Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Analyze This

I recently ran across the following “Statement By The White House Drug Czar Regarding Food and Drug Administration Dismissal of Smoked Marijuana As Medicine.” What follows is that statement, presented sentence by sentence, with my commentary in italics following each sentence.

(Washington, D.C.)—John Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and President Bush's “Drug Czar,” today issued the following statement regarding the Food and Drug Administration statement regarding smoking marijuana as medicine.
This is the only sentence in this statement about which I have nothing to say.
Director Walters said, “Our Nation has the highest standards and most sophisticated institutions in the world for determining the safety and effectiveness of medication.
The fact that FDA-approved medicines are released to the public all the time that end up killing people is irrelevant.
Our national medical system relies on proven scientific research, not popular opinion.
Except when it comes to marijuana, where it relies on misinformation and the opinions of people who stand to profit most from the war on drugs.
To date, science and research have not determined that smoking a crude plant is safe or effective.
Safe compared to what? Aspirin? Celebrex? Vioxx? Phenylpropanolamine? And there is plenty of evidence, both scientific and anecdotal, that shows beyond a reasonable doubt that marijuana can be an effective treatment for a variety of disorders.
We have a responsibility as a civilized society to ensure that the medicine Americans receive from their doctors is effective, safe, and free from the pro-drug politics that are being promoted in America under the guise of medicine.
And to prevent those same Americans from administering home remedies if those remedies might take money out of the pockets of big pharmaceutical companies. The only politics that should be involved, in a civilized society that is, are the anti-drug variety.
Too many of our citizens suffer from pain and chronic illnesses.
Smoking illegal drugs may make some people “feel better.”
And making sick people “feel better” is bad how?
However, civilized societies and modern day medical practices differentiate between inebriation and the safe, supervised delivery of proven medicine by legitimate doctors.
One is bad and the other isn’t. One is a moral issue, the other isn’t. I’m starting to think that “civilized society” might not be all that it’s cracked up to be.
In 1999, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a review of the available scientific evidence in an effort to assess the potential health benefits of marijuana and its constituent cannabinoids.
So have many other reputable institutions, most of which don’t have a vested interest in their results.
The review concluded that smoking marijuana is not recommended for any long-term medical use, and a subsequent IOM report declared, “marijuana is not a modern medicine.”
The IOM is among a very small minority in their conclusion. See for example this NIH review of the medicinal applications of cannabinoids. Funny how the government seems to be unaware of the studies that disagree with their official position on marijuana.
For years, pro-drug groups seeking the legalization of marijuana and other drugs have preyed on the compassion of Americans to promote their political agenda and bypass F.D.A.'s rigorous standards which have safeguarded our medical supply for over 100 years.
There’s no place for compassion when it comes to caring for sick people. The most important thing is making sure the pharmaceutical companies make as much money as possible.
Marinol—the synthetic form of THC and the psychoactive ingredient contained in marijuana—is already legally available for prescription by physicians whose patients suffer from pain and chronic illness.”
THC is only one of several active compounds in marijuana. Pure THC has been shown to be much less effective than the natural substance. It has also been shown that taking pure THC can have some unpleasant side effects.
There you have it. That was a lot easier than I thought it would be. There isn’t a single unbiased statement of fact in the whole… uh… statement. Our government is nothing if not consistent.

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