I just had the opportunity to listen to WFYI’s program “Sound Medicine.” On January 19th of 2014, “Sound Medicine” reported on Marijuana, since there is currently a decriminalization bill before the Indiana Senate, two states have relegalized for personal use and 20 states have authorized medical use. Part of the show was just plain inaccurate.
Dr. J. Michael Bostwick, professor of Psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic, was generally accurate in his analysis, but I’m puzzled by his insistence that there has not been enough research into Marijuana to make a legal determination. In fact, there have been more than 23,000 studies into the safety and efficacy of Cannabis. The hitch is that most of those studies have taken place overseas, a situation that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) nor the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has caused. These agencies, plus the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have obstructed American research, but have no influence on foreign studies. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has been one of the leaders in research, and their output has been peer reviewed and replicated. The U.S. anti-Marijuana establishment keeps passing the buck between themselves to stop any real, honest U.S. research. DEA says they can’t research because NIDA won’t issue the Cannabis to be studied. NIDA says FDA won’t approve research, so they can’t release Cannabis. They play one against the other to make sure that Marijuana is not adequately studied on American soil. And they won’t accept information on Marijuana from other nations.
Dr. Bostwick did say about 10% of Marijuana users become addicted. This is debatable. At the very least, Marijuana has been shown to be less addictive than coffee.
Dr. Bostwick also made mention of long term lung disease caused by Marijuana use. Dr. Donald Tashkin, after 30 years of trying to prove Marijuana had a negative impact on lung function, finally gave up and determined that the impact on the lungs was not only not harmful, but beneficial.
Dr.Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine and Pediatrics at Indiana University, was more wrong than right She made the statement that the effects of Marijuana last considerable longer than the “High.” What she is referring to, are the metabolites…the by products of Marijuana. Marijuana is oil or alcohol soluble. The metabolites, which are not psychoactive in the least, can circulate in the human body for up to 90 days, in some cases. The only effect they have is that will cause one to test positive on a drug test. Dr. Rohr-Kirchgraber claims they continue to have an effect on cognition. This is absolutely false, and has been disproven by every reputable study conducted.
Dr. Rohr-Kirchgraber also addresses the impact of an arrest for Marijuana, pointing out that an arrest can short circuit one’s academic pursuits and other life activities. She is correct in this, but it is the result of prohibition and unjust laws on those who choose to use Marijuana, not the plant itself.
These positions are based in ignorance. While Marijuana is not 100% safe (nothing on this Earth is), the impact on the health of humans is primarily beneficial. No one, in the history of mankind, has died from using Marijuana. “Sound Medicine” didn’t see fit to point this out.
It’s sad that a great institution like Indiana University, which I attended, permits such unfounded information to be put forth in its name.
At the very least, people shouldn’t be put in jeopardy in life because of the greed of the various vested interests that have kept Marijuana illegal for nearly 100 years. Apparently “Sound Medicine” isn’t very sound.