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Does Science Matter?

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 31, 2012

    As I wrote last week in an op/ed for The Sacramento Bee, when it comes to the federal government’s policy on marijuana, not so much.

    Viewpoints: Science supporting medicinal pot is clear
    via The Sacramento Bee

    A dozen years ago, California lawmakers did something extraordinary. They authorized investigators throughout California to conduct a series of FDA-approved, gold standard trials to assess whether cannabis is safe and effective as a medicine.

    In all, researchers conducted more than a dozen clinical studies examining whether cannabis could meet objective standards of safety and therapeutic efficacy. For example, investigators at the University of California, San Francisco, assessed whether vaporizing cannabis could rapidly and consistently deliver the plant’s active ingredients to patients in a manner that is far safer than smoking. It could. At UC San Diego, clinicians examined whether inhaling cannabis posed potential harms to the immune system, particularly in subjects suffering from immune-compromised conditions like HIV. It didn’t. And at universities throughout the state, investigators studied whether marijuana provided statistically significant relief in a number of hard-to-treat conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and neuropathic (nerve) pain. Cannabis did so – consistently.

    … Nonetheless, policymakers – particularly those in Washington – have responded to these most recent scientific findings with no more than a collective yawn. Despite pledging to let “science and the scientific process … inform and guide decisions of my administration,” neither President Barack Obama nor Congress have taken any steps to amend federal law or federal policy to reflect the scientific reality that marijuana possesses well-established therapeutic value. In fact, this administration has taken just the opposite approach.

    In 2011, the Obama administration quashed out-of-hand an administrative petition that sought federal hearings regarding the present classification of cannabis as a substance with “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” In its rejection, the administration alleged, “The drug’s chemistry is not known and reproducible; there are no adequate safety studies; there are no adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy; the drug is not accepted by qualified experts; and the scientific evidence is not widely available.”

    Yet, the findings from California’s 12-year-old study program show that each of these claims is demonstrably false.

    It is long past time to reject the notion that we as a society possess insufficient evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of cannabis. The truth is that we know plenty. Most of all we know that there remains no valid scientific reason to justify the continued targeting, prosecution and incarceration of those Americans who consume cannabis responsibly.

    Read my entire commentary here.

    37 Responses to “Does Science Matter?”

    1. Chris in WI says:

      It’s sad our medical policies are based on belief rather then facts. Why can’t modern man learn to believe IN facts?

    2. bill says:

      and so it continues………….what a waste

    3. Mark I says:

      from Kansas we call it the OZ effect:
      the feds are allowed to physically attack and even kill during this war on drugs while the pharmacists and the physicians continue to kill through their experimentation and demand for controls. one group’s freedom fighters are another group’s terrorists.

    4. Dave Evans says:

      Look, it isn’t the science that is the problem, it is the bullshit. The crazies have already placed their bets and believe they have “invested” in their lies. To reverse their efforts and speak the truth about marijuana and say it is wholesome is emotionally similar to raising a knife and cutting off their own hand. Of course our society is being harmed by marijuana prohibition, but how can we expect folks like John Edwards, Jim McGreevy, George Bush or either Clinton to paid attention to us? They are all too busy polishing their turds.

      These are the kinds “leaders” we need to de-invest in.

    5. Ll says:

      The federal government will never give up Prohibition.

      Reasons:

      1) Money
      2) Police unions
      3) Prison guard unions

    6. Galileo Galilei says:

      Thwarting the advance of medical science endangers us all,

    7. txpeloton says:

      “The drug’s chemistry is not known and reproducible…” Fail.

      Marijuana is not a drug. According to Schedule 1, it is an “other substance” because it is defined by a tautology. It is well known that the drug is THC, which is currently being
      synthetically reproduced. Apparently, to make a proper definition be the law, it is necessary that we demand this simple definition of marijuana which actually shows respect for our
      Constitution:

      16. The term ‘marijuana’ means all parts
      of the smoke produced by the combustion
      of the plant Cannabis sativa L.

      With this definition, there will be a lot of official instant winners, unsmoked cannabis will not be in the schedule, marijuana will still be an “other substance”, and we can reasonably debate rescheduling that. For more information, google Talking Points for the Peloton.

    8. Michael Miller says:

      It’s come to the point where I will believe anything anymore. I mean, the prohibition of cannabis is just unbelievable to me anymore but it’s true. It’s so absurd to me that anything else that I ever hear will be believable compared to the prohibition of the most useful plant on this earth.

    9. Fireweed says:

      Shoot, I’ve been smoking for 40 years and I’m healthier than most people half my age!

    10. Fireweed says:

      Yeah, Bill, how about we cut a huge chunk of gov’t waste out of the picture and get rid of the DEA.

    11. Capt Nemo says:

      I just want to know who is keeping score? Is this the year of Freedom? What else must we prove? It seems to me that we have enough of a majority to make a major move and end prohibition. It’s like watching a tennis match, back and forth. NORML, I believe it’s your serve.

    12. Fed-Up says:

      Michael Phelps sets all- time Olympic record with 19 medals!

      ….One might have thought that those heavy bong rips would have damaged his lung capacity by now?. And he does have phenomenal lungs by the way.

      Kellogs…eat your heart out for dropping your endorsements on this guy. You don’t deserve him.

    13. Douglas says:

      There will come a day when the (gov) Will allow for the law to take over and declare Marshall law. This has bend the dream of the (D-E-A). U may laughed at me. U may say that will never happen here in America. But we have all seen our rights taken away from us. It will happen. One day the (GOV) Will declare war on us cannabis user. And when u see them killing your fellow Americana what will u do. Will u grab your gun and go kill them be for they kill u? Will there be Puckett of freedom fighters scatter threw out our country? Yes I know u are laughing at me. But be for u start to laughed at what I am saying u better get your head out of your rear end And take a very good look at what is happening to our country. All it going to take is a wide eye (PRS) Who is scare stupid when it comes to cannabis. When u see all 3 house under the (R) Control that when it will begin. They are call block raid’s. They will come in and take over a block with lots of poor drug/ crack/ meth smack house’s Showing all the pot they got of the street and away from our children. Showing this is the only way to get our streets back under control. And our Town’s /Cites drug free.

    14. its not like one day they will be like “oh they were right all along” The facts present themselves daily ! Government wont make moves because they are not allowed too no matter what we say!

    15. Galileo Galilei says:

      “It is long past time to reject the notion that we as a society possess insufficient evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of cannabis. The truth is that we know plenty. Most of all we know that there remains no valid scientific reason to justify the continued targeting, prosecution and incarceration of those Americans who consume cannabis responsibly.”

      Man does this paragraph accurately sum it all up.

    16. God's messages says:

      Of course the fed judge will throw this lawsuit out , why bother unless you are exposing accomplaces that are defending the crimes in the corrupt justice system concerning cannabis. You can only expose them. We must go over their heads to convict these criminals.

    17. Paul R says:

      When I see how the Feds ignore science in favor of willful ignorance, I can’t help but mentally compare them with the way the Catholic Church treated people who tried to spread the truth; people like Galileo! If any of you don’t know what I mean, please do some research and you’ll surely find many parallels to the power hungry religious zealots and the current leaders in our Congress and Senate.

    18. Douglas says:

      (To Tx ) marijuana is slang when you translate to English it is (Mary wino) back in the early 1800 person who smoke this drug all the time where call marijuana used to be spell with a h instead of a (j) Growing up here in Corpus Christi Tx you would here them say he a marihuana or Mari wino . I have no dout that u read this in a book the Aurthur was miss led. If u where (dunking man )in Spanish

    19. God's messages says:

      I would like to know what is acceptable , probably outrageous reteric.

    20. […] Article 1 – Does Science Matter? A dozen years ago, California lawmakers did something extraordinary. They authorized investigators throughout California to conduct a series of FDA-approved, gold standard trials to assess whether cannabis is safe and effective as a medicine…read full article […]

    21. Galileo Galilei says:

      @Paul R

      Actually I didn’t really do this. It was some kind of old-time scientist guy.:)

    22. Galileo Galilei says:

      I’ve heard that as scientists in more open societies began to communicate and even publish on electronic bulletin boards, the rigid control on information in the Soviet Union put Soviet scientists at an ever increasing disadvantage. More recently we see the affect of technological advances such as social media and cell phone cameras on authoritarian countries such as Mubarak’s Egypt and now Syria when information can no longer be controlled by a ruling elite.

      I’ve often heard our own politicians proudly pointing to this phenomena, apparently blithely unaware that the free and open exchange of information is coming after information control in this country, too.

    23. txpeloton says:

      (to douglas) Thanks. I never knew that Mexicans in Corpus Christi were calling it marihuana.

    24. Forefather Follower says:

      In regards to what our government today has clutched onto (prohibition) against a plant that has held some very prominent roles in our own history as well as the world’s, I will quote one of our forefathers, Thomas Jefferson (a hemp farmer as well);

      “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.”

      It is time for every responsible cannabis consumer to do his (or her) part and let the government know that we will not stand for this injustice anymore!
      Become an activist…write your state’s representatives continuously…start a NORML chapter in your area…

      Do anything but sit idly-by and let this corporate lobbyist controlled government continue to ruin countless lives!

    25. Chris in WI says:

      Hey NORML lawyers: is that right? Is ‘combustion’ part of the language of prohibition? Is a vaporizer a defense if so?

    26. DoobieDuck says:

      The Goverment holds the patent on Canabis which is for its medicinal values. Cheers..DD

    27. ChronicNeckPain says:

      Science does matter, but it also matters which scientists voice is heard, and what the ultimate message ends up being after it’s filtered, spun and censored by the fascist media.

      This becomes all to clear when you have an ex-sheriff running a political AM radio talk show day after day saying the people are criminals and the officials are blessed by god to never do wrong. Translation: an ex oath breaker pushing fascism every day.

    28. Joel: the other Joel says:

      DEA flunk science and they still don’t know what science is? They still think science is a propaganda tool.

    29. St. Nick says:

      I think Science is a good thing and I still believe in God. Science is learning/knowledge which are a good thing. God is all love/knowledge and They know everything. So Science is not bad. I just don’t like how it’s knowledge that people can AGREE on using sight/touch/hearing/smell/and taste. Dreams are real and you can’t prove they are. It is agreed upon that they are real. All you can prove is a chemical is released during sleep (DMT). But anyway, knowledge is power but you also need the feminine experience or emotion. You can read all the books on how to build a boat but you really don’t know until you experience it and do it for yourself.

    30. Skitskats says:

      If Doctor’s legally prescribe drugs in this country then why is it The Justice Department classify’s them Lawyers & Politicians aren’t legally allowed to prescribe drugs ?

    31. Ray DiPasquale says:

      Science only matters when the science supports the politics of the state otherwise it is either concealed or rewritten to newspeak.

    32. james says:

      big pharma lobby will keep it illeagle for as long as they can .they dont want you to be able to grow your own medicine,you must buy their overpriced,addictive drugs

    33. […] have shown me that, in many cases, cannabis is the one medicine that has consistently helped their seriously disabling symptoms, allowing them to function, hold jobs, keep their relationships intact, and raise families for the […]

    34. […] have shown me that, in many cases, cannabis is the one medicine that has consistently helped their seriously disabling symptoms, allowing them to function, hold jobs, keep their relationships intact, and raise families for the […]

    35. […] have shown me that, in many cases, cannabis is the one medicine that has consistently helped their seriously disabling symptoms, allowing them to function, hold jobs, keep their relationships intact, and raise families for the […]

    36. […] proven me that, oftentimes, cannabis may be the one medicine which has consistently assisted their seriously disabling symptoms, permitting these to function, hold jobs, keep their associations intact, and lift families within […]

    37. desi says:

      after they arrest you take your lifes savings and sell everything you owned and worked for all your life then put you in prison it sure makes you hope change for your childrens sake and really makes a mess out life to have mark on your record i must say goverment sucks they are truely not looking at facts or protecting their citicens

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