The Politics of Pot

The Politics of Pot
Posted by CN Staff on May 01, 2006 at 09:33:54 PT
A Register-Guard Editorial
Source: Register-Guard
Oregon -- The FDA should change its name to the Politically Approved Food and Drug Administration - PAFDA. It's a longer acronym, but it rolls off the tongue nicely and people would appreciate its greater honesty. The agency's other option is to stop embarrassing its dedicated doctors and scientists with utterly unscientific announcements such as the recent bulletin that smoked marijuana has no medicinal value.
Since no FDA expert panel or newly published research provided the basis for the pronouncement, it's safe to assume the sloppy one-page statement was the handiwork of Bush administration political appointees. The statement is devoid of any data to support its dishonest conclusion, but it does have one thing going for it: It's a masterpiece of circular logic. Marijuana is a dangerous drug, according to the FDA, because it is listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, where only the most dangerous drugs are listed. (Wait, there's more.) The FDA has been disinclined since the "reefer madness" days of federal pot policy to authorize any studies of marijuana's potential as medicine. That gives the FDA continuing cover to maintain that "no sound scientific studies support medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States." Here the FDA is fibbing, because it knows full well that in 1999, the Institute of Medicine, the medical arm of the National Academy of Sciences, examined the question of medical marijuana use in considerable depth and published a 288-page report of its findings. Among other conclusions, the report said, "For patients such as those with AIDS or who are undergoing chemotherapy, and who suffer simultaneously from severe pain, nausea, and appetite loss, cannabinoid drugs might offer broad-spectrum relief not found in any other single medication." Furthermore, the active ingredient in marijuana has long been known to reduce the intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma. Medical marijuana has earned the endorsement of The New England Journal of Medicine, the American Academy of Family Physicians and numerous oncologists. The anecdotal evidence of 10,000 Oregonians who've been prescribed medical marijuana by more than 2,000 licensed Oregon physicians adds to the mountain of data supporting the medicinal value of pot. The IOM report urged further research, but very little has been done in the seven years since its findings were published. The federal government controls the only legal supply of marijuana available for research, and the administration isn't much interested in providing scientists with the means to debunk its absolutist position on pot. The FDA is partly right about one thing: Lighting marijuana on fire and inhaling its smoke into the lungs is a crude and toxic delivery system. Smoking is a nonstarter as a way to wider acceptance of marijuana as medicine. More research is needed into development of safe alternatives to smoking, such as Sativex, a cannabis extract that is administered by means of a spray into the mouth. It has won preliminary approval in Canada for relief of symptoms of multiple sclerosis and for treatment of severe neuropathic pain. It's tragic to witness the FDA's credibility implosion at the hands of an administration that places politics ahead of impartial science. Combined with its disgraceful refusal to allow women nonprescription access to emergency contraception, the FDA's latest stumble into the politics of pot as medicine would be laughable, if it weren't so sad. Source: Register-Guard, The (OR) Published: Monday, May 1, 2006Copyright: 2006 The Register-GuardContact: rgletters guardnet.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:IOM Report Denies Marijuana Has Medical Value Denies Medical Value of Marijuana Marijuana: Reefer Madness
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Comment #8 posted by runderwo on May 01, 2006 at 14:39:41 PT
Remember, Dr. Grinspoon is on the record saying that there is no therapeutic difference between Sativex and smoked or vaporized whole cannabis.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on May 01, 2006 at 12:51:48 PT
I think they even if they make Sativex available they aren't required to remove Cannabis from a Schedule I drug and if that's true it makes no sense to me. Dr. Russo is in my one newsgroup. As far as I know he is still with GW Pharm.
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Comment #6 posted by dongenero on May 01, 2006 at 12:48:26 PT
right you are Hope
With Sativex, there can be no denying the medicinal benefits.I have not seen Dr. Russo in these forums for a very long time. He was working with GW on Sativex some time ago. I wonder if he is still involved with that company?
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on May 01, 2006 at 11:03:22 PT
Sativex...what it costs...what it is...
Sativex proves that cannabis is medicine. Even though most of us know it anyway. There is your "scientific proof". Sativex fought every kind of maze of red tape available to the prohibitionists to get their product to market. It cost them a fortune to navigate that red tape and conglomeration of road blocks put before them. Here comes Sativex. No one...No one can deny it's medicine. Next, the people who need a label from FDA to feel ok about using cannabis will have a new option to deal with their misery. They go to the doctor. Next they go to the pharmacist.They see that the ground up, pepperminted cannabis in a special dose control bottle is going to cost them about fifty dollars a day to get the benefits from. They know it came from a plant. They know the name of the plant. How can they not think of all the added costs to the cannabis they need to take?Sativex is breaking down the wall between us and freedom to use a gift from God...or nature...however you see it. Yes...they don't want us, common people, to follow them through that opening. But human nature requires it.And we mustn't forget that we have a faithful friend within the workings of Sativex. He will not forgot us and the others who benefit from the herb,cannabis. I trust him. We love you and have no way near forgotten you, Doc.
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Comment #4 posted by lombar on May 01, 2006 at 11:00:03 PT
They don't care how one uses it.
It is just illegal to have. If the simple argument that a criminal record, a trip to prison, and social sanctions are all FAR WORSE than even the most chronic use of cannabis then it seems pointless almost to argue the finer points of how people consume it. Basically prohibition is a system of harm maximisation where the 'sinners' are punished by their own line with suffering for their sins. With cannabis this just is not true so contradicts all the puritans... Heroin and cocaine addicitons can be like hell, like ciggarrettes or alcohol, harsh negative consequences(sickness, death) simply for using it. (although opiates are relatively safe except for the tolerance effect)A puff or pastry of virtually harmless stuff for a big payoff in bliss.. no drug companies, no doctors, just a plant any peasant can cultivate, who can profit from misery then?
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 01, 2006 at 10:11:00 PT
Some people in power don't see using a vaporizer type delivery system as an different then smoking. That's why I was thinking about emphasizing using cannabis in food. When we cook food we use herbs so why not the herb cannabis? It would add flavor and medicinal properties like other herbs do to food.
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on May 01, 2006 at 10:02:59 PT
Why not a vaporizer for delivery or in food as FoM suggests?What will the cost of Sativex be? Sativex is whole plant extract! Heck, why not just vaporize or cook with whole plant? I'm sure it would be much more cost effective than paying Big Pharma for some patented, over-priced delivery method for whole plant extract.Why is the government and people like Andrea Barthwell more receptive to medical cannabis only when it makes money for big pharmaceutical on the backs of seriously ill patients who are already in difficult financial straits?
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 01, 2006 at 09:51:40 PT
A Question
Why isn't baking an alternative to smoking? I could never afford Sativex since I don't have any health insurance. Why isn't the cost comparison ever really mentioned? Sativex is cannabis and is only one form of a delivery system. 
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