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March 27, 2012

Predictable NIDA Nonsense... and worse

A recent survey confirming that teen use of both alcohol and cigarettes has declined substantially since 1996 was greeted with predictable satisfaction by NIDA Director Nora Volkov MD. However, true to form, Volkow also complained that the same surveys showed adolescent use of “marijuana” had increased substantially during the same interval. Thus the NIDA director was simply confirming what I have long suspected: America’s prohibition bureaucracy is either woefully ignorant or incredibly cynical; depending on whether it is aware of information I’ve been gathering (and describing) from a study of (now) more than 6500 unselected cannabis applicants since November 2001. One of that study's most important findings is that chronic use of cannabis is regularly associated with less problematic use of both alcohol and tobacco by a population that has been particularly liable to try ("initiate") the panoply of illegal drugs created after the mid-Sixties. Most were agents declared illegal under the feckless provisions of the Controlled Substances Act.

The obvious implication is that rather than "controlling" dangerous substances, America's war on drugs has been creating new markets for a succession of agents that became popular and were then declared illegal on the basis of that popularity. More recently, a number of new opioid and cannabis agonists have been introduced to consumers; a particularly worrisome development, since they are apparently becoming easier for molecular chemists to create.

That both NIDA and the DEA have remained blind to the realities of cannabinoid use since the mid Seventies is bad enough; that they are still unwilling (or unable) to recognize their intrinsic medical benefits is nothing less than a disgrace. To add insult to injury; neither agency (both of which speak with great authority on drug use) has yet discovered there's a significant difference in the therapeutic effects of inhaled cannabinoids and edibles. Beyond that, cannabinoids are among the most effective therapeutic agents for the symptoms of PTSD, a condition wreaking havoc among the "volunteers" in our armed forces being repeatedly deployed to combat zones in Asia.

The premise our applicant study is based on was arrived at only after gathering data the first 660 applicants (roughly 10% of the current total). It's that anyone willing to undergo the expense, risk, and inconvenience of obtaining what remains a federally disputed, renewable state license to use an illegal drug must be someone for whom its use was important: either because they were “addicted” or were self-medicating.

Indeed, my detailed findings amply confirm that chronic users of cannabis have been self-medicating safely and effectively with a remarkably benign and effective, albeit complex, therapeutic agent; one tragically declared illegal in 1937. A further legislative development was that after the Supreme Court struck down the original law in 1969, the worst Attorney General/President combination in American history contrived to replace it with one that has been much more damaging to those arrested and is proving far more difficult to overturn. That’s especially true now because we are dealing with the most biased and medically incompetent Supreme Court in history (because it has been stacked by Republican Presidents with appointees hostile to abortion a qualification that's been abundantly clear for years) The anti abortion agenda of Republican appointees was never openly addressed by America’s Fourth Estate, itself an institution that long ago forfeited any serious claim to be “guardians of truth.” Given the easily available evidence of the benefits cannabis confers on its users and the human damage inflicted on them by mindless federal prosecution, our press bears a heavy responsibility for taking both cannabis prohibition and the drug war as seriously as they pretend to.

Even less informed and more cynical than Congress, America's press corps has been a major component in the failure of its Democracy. According to early reports from Washington, the next disaster could easily be a negative Supreme Court ruling on “Obamacare;” thus bringing down a well-intentioned, but mediocre Presidency in favor of one that would be far worse.

The question we should now be asking is, “how many policy disasters can one nation tolerate before imploding?”

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at March 27, 2012 08:58 PM