The Immorality of Illegality
I know an emergency when I see one.
It’s what I’ve studied and practiced my entire professional life, being the emeritus 35-year Emergency Medicine specialist that I am. I have always spoken to the “specialty of time” concept. In emergency medicine the average shift contains innumerable amounts of problems I was tasked to solve.
Recently, I have discovered an emergency that’s been allowed to persist for over 80 years – the governmental prohibition of cannabis and its derivatives from the American medical community.
With clear immorality, the deeply troublesome policies of the Federal government have betrayed both you, the patient, and I, the classically trained American doctor.
As a licensed physician who has honorably served thousands of patients since 1981, I feel bound by duty to lead the charge towards enlightenment. I have studied medicine and have dedicated my life to the betterment of others through the Hippocratic oath. I feel deep personal betrayal and I have a newly found desire to right a tragic wrong.
All patients deserve access to the most compassionate care they can receive, especially when the medication and course of treatment meets the foremost tenant of medicine – do no harm.
The Florida Cannabis Course
The required education to become a medical marijuana doctor within Florida provided context to the science and presented proven history of medicinal cannabis benefits. As a student, this simple online coursework explained more to me than any required reading I’ve done in my entire career. I want and feel the need to share some of the information provided, and I wish that every Florida lawmaker (at both the state and local level) would be required to read it as well. They need to learn what I learned, courtesy of solid education based on factual evidence.
At the very beginning of the course, we are taught of the ancient knowledge of the many plant based medicines on the earth, with cannabis being unique amongst all of them. From the Aztecs to the Egyptians, up through the colonial days of Washington and Jefferson, its many recognized uses were well heralded and appropriately documented.
Having a wide safety profile and many means of reliable ingestion, it’s many uses were well practiced for centuries. Cannabis was a “king of medicine” and along with it’s sister plant hemp (used for rope, fabric, pulp, and thousands of other uses) was vital to many and valued by society.
The invention of the syringe and the hypodermic needle were a definitive turning point in accepted cannabis practice. The Florida Medical Association course clearly states of the manipulation of perception employed by big pharmaceutical interests, dating back to the 1930s and 40s.
Pharma was following the money.
It was only the narcotics (the opioids which were imported from distant lands) and the water soluble poppy plant that would bring the pharmaceutical
interests their massive profits.
Cannabis, which had to be oil based, was found growing everywhere as the “weed” that it was. Due to the combination of the water insolubility and the limited technology at the time, marijuana wasn’t able to be processed for needle injection. Also, being able to be produced domestically and not needing any chemical alteration meant much less in profits for cannabis, the safer medication.
Lumber and paper industries also had their own profit motive. The sativa/indica sister plant (hemp) was used widely for rope, sails and other fabric, and for paper/pulp manufacturing as it was much cheaper and more sustainable than its wooden, tree-based counterpart.
The pharmaceutical industry and the paper and lumber industries and teamed up to create one massive lobby. These two powerful entities launched an unprecedented attack of propaganda (think Mexicans crossing the border while smoking a joint and going “crazy”…ie. Reefer Madness). The total cannabis prohibition we now find ourselves bound by has proven that old “alternative facts” have prevailed.
The doctors of the early 1940’s fought a long, tireless, but ultimately losing battle, literally striking for a period of time against the federal government’s decision. They were on the right side of history in their battle – something I’ve suspected all along. Cannabis products are safer than almost any other medication, with minimal and predictable adverse drug/drug interactions along with literally no overdose potential.
None of this long history was taught in all of my years as a medical student, but rather from the Florida Compassionate Use Provider course. To me, it was shocking such a beneficial plant-based medication was excluded from the treatment paths of so many. This is simply not right, moral, or acceptable.
It has become plainly evident that the Federal government’s current position on cannabis and its derivatives has never been vested in the interest of public safety. Legislation hasn’t been crafted to protect the public. How could any servant of public health prohibit this natural plant based medication? Cannabis does no harm.
How could you protect the patient from something that will not cause them harm?
Missing the component of physical addiction (unlike alcohol, tobacco and many prescription medications) cannabis has been used safely by cultures worldwide for millennia. Sativa, one genus of the plant, means “cultivated or useful” in Latin.
Governmental graft and financial concerns have kept a crucial medication from my patients and I, as an independent and dedicated medical doctor, am ready to stand up and fight. My patients deserve the best and most compassionate care I can provide, all without doing any further harm – the most basic of medical tenants! For many sufferers of chronic illness, cannabis presents hope and I am happy to counsel and provide the access to this medication they have decided may be best for them. Interestingly, many of my patients are Veterans who have honorably fought and served our country to protect such freedoms to choose.
The debate over the organic compound found in marijuana, THC (the psychoactive, “high” producing component), will always exist. Surely it is no more dangerous than alcohol acutely. Additionally, research presents positive results in the treatment of many conditions utilizing a proper mixture of THC to CBD.
Rare is the domestic violence arrest after cannabis use, unlike alcohol that is present in most every case. Chronic use of alcohol is well known to cause liver, heart, and brain damage, while continued cannabis use may actually have protective elements thru anti-inflammatory reaction and other neuroprotective pathways and receptors, many of which we don’t even yet know….and that’s extremely unfortunate.
The suppression of the research on CBD’s, terpenes, and a variety of other compounds that science has yet to discover has most angered me. Political corruption and Big Pharma’s influence has kept one of the safest medicinal plants on the planet from being researched appropriately and available to my patients. I am tired of the propagandistic dogma and am ready to fight hard for the rights of my patients.
The demonization of cannabis must end. Science must triumph over corruption and immorality. I relinquished understanding long ago of how executives of pharmaceutical companies who exploit and injure others can shave in the morning without looking in the mirror at themselves. Somehow money seems to always win.
As for the politicians – how many elected officials, DEA wonkheads, and others with special interest will ride the coattails of this over 80+ year long catastrophic governmental prohibition? Common sense and proven science must win over misinformation and fear.
Each new patient I have the pleasure of meeting has discussed their wish to seek a legitimate and more natural way to meet their own varied health needs. As their practitioner, I am forced to concern myself as to if they will qualify under Florida’s statutes. Personally, I feel deeply that any patient that walks into my Clinic does so for a specific reason, and I want to fight for their right to obtain a different course of treatment.
The reality of the matter is each of my patients seek one basic thing: to feel as best they can.
My patients routinely express a desire to use a more natural, do no harm” plant-based medicinal product rather than big pharma produced and manufactured medications. Avoiding the myriad of side effects and possible future complications (some known and others not yet determined) is often paramount to my patients.
Finally, my patients express the desire to be free of prosecution under the law. The individuals I see on a daily basis are law abiding citizens who dutifully pay their bills and taxes, with many still raising their children and tending to work responsibilities daily. People deserve the right to choose their course of treatment for illness.
My mission and what drives this new genre of practice, is the deep belief in this inalienable right to choose one’s own health care course.
I am deeply honored to stand up for what I know is the right side of this healthcare battle, and I look forward with joy and vigor everyday to bringing the three tenants of the Compassionate Cannabis Clinic of Venice to light. Through patient care, education, and continued advocacy, we will lead the way as the “best practice model” for Florida’s medicinal cannabis program.
Together, let’s get this done!!