Over 17,000 Cannabis-related Studies! Who Knew?!

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director September 12, 2008

    Ever get the feeling right after a speech, presentation or debate that you didn’t include everything you wanted to?

    After a few hundred public debates on behalf of NORML since 1991 in support of alternatives to cannabis prohibition, that feeling apparently never subsides…and it didn’t after a debate last week at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania with Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed.

    Somewhere in the course of the formal questions, answers and rebuttals (and of course, rebuttals of rebuttals!), Mr. Freed drew upon the standard, oft-trotted, ONDCP-fed course of reasoning that 1) medical cannabis use is not accepted by health trade lobby associations like the American Medical Association, American Cancer Society and MS Society of the US (Ironically, the British MS Society supports patient access to medicinal cannabis products), and 2) there are few credible studies that look at cannabis, therefore this is proof-positive that cannabis is not a valuable, non-toxic and remarkably safe therapeutic to use under a physician’s care.

    In my brief rebuttal I made two points, 1) there are hundreds of health and medical associations that support patient access to cannabis (and that, ironically the AMA was the one organization in the 1930s that actually stood up against the federal government’s efforts to create cannabis prohibition because of the plant’s clear therapeutic qualities), and 2) that cannabis (and cannabinoids) has been studied to the extreme, with over 14,000 studies on record.

    In retrospect, however, I was wrong.

    There are not 14,000 cannabinoid-related studies on record. Currently, there are over 17,000 according to a newly released scientific paper I failed to read before the debate!


    Note to self: Update your debate rhetoric and media talking points!

    However, it is not like this one point changed the outcome of what was a well-attended, civil and informative debate.

    Over the years I’ve come to learn that when it comes to debating the issue of ‘legalizing’ cannabis on a college or university campus, proponents of Prohibition and the status quo lost the debate long before they’ve hit the stage. Frankly, I think a scarecrow mounted at a podium representing reformers would win the debate anyways as college students are the most anti-prohibitionistic and pro-cannabis law reform segment of the population in America (and Canada, Europe, Australia, etc…).

    NORML and I thank the students and faculty of Dickinson College for hosting a debate on the future of cannabis prohibition, and for District Attorney David Freed for his willingness to publicly discuss and debate the topic of cannabis law reform.

    39 responses to “Over 17,000 Cannabis-related Studies! Who Knew?!”

    1. Mathew (PA) says:

      So is Mr. Freed’s opinion on the matter unchanged or did he see the light so to speak?

    2. Bruno says:

      I doubt Mr. Freed was arguing his own points. I’m sure he’s well aware of the studies and the medicinal benefits of cannabis. But he makes his living and his riches by being able to prosecute responsible and otherwise law abiding citizens.

      All of the people who profit from drug prohibition have a special skill. It’s the skill of being able to completely block out their conscience for the sake of profit.

      Thanks for Representing, Mr. St. Pierre! You are a beacon of freedom.

    3. Ray says:

      In your defense there is 14,000 but with an extra 3,000 😉

      Is this debate available for viewing anywhere?

    4. Greg W says:

      Other question:
      What did the local media cover, if any, and was any coverage positive?

      While forums such as this are very valuable, they need to reach the masses. Unfortunately Main Stream Media, can you say oxymoron, continues to pander to a: the government and b: to corporate interests. A controls licensing and regulatory aspects, and B pays the bills, so unless MSM gets a life of its own and reports truth, rather than propaganda, the large masses will continue to be fed this garbage of no medical value.

    5. Do you think you encouraged people, to write their congressperson, to push this issue to the forefront?

    6. Rick says:

      Public debate is good for our side.

    7. Asemili says:

      Can someone put up a link to a video or audio presentation of this debate? I would like to listen to it.

    8. Well…good question Mathew!

      Suffice to say that Mr. Freed is 1) not an extreme proponent of prohibition, 2)is moderate in his views of cannabis as compared to crack, meth or heroin 3) claims that while DA of Cumberland County, he will not incarcerate possession cases regarding cannabis in favor of alternative sentencing, fines, probation, etc…

      Having debated numerous law enforcement officials over the years, Mr. Freed was eminently civil, reasonable in tone and did not seem to approach the topic of cannabis use from a moralistic point of view.

    9. I’m disappointed to hear all this. I’ve had Cancer of the stomach, also Cancer in my throat. I quit smoking cigarettes last November 20th, 2007.I also got Type 2 Diabetes, & Open-Angle Glaucoma. I take over twenty different medications everyday. If it hasn’t been for cannabis, I would of die a long time ago. But, I keep fighting, even though it sounds like I’m depressed. I am, but I’m not. Also, having Bipolar 1; Manic Depressive Disease.Why can’t we get together on these Medical Problems, & leagalized Cannabis for medical purposes.Its the only drug that I use as a street drug. It keeps the eye pain away, plus the headaches, and stops my stomach from hurting so much. And I left my address on purpose, hoping someone will contact me for assurance.I’ve been an activist for NORML since 2000. Thank You.

    10. 3 cheers for Allen St Pierre! In the UK we have a nuts Member of Parliament who is trying to get his 5 minutes of fame by petitioning to have cannabis seeds/marijuana seeds made illegal inspite of falling usage rates. I wonder who is funding him.