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September 01, 2005

The Anti-NIDA

One of my first responses to learning that many of the chronic pot smokers
seeking my designation as 'medical' users had probably been treating serious
emotional symptoms since high school was to begin reading what (for me) had
been a very unfamiliar genre of peer-reviewed literature; that dealing with
'addiction' and 'drugs of abuse;' particularly as relating to "marijuana"
and "kids."

What I discovered was an enormous body of work extending back to the mid-Seventies.
Most such studies had obviously been designed around the concept that juvenile
use of cannabis is a "risk" to be avoided. The historical origin of that
idea had clearly been a discovery that nearly all the young cannabis users
first encountered in the aftermath of the "hippie" movement had already tried
alcohol and tobacco; and  many were still using both. That discovery
quickly gave rise to a "gateway" hypothesis suggesting that cannabis, while
perhaps not as intrinsically dangerous as 'harder' drugs, is still undesirable
for youth because it functions-- in some as yet undisclosed way-- as a 'gateway'
between legal and illegal agents.

A convenient recapitulation of that history, and NIDA's role in sponsoring 
the relevant research, appeared in 2002.
Also published in the same year,
was a study demonstrating that-- theoretically at
least-- some as yet unidentified "common factor"
could as easily explain those well-known pejorative associations. It didn't
require much imagination to see the 'common factor' is pot's heretofore unrecognized
role as an anxiolytic which allows it to serve as a benign alternative to
alcohol and tobacco-- the only previously available agents for teens afflicted
with similar (and very common) symptoms.

It also doesn't require much imagination to understand why such a formulation
would be rejected out of hand by a majority of those dependent on NIDA funding,
or simply steeped in three decades of federal anti-pot propaganda. What was
mildly surprising was how many 'reformers' of various persuasions had bought
into the same propaganda to a lesser degree--  but enough for them to
distance themselves from any idea of pot as useful self medication.

My 'peer-reviewed' readings had also suggested that policy advocates would
be eager to use the mountain of literature NIDA has purchased at taxpayer
expense to crush any belief in cannabis as medicine-- fears already borne
out in some recent NIDA publications.

There is no time today to parse Dr. Volkow's 'logic ' in detail, but I can
at least suggest an opposing sound byte: "Clinical truth is the best "Anti-NIDA."

More on this subject soon.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at September 1, 2005 04:50 AM