worldview, as one learns to look at things from a different perspective...for that reason I beleive strongly that kids, who are in the process of developing their personalities and their worldview, shouldn't use it (again, any more than they should use alcohol). However, just because some individuals should not use the substance should not disallow the majority of adults from it's use.

One huge problem I see is that propoganda from the US government over the years has indoctrinated many people with numerous fallacious understandings....one of the biggest being about hemp. Hemp cannot be smoked (OK...hemp CAN be smoked, as almost any substance CAN be smoked, but smoking hemp tastes foul and gives no euphoria so it's like smoking the grass from your yard). Hemp was made illegal as law enforcement claimed it could not easily differentiate between hemp plants and marijuana plants. So an incredibly useful plant (hemp) was made illegal.

For many different reasons, the US government is against any use of either plant, and they have stifled research into the plant for decades, unless that research was designed to show negative effects. In their ongoing drive against this plant they have used (and continue to use) all kinds of political and economic presssure to force other countries to join in the vendetta.
I find it extremely unfortunate (only talking about the US here) that the incredibly useful hemp plant is prohibited (one example-the oil from hemp seeds is far better than the oil from corn, now being touted as the 'solution' to our dependance on foreign oil) as is the marijuana plant (which personal use by sufferers of many ailments, not governments testers, has shown to have positive effects).

Unfortunately there are well connected industries with serious political clout that continue to desire the situation continue, not to mention well connected organized crime elements that also have a stake in this game, so the huge economic benefits to the country from a hugely increased tax base (from hemp, medical AND recreational use of marijuana) is offset by the incredibly huge personal profits of a few individuals.

So, it ain't news....just the same old BS....a relative few profit at the expense of the general good.
April 22, 2006 @ 09:08

Comment from: annonymous [Visitor]
I used to work in a hospital and you'd be surprised how much of the staff smokes marijuana. I also know some one who is bipolar and gets anxiety attacks and when that person smokes marijuana that person is relaxed. And I'm not talking about smoking all day long. I'm talking about having one joint at the morning and one about 8 at night. Usually just one a day though. Why take all sorts of other meds which can cause dependency and side effects any way when you can just smoke one or 2 a day and get the same benefits or better. Pot does not make you dependent on it like othe rdrugs do. You can quit any time and not have withdrawls. Get rid of alcohol instead. It causes way more harm than pot. I hear about drunk drivers all the time yet rarely if ever have i heard of pot accidents. And remember people have accidents all the time that do not involve drugs. Pot accidents just appear to be at minimal levels compared to other types of accidents. They should legalize it and put a warning label on it like they do for prescription meds saying to not operate heavy machinery or drive after taking a few tokes.
April 22, 2006 @ 09:29

Comment from: Celeste [Visitor]
Everyone above has already presented all of the logical arguments for the need to study the benefits/dangers of medical marijuana, so I am writing just to counter the words of one writer: "Also, are these medical marijuana people driving cars stoned? Yes. I am going to sue my state for everything its worth if they legalize it here. Be ready. This should be fun. Not."

People who currently drive drunk are prosecuted for doing so when caught. Why would you think it would or should be any different for those who would drive high? Are you planning on suing when they actually get in an accident and hurt someone, or "just in case?" Also, that comment leads me to believe that you are currently involved in lawsuits against your state for legalized alcohol, not to mention the many drugs that are legal in today's market both over and under the counter, that are labeled with clear warnings to people not to drive while under their influence, like cough syrups, sleep aids, and allergy medicines.

Also, to ask where the proponents of legalized medical marijuana get their evidence is just plain silly - the whole point of the above discussion is that they are not allowed to gather such evidence, assuming it even exists, due to current law and that, in fact, that is the problem. Lastly, the reasoning that "other people are affected by the smoke," completely ignores the fact that marijuana comes from a plant, and can be ingested in many different ways; one doesn't have to smoke it.

Your reasons for wanting to keep marijuana illegal are simply illogical, and it's clear you don't want to find out anything that might contradict your current view point - if you don't already work for the FDA, you certainly have all of the qualifications to do so.
April 22, 2006 @ 09:54

Trackback from: TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime [Visitor]
FDA Shames Itself Again
by TChris The FDA's recent claim that marijuana has no medical benefit is a triumph of politics over science, of turf protection over compassion. Several officials in the 11 states that allow medical marijuana disputed the F.D.A.'s contention that ther...
April 22, 2006 @ 10:38

Comment from: ItsAllAboutMoney [Visitor]
The underlying secret is, the Goverment needs more ways to shorten lives NOT extend them, the realization of the failure of our social security program has come to fruition. Without legalization of marijuanna, the goverment can still count on the massive influx of drug transporting (soon to be tax paying) amnestied ILLEGAL ALIENS!! The FDA approves drugs(ie;VIOX) that mask the symtoms to keep the person producing taxable income until the underlying problem eventually causes instant death (heart attack) . Why introduce an alternative ,hard to tax solution that doesn't benefit the politicians pockets ? Explain the reason the GOVERMENT complains about the cost of healthcare and the CEO of an HMO is made 400 million in compensation ?

Its not about medical benefits its about keeping the wheels greased.
April 22, 2006 @ 12:04

Comment from: chris [Visitor]
all i know is 1st hand had cancer - took chemo- legal drugs did NOTHING for side effects and 10 times more costly - weed took all problems away do you think it matters to me what any of them say LIVE FREE OR DIE SEMPER FI
April 22, 2006 @ 12:31

Comment from: O. Azam [Visitor]
Unfortunately, politics does trump science, no matter how much that phrase annoys you. (Cases in point: stem cell research, theories of the origin of species, marijuana studies)...
April 22, 2006 @ 12:48

Comment from: camus [Visitor] · http://theroyblog.blogspot.com/
Petty minds, intrusive and self absorbed "do gooders" with little control over their own personal frailties have always been in the forefront of of restricting the freedoms of others.

Their classical approach includes the domino theory, the exploitation of the harm to "children" excuse, some selective religious quotes, et al but above all their absolute lack of knowledge of the subject matter they are adamant at banning.

In order to excuse their pathetic weaknesses they work actively at finding some group or behavior they can demonize to appear superior in their own minds. Nothing pleases a politician with low ethics more than identifying some behavior in "others" that they can harp about to hide their own lack of morals.

Peal the veils of of "rightiousness and what you find are angry and delusional hypocrites with low self-esteem morbidly determined to impose their wills on others.

Pot smoking is a billion dollar business profiting a host of "legal Businesses"_banks, financial institutions, government agencies "fighting" its use, and many others.

The political decision by the FDA to maintain pot as an illegal herb is self serving and will not put a dent on its trade, use and enjoyment unless the FDA can penetrate every Middle Class and upper class homes in this country. Billion dolars of consumption requires a wide network of affluent consumers.

So light up and relax all you "righteous" banners, it will cool down your anger and you may live longer, although the sooner you go, the more beneficial it will be for all of us that understand the premise of "freedom of choice."
April 22, 2006 @ 13:22

Comment from: fred jackson [Visitor]
right.
NO its definitely not legal to drive stoned in states where pot is legal for medical usage. BUT is it illegal to take painkillers and drive?
yes you can google prescription drugs and pot, but what happens when substituting pot in that search with alcohol or tobacco? despite the warning on drug labels how many goofs take painkillers, drink alcohol, and then drive or operate machinery? they probably have a cigarette dangling from their mouth as they pass a schoolbus with flashing yellow lights.
this is just absurd.
what about all the idiots flying around on viagra hitting on girls old enough to be their daughter? or teenagers on anti-depressants killing their parents and/or classmates.
the most outspoken critics willing to rather pay thousands of dollars for drugs that'll keep them impotent and stupid, much to the glee of the drug companies. whereas pot is cheap and easy to grow. basically free medicine that helps certain individuals who would otherwise not be able to afford comfort. or maybe someone who does have a choice but would rather use a drug which is clean, organic, safe, effective. not a drug whose full spectrum of side effects is unknown or barely tested or when tested seriously damages the test subjects as in the case of TGN1412, created by German pharmaceutical company TeGenero. i wonder how many pharmaceutical industry or moralist lobbyists pushing tighter restrictions on pot would choose TGN1412 over a marijuana joint. i demand that they be injected immediately along with the FDA goons, DEA and FBI as a prerequisite to continued employment.
BTW, pot is legal in most european countries.
With all jobs/manufacturing going to china, and the president spending astronomical amounts of money on some lame-brained war everyone needs help coping with reality, and if there are people using it recreationally is it really any worse than alcohol or cigarettes? i agree with camus above, you uptighties really need to have a hit on the green bud. hey it'll make paying $4 a gal for gas this summer alot easier on you.
April 22, 2006 @ 17:47

Comment from: M. Porter [Visitor] · http://www.portersemail.com
I like it that Big Bro has built a couple of "trainers" into the system. It's important for young people to have the opportunity and ability to break a law in a sort of harmless way.

By gifting our youth with the knowledge that not all laws are "right" and by teaching them that it is easy to get away with breaking such laws...we create the next generation of free thinkers and thus encourage the evolution of defiance and dissrespect that guarantees that the concept of the government being the servant of the people is not forgotten.

So what if our teens have to skulk a bit to score their baggie of green?
Those foolish and unenforceable and yet important laws serve to teach us that each person is the best judge of what is right and wrong for them...and that there really are no rules except those that we apply ourselves.
April 22, 2006 @ 21:27

Comment from: M. Porter [Visitor] · http://www.portersemail.com
Oh ...and...I can legally juggle chainsaws in my boxers in my front yard while guzzling whiskey; I can legally grow any number of plants that just happen to be deadly poison; I can legally jump out of an airplane; I can legally tattoo my entire body and pierce it at will; I can legally eat so much that I die from a stroke; etc etc etc....but I cant legally grow pot. It is all just so transparently obvious that the government assumes that we will scoff. And no, I dont smoke pot. At least none since about 1976.
April 22, 2006 @ 21:34

Comment from: Jason [Visitor]
Its interesting to note the ammount of money still spent on opiate reasearch. In fact here in Aussie it is a jailable offence to grow canabis even for legitimate 'alternative' use yet Tasmaniam alkaloids grows hundresd of hectares of 'chaff' opium in Tasmainia [in exess of 20,000HA], causing huge social problems but this is ok...Tasmanian Alkaloids pay there taxes after all.
April 22, 2006 @ 22:13

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5 Comments:

Blogger Goepp-Watch said...

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08:33  
Blogger Bob Merkin said...

what the #(^&#)^)???

have they taught Spam Bots to read those wiggly little Secret Code letters and type them? how the hell do they DO that????

nothing wrong with my brain, thank you.

13:11  
Anonymous Svetlana said...

I am so glad that most people (judging from their comments) are able to see through the U.S. government hypocrisy in having the FDA come out against medicinal marijuana.

Contrary to the toadies of the Bush administration (the FDA and the DEA being the chief ones among them), the scientific evidence does exist in favor of the therapeutic use of cannabis. Witness the recent Fourth National Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics held in Santa Barbara, California, that was accredited by the American Medical Association.

Many of the researchers who delivered papers at this conference were from far away places such as Israel, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the Netherlands. That’s because cannabis research in the United States is thwarted (on purpose) by the government. Uncle Sam makes it impossible to obtain legal cannabis for research purposes.

In spite of the federal opposition to medical cannabis use, eleven States of the Union allow such use, with more promising to come on line soon. It’s a question of States’ rights vs. the Federal Government. Washington has lined up the big guns (the Supreme Court decision of last summer and now the FDA) to make sure that pot doesn’t gain its much deserved recognition as a healing agent.

We all know that marijuana has been used as a healing agent for centuries. Under the Nixon administration, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified marijuana as a Schedule One drug, alongside heroin. One eye-opening statement in your blog is the one that says how cocaine is easier to obtain for research purposes, than weed.

I live in one of the eleven states that allow medpot, so I consider myself fortunate, even though the federal government could come after me one day. As you’ve probably guessed, I am a medpot patient who suffers from debilitating migraines. I’ve tried every legal drug available, but after a while they all lost their potency. However, using a moderate amount of pot daily wards off my migraine attacks. When they do occur, the marijuana makes them bearable.

Medpot is not readily available to patients in my state, so most of us decide to grow out own. I received very helpful advice from a website that specializes in helping patients like me.

I eat all organic foods, and I feed my plants an organic fertilizer made by the Advanced Nutrients company. It is called Iguana Juice, and it comes in two varieties, one for the vegetative stage of my plants, called Grow, and the other one for the flowering stage, called Bloom.

Also, Tarantula and Piranha help be grow big budded plants, by colonizing the root system with beneficial fungi and bacteria. My harvests are remarkable, thanks to the Advanced Nutrients products.

Regardless of federal government hypocrisy, I feel vindicated by the State Legislature where I live, since they had the wisdom to allow me to grow my own medicine.

08:55  
Anonymous Daniel Haszard said...

Appreciate your blog,mental health consumers are the least capable of self advocacy,my doctors made me take zyprexa for 4 years which was ineffective for my symptoms.I now have a victims support page against Eli Lilly for it's Zyprexa product causing my diabetes.--Daniel Haszard www.zyprexa-victims.com

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