Dissembling on Medical Pot

Dissembling on Medical Pot
Posted by CN Staff on April 23, 2006 at 07:21:26 PT
Source: Chicago Tribune
USA -- The federal government has a long and dismal record of fighting the idea that marijuana has any medical value, and it is not about to let mere facts force a change in policy.The Food and Drug Administration's new pronouncement on the subject is just the latest disgraceful effort to maintain an unconvincing position that has long been rejected by most Americans--not to mention 11 states that have legalized medical marijuana. Besides failing to offer any new evidence for denying cannabis to patients who might benefit from it, the agency also ignores the best information available.
The FDA statement came in response to a request from Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.), chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee, an opponent of medical marijuana. It declares that "no human or animal data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use." Measures allowing it, says the agency, "would not serve the interests of public health because they might expose patients to unsafe and ineffective drug products."Souder, who perceives efforts to permit cannabis therapy as a Trojan horse for legalizing the drug entirely, seconded the FDA. Marijuana can't be a good treatment, he asserted, "because it adversely impacts concentration and memory, the lungs, motor coordination and the immune system."It may surprise Souder to learn that all sorts of valuable, federally approved medicines may have serious adverse effects, which is not grounds for banning them entirely. As it happens, there is ample evidence that pot can ameliorate some serious ailments that don't always respond to conventional treatments.A 1999 analysis by the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences concluded that it is "moderately well suited for particular conditions, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and AIDS wasting." Medical marijuana has earned the endorsement of The New England Journal of Medicine, the American Academy of Family Physicians and numerous oncologists.Its side effects, meanwhile, are exaggerated. In 1988, Francis Young, the Drug Enforcement Agency's own administrative law judge, called cannabis "one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."The FDA stoically pretends all this expert analysis doesn't exist. Its statement is equally dishonest when it says there are no scientific studies proving the value of marijuana--without acknowledging that the government has generally declined to cooperate with scientists who want to conduct clinical trials.It's a classic scam. Says University of Massachusetts agronomist Lyle Craker, who was refused permission to grow marijuana for his research, in place of the low-quality stuff offered by the government, "The reason there's no good evidence is that they don't want an honest trial."There is plenty of room for serious debate about the therapeutic potential of cannabis. But the government clearly thinks that what it doesn't know can't hurt it.Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)Published: April 23, 2006Copyright: 2006 Chicago Tribune CompanyContact: ctc-TribLetter Tribune.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:IOM Report Politics of Pot's Report Illuminates Divide on Marijuana Dismisses Medical Benefit From Marijuana 
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Comment #3 posted by afterburner on April 23, 2006 at 11:25:52 PT
FDA -- disgraceful unconvincing! 'Nuf Said!
"The Food and Drug Administration's new pronouncement on the subject is just the latest disgraceful effort to maintain an unconvincing position that has long been rejected by most Americans--not to mention 11 states that have legalized medical marijuana."
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 23, 2006 at 09:12:44 PT
Related Snipped Source Article
In the Bush Administration, The Spin Doctors Spit on Science By David Sarasohn Sunday, April 23, 2006Last Thursday, taking what was supposed to be a big hit at the subject, the Food and Drug Administration declared that "no sound scientific studies" had found a medical value for marijuana. Somehow, it only made the smoke thicker. "Unfortunately," Dr. Jerry Avorn, a professor at Harvard Medical School, told The New York Times, "this is yet another example of the FDA making pronouncements that seem to be driven more by ideology than science." For the Bush administration, complain many observers, it's becoming a very frequent drive. Repeatedly, from global warming to salmon protection to reproductive medicine, experts have charged that the administration tries to muscle scientific facts as if they were reluctant congressmen. Over the past year, a high-ranking NASA scientist reported being told not to speak publicly on global warming, until a political appointee in the agency's public relations office was overruled. Two scientific panels at the FDA overwhelmingly endorsed the safety and effectiveness of the morning-after Plan B contraceptive, which then vanished into the political appointees' approval process. And when an Oregon State graduate student in forestry published an article in a prestigious journal challenging the administration's position on salvage logging, the Bureau of Land Management temporarily pulled a forest research grant to the program. This administration doesn't do well in science, but hopes it can cover that up with its performance in politics.Snipped: Complete Article:
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Comment #1 posted by charmed quark on April 23, 2006 at 07:40:59 PT
Yet another one!
Excellent. I was so mad when I saw that FDA statement in my local paper. Seeing these comments in mainstream newspapers has reveresed my "mad".By the way - the scheduling of cannabis as a "Schedule 1" drug and the restricting of research on it has some odd consequences. CBD is one of the non-pyschoactive compounds in cannbis. It's one that I'm particularly interested in. It moderates the high of THC. I suspect the lack of CBD in Marinol is one of the reasons I have so much trouble with it, getting anxiety attacks from it and finding it extremely psychoactive at times. CBD by itself may turn out to be good for neuropathic pain, spasms, and may be a powerful antiinflamatory.Its only side effect is that it may be sedating. Yet it is also a schedule 1 drug along with THC ( when THC isn't in sesame oil). CBD has almost no abuse potential, while schedule 1 drugs are suppose to have high abuse potential along with no medical use. Leaving it as Schedule 1 makes no sense at all, it actively mismatches with the guidelines. Of course, the FDA, like the DEA, has just shown that they make no sense, too.
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