The Medical Pot Hysteria

The Medical Pot Hysteria
Posted by CN Staff on June 12, 2005 at 23:10:48 PT
By Cathy Young 
Source: Boston Globe
USA -- With everything else going on in the world, it's good to know that the federal government is being vigilant when it comes to the really dangerous people: those unrepentant chronic-pain patients who viciously insist on using marijuana to relieve their suffering. Last week in Gonzales v. Raich, the Supreme Court ruled that federal drug laws supersede the laws several states have passed in recent years legalizing the production and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Apparently, the actions of a sick woman in California growing pot in her basement for her medical needs affect ''interstate commerce," which means that the Constitution says it's all right to bring in the feds.
The ruling is bad legal reasoning; commentators such as Boston University law professor Randy Barnett, who argued the case before the Supreme Court last November, point out that it directly contradicts several of the court's decisions in recent years narrowing the scope of federal powers. It is also bad moral reasoning. Whether you use personal autonomy or compassion as your standard, denying seriously ill men and women access to a drug that could help them is repugnant.Moreover, as Dr. Sally Satel, a psychiatrist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, writes in The New York Times, research on therapeutic uses of marijuana has been held back by ideologically motivated restrictions.All this is the latest example of how the war on drugs has addled our brains. Yes, drug abuse is a serious problem. But the demonization of illegal drugs -- even mild ones such as marijuana, which tens of millions of Americans have indulged in with consequences no worse than for legal intoxicants -- has created a climate that is just as dangerous.The persecution of medical marijuana users is one example. Here's another: Under a congressional bill proposed by Republican Representative James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, if you are aware of any drug use or sale on a college campus or in a home with children and fail to report it within 24 hours, you will face a minimum two-year prison sentence. Maybe we could call it Uncle Joe's Law, since it has a distinct flavor of the Stalin-era Soviet Union where people could be imprisoned for failing to report political crimes. I'm not fond of Soviet parallels for the actions of democratic government, but this parallel does suggest itself. It's all the more galling since this proposed Draconian measure is not directed at terrorists who want to kill us, but at college kids who want a few hits of pot.This isn't a conservative-versus-liberal, Republican-versus-Democrat issue: Both parties are drug war parties. (It was the Clinton administration in the 1990s that decided to use federal authority to thwart new state laws legalizing medical marijuana: In 1996, Clinton approved a plan to subject doctors who prescribe the drug to federal prosecution.) It's hard to tell which side is more guilty of hypocrisy. What happened to the conservatives' commitment to the principles of states' rights and limited government? What happened to liberals' concern for the rights of defendants and to the right to privacy?The libertarian solution to this problem is to legalize or at least decriminalize drug use, at least for adults. There are solid arguments for this: In a free society, people should generally be able to decide what substances they put in their bodies. On a pragmatic level, decriminalization would take drug profits for organized crime and even terrorism out of the equation. The obvious counterargument is that it will lead to more drug abuse, since obtaining drugs will be far easier. But the most likely result would be a small increase in casual use: when drugs are illegal, it stands to reason that the kind of people who obtain them are also more prone to addiction. Drug prohibition is based on the idea that the diabolical power of drugs robs people of the ability to make choices. Yet, as Satel persuasively argued earlier this month at an American Enterprise Institute conference on neuroscience and morality, this isn't true: addicts can and do choose to quit.Satel believes that marijuana should be treated no differently from alcohol, with generally tougher drunk driving penalties. However, she does not support drug legalization; for one, she told me, it is a political nonstarter that diverts attention from practical solutions (such as more emphasis on treatment rather than prosecution). That's almost certainly true. But maybe we should start by just saying no to drug hysteria. Then, in a saner climate, we can start thinking about solutions.Cathy Young is a contributing editor at Reason magazine. Her column appears regularly in the Globe. Source: Boston Globe (MA)Author: Cathy Young Published: June 13, 2005Copyright: 2005 Globe Newspaper CompanyContact: letter globe.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Medical Marijuana Information Links To Grow - New York Times Court and Marijuana Label-Defying Ruling
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Comment #6 posted by kaptinemo on June 13, 2005 at 12:06:04 PT:
And the bloody screaming irony of it
Click on the second link. Look at the very bottom of the article: a wine advertisement. 100,000 people in America die yearly from either stupidly drinking an entire bottle all at once or stretching out their suicide via a lengthy bout of alcoholism. I haven't included all the murders and fatal car accidents. Nor have I included all the spousal and child abuse and rapes fueled by alcohol. Just the bare ugly fact that use of alcohol can kill. Period.While cannabis has had exactly zero deaths directly attributable to use. Insane.Just insane.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on June 13, 2005 at 10:41:45 PT
Two Articles On California's Cannabis Clubs
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Comment #4 posted by goneposthole on June 13, 2005 at 07:08:55 PT
No matter how much cannabis is hindered
... and demonized and condemned and subjected to lies and propaganda ... it keeps doing its job."ii. American company PHYTOTECH, and the Ukraine's Institute of Bast Crops have planted industrial hemp to removal of contaminants in the soil near Chernobyl."If hemp can do this for soil, think what it can do for the human body.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"... it is a political nonstarter"I thought politicians were supposed to be open minded.I thought politicians are supposed to listen to the people they represent.I thought that a citizen would be free of condemnation and criticism if they voice their opinion about anything.People aren't potted plants that need watering. Sometimes, it isn't water that is 'watering' them.When are politicians going to learn that it is they who need to listen?If only they would, then it would be a better world. The one we've got now doesn't look all that hot.
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on June 13, 2005 at 05:01:23 PT:
Partly related: Unholy alliances
The antis are always singing the hosannas of the FDA and our wonderful pharmaceutical industry *ad nauseum*...and remain embarassingly tight-lipped about matters like Vioxx.Many have wondered how something as dangerous as Vioxx (and Celebrex and Viagra, et al) could have gotten past the testing. (On a personal note, my Da took Vioxx for years; now I have to worry about his ticker as well as everything else; thanks, you moneygrubbing [insert foulest of cuss words here] swine!) Here's part of the answer: much of the testing done by universities has practically been designed *in toto* by the pharma corps themselves. It used to be that universities remained largely free of Big Pharma's reach; no more.Tainted to the Core; Why conflicts of interest are hazardous to your health By Jennifer Washburn
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Comment #2 posted by jose melendez on June 13, 2005 at 03:46:26 PT
forms to contact Congress on these issues
I copied one or two sentences in the forms, added my comments and sent them without the excess that surely Congressional aides must see over and over . . . - - -"Legitimate concerns surround the use of smoked cannabis, and its contribution to pulmonary irritation, bronchitis symptoms, and possible neoplastic sequelae. However, a recent study indicates that THC and even cannabis smoke block the activity of a key enzyme in pulmonary carcinogenesis. THC also has been demonstrated to promote apoptosis (programmed cell death) in malignant conditions including: leukemia via CB2 stimulation, gliomas, and melanoma, in which tumour angiogenesis is also inhibited.Additionally, two types of breast tumour cell lines were inhibited by THC, apparently via prolactin receptor effects. Additionally, pheochromocytoma, a tumour recalcitrant to most therapeutic approaches, has been demonstrated to be positively affected by cannabinoid treatment.Recently, it has also been observed that cannabidiol inhibits glioma cell growth independent of cannabinoid and vanilloid receptor effects through promotion of apoptosis. Finally, limonene, a cannabis terpenoid, has also proven to promote apoptosis of breast cancer cells in large doses in Phase II clinical trials.In lay terms, cancer occurs because cells become immortalised; they fail to heed normal signals to turn off growth. A normal function of remodelling in the body requires that cells die on cue. This is called apoptosis, or programmed cell death. That process fails to work in tumours. It is hoped that THC may promote its reappearance so that tumour cells will heed the signals, stop dividing, and die.Another method by which tumours grow is by ensuring that they are nourished: they send out signals to promote angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels. It is also hoped that cannabinoids may turn off these signals as well.
Two excellent reviews on this topic have recently been publishedectly , and simultaneously provide anti-emetic and analgesic support portend an exciting area for further research of cannabis based medicine extracts."- GW Pharmaceuticals debunker page
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Comment #1 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on June 13, 2005 at 01:30:22 PT
Hope for HR 2087 up for vote in congress this week
It is unbelievable how many pro MMJ articles out there being written. People seem to be listening to the sick who say cannabis does help them. Maybe this will help the vote for HR 2087 in congress this week allowing states the rights to protect the sick and dying from being arrested for using marijuana to ease their suffering. Everyone should contact their congress person through or and send out the automated letter lobbying for the bill's passage.WeThePeopleOfTheUnitedStatesShallDieWithNoHealthcareOrLiveInPovertyPayingMedicalBills
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