I am pretty aggravated by the breakdown of scientific decision
making in this country regarding the medical uses of marijuana.
The reason why we don't have adequate research to prove patient
claims by now is that this research has been politically forbidden
and is being actively forbidden now.
For about twenty years we have heard patient claims, we have
written history of cannabis use medically going back 5000 years,
we had 100 years of widespread medical use of cannabis in America,
and in 1986 the discovery of the cannabinoid receptors showed
that the cannabinoids in marijuana have a wide spectrum of
pharamcological properties including every form of relief
specifically in all of the above patient records.
But still the federal government will not allow one single
controlled study to determine for peer-reviewed publication
whether marijuana in fact is useful in reducing AIDS wasting
syndrome in people with AIDS.
They are pushing massive trials of their favorite candidate for
anti-emetic and anti-wasting therapy.
It is a medicine familiar to Americans, it is called THALIDOMIDE
and in their rush to get thalidomide-based trials going,
they have short-circuited all normal regulations for using
this horrifically dangerous substance.
Meanwhile the only research NIDA will allow is research on the
harmful side effects of the medical effects of cannabinoids
that they say don't exist.
For example, the director of NIDA is advertising happily
data showing a slight suppression in fertility caused by cannabinoid
action on follicle stimulating hormone and other things. Therefore
this is not a safe drug and can't be legalized even for medical
use!!! he trumpets.
Well, Dr. Leshner - people with AIDS are not usually bothered by
infertility, it's not a big issue with them. And most nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatories if used during pregnancy double the chance of
newborn pulmonary hypotension. (Cannabinoids in marijuana have
been confirmed to do this at the same rate as prenatal stress or
use of other NSA's such as Advil.)
As a nation, in America we deal with the possibility of fetal
side effects with MOST medicines by attaching a warning label,
not a prison sentence.
And those who have heard of THALIDOMIDE know those side effects
were even worse than a lowered probability of conception.
(Even aside from birth defects, peripheral nerve damage is
If any of you are in the California Medical Association or
the American Medical Association, please consider the facts
I am presenting and lobby to end this insanity. (All other
organizations welcome to consider them too.)
So many people with AIDS are now smoking marijuana to control
wasting syndrome that it really ought to be a primary
directive of federal marijuana research to be able to tell people
with AIDS if this is a waste of their lungs or not, if what they
feel is happening is really observable clinically and
if there are any cross reactions with protease inhibitors!
It is a horrific kind of injustice that the marijuana pilot
study proposed by Dr. Abrams at UCSF has been repeatedly
forbidden by Leshner personally at NIDA, while the federal
government is rushing through big trials of thalidomide,
a drug that already gave America one huge horrific SURPRISE
side effect in the form of massive birth defects (and
who knows how it will interact with HIV.)
Why is thalidomide preferable to marijuana as an agent against
AIDS wasting syndrome? Why is our governmental research
oversight making this decision?
If you belong to the AMA or CMA or other medical or scientific
organizations, please talk to your organizations about
how we can bring back a sense of logic and proportion to
the manner in which medical marijuana research is conducted in this
I recommend the reference
PHARMACOLOGY OF CANNABINOID RECEPTORS
ANNUAL REVIEW OF PHARMACOLOGY AND TOXICOLOGY
vol. 35 1005 by A. Howlett
for those not familiar with the idea of marijuana pharmcology.
There is plenty of evidence in this paper to motivate
controlled studies of the safety and effectiveness of
most of the current patient claims about medical marijuana.
Please speak up in your organization about this abuse of
power over patients who want the best medicine for them,
not the best medicine for the political agenda of
Dr. Alan Leshner of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
I believe that authority over marijuana research should be taken
away from NIDA and transferred to the control of a more
objective body of doctors and scientists who can measure risk and
benefit with a scientific yardstick rather than with a political one.