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March 01, 2013

Why is Science Important to Drug Policy?

We are a curious species; we want answers to all kinds of questions; especially about ourselves. Where did we come from? Why are we here? are two perennials. Unfortunately, they remain unanswerable for a majority of the planet's humans because we (they) are also bitterly divided by political and religious differences. Thus the answers to two unanswerable questions have morphed into two of the most vexing human problems faced by planet Earth's biota; (including non-humans, because they are critically affected by human activity).

Throughout known human history (itself, only a tiny fraction of our existence as a species) our curiosity has suckered us into a variety of logical assumptions that didn't pan out. One, made in the 18th Century after publication of Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest in 1859, was the belief that a lifeless “azootic zone” must exist in the world’s oceans. It was an hypothesis based on both logical assumptions and facts: that because sunlight could not penetrate below a certain depth, all life would have to be restricted to the same depth. As the cited article clearly shows, that (absurd) hypothesis had been amply refuted by data while it was still being taken seriously enough for publication.

The other side of the coin is how important skepticism is to Science, especially when combined with an understanding that logic- all by itself- is untrustworthy; especially in the absence of accurate observation. That the principles of Science have revolutionized human culture and our notions of “progress” is amply confirmed by the incredible growth of two critical entities since the Pope had Galileo placed on house arrest. The devices produced by scientific technology and the planet’s human population have both exploded since 1642. In other words, people create wealth; smart, well informed people create the most; and at the fastest rate. An added consideration is that because we are so competitive, there has been a race to accumulate wealth, at least since several literate "ancient" civilizations came into being about 6000 years ago; and probably long before.

All of which gives rise to a question few humans seem to want asked or answered, and thus seldom raise: is there a limit to the number of humans Planet Earth can support? It’s a question one wouldn’t expect from a pot doc, especially given the rate at which their numbers have been increasing. All I know is that they are a hard bunch to share information with, very different from the hospital doctors I identified myself with during my first forty years of practice.

I also know from my own surgical experience that if the right questions aren't asked, one is unlikely to come up with the right diagnosis and therapy. Based on a study I've now been engaged in for over ten years, I can also say that the opinions expressed on both sides of the "medical marijuana" controversy are primarily distinguished by their ignorance. The feds have never asked or permitted the right questions because their (false) stated beliefs are so fundamentally opposed to honest research. Thus their formulations about "marijuana" are most at odds with clinical truth as revealed by my applicants, the great majority of whom were rigorously questioned as patients.

There has also been a lot of scientific information published about cannabis in both lay and medical literature since 1996, but it wasn't based on information obtained directly from patients seeking to use it legally.

Thus the existence of "medical marijuana" legislation in multiple states since 1996 was an opportunity wasted by most of the physicians who chose to become pot docs. They could have informed the public of much clinical truth; even in the absence of appropriate coverage by the media (which has also been the case).

I now have enough data supporting my conclusions that I no longer have to try to convince the skeptical of things that might have been checked and reported on by others for years. Why that literature doesn't exist is not for me to explain.

I hope to lead off with how I was first alerted, and soon became convinced, that most "chronic" pot use was really effective self medication.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at March 1, 2013 10:45 PM