I recently traveled to New Zealand to present my work and knowledge about the medical uses of the cannabis plant. Before my trip, the opposition made themselves known through op-eds and media appearances. This letter was my formal response.
As a medical professional I am indeed impressed with the wide range of clinical applications of cannabis and its low side effect profile. Even the Drug Enforcement Agency’s chief administrative law judge, Francis Young, in his 1988 Finding of Fact, found marijuana to be “one of the safest therapeutic agents known to man.”
The American Medical Association (AMA) testified before Congress in 1937 that the AMA knew of no danger from the medical use of cannabis. In 2009 the AMA requested cannabis be rescheduled. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) found in 1999 that cannabis had therapeutic value and its side effects were in the same range as the average prescription drugs. Just a few months ago the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine found cannabis to have therapeutic value.
There are studies and then there are studies. The Dunedin study, like so many others, was poorly designed and poorly controlled. It was not controlled for other drug use (e.g., tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, prescription drugs, opiates, etc.) or living environment. The fallacy of cannabis use causing brain damage is contradicted by numerous studies throughout the world demonstrating that cannabis is neuroprotective.
It turns out with many of the claims made by neoprohibitionist that the truth is the opposite, not just with neuroprotection but the therapeutic attributes. Cannabis treats psychosis, it doesn't cause it. Read the research by Dr. Daniele Piomelli, professor of pharmacology at UC Irvine School of Medicine, read "Cannabinomics: The Marijuana Tipping Point," from Christopher Fichtner, MD, former Director of the Illinois Department of Mental Heath and clinical professor of psychiatry at UC Riverside School of Medicine.
If, ad argumento, cannabis caused psychosis, then due to the high percentage of people using cannabis in the 60s and 70s, depending on the alleged long period, there should have been a large bump in the presence of psychosis in the 70s and 80s. In fact there was no such thing. In the past 50 years the incidence of psychosis has remained flat or very slightly decreased.
As to how I make my living it is by (1) being a very good physician who has been honored by his local medical society, (2) an elected member of our local sanitary District, (3) an expert witness, (4) an author, (5) a consultant, and (6) a public speaker. In all these areas one must know what they are doing or your business will flounder.
The writer cites the United Nations, whose 1961 agreement on drugs has a medical exception for the use of cannabis. The 1961 agreement was part of the campaign by the notorious racist and first director of the BNDD Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Harry Anslinger, to create a large bureaucratic fiefdom.