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June 27, 2012

Questionable Practices by State Licensing Boards; Questionable Medical Assumptions by Federal Agencies

I was recently surprised to learn that physicians in the Eastern US are being punished by their state licensing authorities for opting to treat a controversial form of Lyme Disease in patients who remain symptomatic after a standard course of antibiotic therapy. Two groups are being punished: the doctors whose licenses were suspended and the patients they were treating. The latter have been told that because their symptoms are psychosomatic, the only therapy they are eligible for is psychiatric. Although not identical to a similar controversy over the benefits of “Medical Marijuana,” the parallels are striking nevertheless.

One important difference is that at least some of the state officials disputing the treatment of Lyme disease are physicians, whereas he federal provenance for “marijuana” legislation has always lacked professional standing.

The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was sponsored by Harry Anslinger, a bureaucrat without medical credentials long before there were any peer reviewed studies of inhaled cannabis, clinical or otherwise. Thirty-two years later, the Marijuana Tax Act was declared unconstitutional on legal(First Amendment) grounds; yet the same assertions were repeated and expanded to include other drugs by lawyers (John Mitchell and Richard Nixon) who were just as unqualified to rule on what constituted "acceptable American Medical practice" in 1970 as Anslinger had been to condemn "reefer" in 1937. Even more unwarranted was assignment of the statutory power to make such decisions to the Attorney General.

Given the enormous amount of published evidence supporting the efficacy of both inhaled and orally ingested herbal cannabis as medicine over the past 42 years, the continuing insistence of the DEA, NIDA, and other federal agencies to the contrary is ludicrous, unwarranted, and self-serving.

To base such a destructive and expensive policy on empty rhetoric is disgraceful. That most of the post hoc behavioral research supporting the drug war has been sponsored by NIDA, and how compliant "research" relies on the erroneous assumptions of policy supporters who should know better will be the subject of future posts.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at June 27, 2012 05:08 PM