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October 17, 2005

Suppressed Testimony 18 Months Later

At least one California physician besides myself has been seeking out evidence of psychotropic use in the applicants she screens for "marijuana" recommendations. Dr Claudia Jensen, a Southern California pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine was summarily subpoenaed to appear before Congressman Mark Souder's subcommittee in April of 2004. It was clear that Souder had intended to make an example of her by trumpeting what he regarded as  her irresponsible advocacy of cannabis for symptoms of ADD, however, it's also clear that once he and his advisers went over her courageous and well-documented testimony, they thought better of it.

I had the privilege of working briefly with Claudia at a cannabis club in Oakland in the Spring of 2002 when we were both 'rookies' learning from applicants and developing our own concepts on the self-medication phenomenon we were both encountering clinically for the first time. I know we shared similar opinions then and that our thinking has subsequently evolved along similar lines. She stopped coming to Oakland on week-ends as her practice in Ventura developed, but we have remained in loose contact. She informs me that she has hundreds of clinical records which should be available for review whenever we have the time and resources .

There was almost no news coverage of Claudia's testimony. I was told by observers that she acquitted herself admirably under fire and  that there were few hostile questions. The major political lesson here (so far not heeded by "reform") is that well informed clinicians who advocate intelligently for their patients have little to fear from uninformed politicians. A little thought should allow them to understand that political opponents of cannabis like Souder won't attack well informed doctors; if for no other reasons  than it opens their own absurd views to scrutiny.

That's not to say that advocates for the other side won't try to spin the truth when they are unopposed; again, the best antidote is clinical evidence, competently delivered.

Hopefully, the surge of interest generated by current laboratory reports of pot's anxiolytic properties will finally provoke the open discussion  of psychotropic use that fearful "reformers' have been desperately trying to to avoid.

oratory report-1
Laboratory report-2
Laboratory report-3

Dr. Tom O'Connell

Posted by tjeffo at October 17, 2005 09:11 AM