Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Marijuana Use Illegal for the Sick, Gasoline still OK

  1. Jun 7, 2005 #1
    The U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling on Monday upholding the federal government's right to prosecute users of medical marijuana under the authority of the 70 year old Federal Controlled Substances Act. Marijuana was added to the act many years ago. Only in recent years have doctors prescribed it for persons with terminal and chronic illnesses, and its been partly recognized as a "drug." About 10 states now have legislation allowing its use as a drug.

    Despite what you or I may feel about sick people smoking marijuana, the Court's ruling and fed's action against it for use by those with serious illness rings of past authoritarian arogance and abuse of power by governments we now espouse.

    According to this Court ruling and above Federal Act, it would be lawfully permissable for dying people to intake substances such as gasoline, urine, automotive parts, rocks, etc - as long as these substances are not on a "banned" list - or marketed and sold by a company making specific health claims to make one well. In order to do so, that company would have to submit the appropriate clinical results and application materials to the Food and Drug Administration, and wait six months to eight years for FDA permission to market. If you were relying on some new material or drug to prevent your death, the FDA's decision could very well come too late for you. However, in the interim, you are within your legal rights to purchase an assortment of guns to protect you against potential threats, and you may legally consume as much alcohol, tobacco, and junk food as you like in the privary of your home until your final days.

    Should you wonder why my passionate interest in this matter? I had to undergo a series of brain surgeries following a 1992 auto accident, where doctors implant a CNS shunt device to relieve pressure. Four different shunts were used between 1992 and 1998. Two of the first three were CSN Delta shunts, and oops, the FDA failed to perform its requisite safety oversight and I was harmed. The mfr found it easier to cover up the design flaws than report to the FDA. I lived with these failed shunts for six years (it took me four+ years to discover the cover up, Petition the FDA, and invent a new test system for corrective surgery). The FDA then purposefully allowed Medtronic, the mfr, to escape w/o any criminal investigation. Go Figure! Today Medtronic dominates this market with this same failed CNS shunt technology. In preparing for my 1998 corrective surgery, I selected the French made Orbis Sigma 2 shunt, but was forced to use their older and soon to be discontinued model OSV-1 because the FDA was dragging their feet. The FDA failed me twice, and a third time I did not know was just around the corner. Thousands of CNS shunt users were harmed by the Delta shunt, but its FDA approved!

    The FDA didn't exist until 1976. Prior to then, if a person were ill, he/she had more freedom in new treatments, and they arrived much faster than today. And in about 1936 or so, prior to the Federal Controlled Substances Act, if you were ill, you had more freedom in choosing substances. As a scientist and an American, I am concerned that these older laws and federal agencies may be moving backwards, rather than forward.

    Yes, it wasn't long ago that a diagnosis of cancer was certain death, that women were not lawfully permitted to vote, that African Americans were not lawfully permitted in some public places and parts of the military. So when I read of this most unusual federal medical marijuana action that restricts the rights of the sick and dying, albeit thru years old federal legislation, I can't help but think of the dark days of our past and some poorly written federal legislation.

    Perhaps it is time for Congress to re-evaluate our outdated legislation that restricts the rights of those who may be sick or dying, and even pass a new "Right to Health Choices" Constitutional Amendment, similar to what we have in our Amendment on our "Right to Bear Arms."

    You may read more on my extraordinary health, FDA, and scientific experiences at www.diaceph.com.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 8, 2005 #2

    PerennialII

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    ... yeah, goes to show a degree of hypocrisy, and when further highlighting the word "medical" outright outrageous. Would have thought that the idea of providing whatever care aids would have been important enough to crush the opposing arguments, but another victory for pettiness, arrogance, red tape etc. ... a slap in the face of many people who certainly don't need or deserve one :grumpy:
     
  4. Jun 10, 2005 #3

    BobG

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Your attack on the USSC isn't quite justified - at least not for the reasons you give.

    The ruling really had little to do with marijuana. It was a ruling on whether the federal government's law trumped the state's law.

    The witnesses were only to prove that there were folks who actually used marijuana for medical purposes and to show the law was not just a clever method of bypassing the Federal Controlled Substances Act. This was necessary because a few dubious medical clinics had sprung up that specialized in prescribing marijuana.

    Personally, I too, think they made the wrong decision on this one (and so did 3 of the justices). I don't think the government showed how California's law was related to interstate commerce - the basis for the federal law taking priority over the state law.
     
  5. Jun 10, 2005 #4
    Should There Be a 28th Constitutional Amendment?

    I have included my discission below from a related post regarding the role of the United States Supreme Court in the government's challenge to California's medical marijuana law, and I pose a Question to Forum Members on whether Congress should consider enacting a 28th Constitutional Amendment to protect our Rights and Freedoms in decisions affecting our own health and medical care, and access to non-governmental approved medicines and treatments. Such issues are now arising with more frequency and merit.

    The Supreme Court judges handed a well thought decision. But as a rule, they do follow their own idealogy, and one CAN predict with some level of accuracy how each might decide on a particular issue. So appointees should be carefully chosen, to reach a broad balance in views. They were clear that this issue is a matter for Congress and reconsideration of the reach of the Federal Controlled Substances Act. When that Act was drafted some 70 years ago, its framers had no reason to believe any of the substances might someday be discovered to have "valuable or healthful" qualities. Plus, they also knew it could later be amended.

    As I wrote in my forum post, gasoline would be legal to drink if a person thought it might aid their health. But who would ever think a person would do so. Hence, no law against it. That is why this issue must go before Congress as a "right to freedom of health choice," which has not been tested, and the Act could be amended accordingly. Otherwise, I suspect this issue will eventually have to be weighed by Congress as a constitutional right to health choices issue.

    Presently, I believe it would be too difficult and time consuming to get marijuana classified and regulated as a drug under the FDA. The easier path would be as a consitutional right to health choice issue, which I believe the USSC would be hard pressed to deny. It would also send a chilling signal to the health industry and present far reaching powers of the FDA. But something must give. Health care and costs (esp. Medicare/baby boomers) assignment are on a collision course for a meltdown within 10 years.

    As a solution, I propose the 28th Constitutional Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, entitled "Freedom of Choice in Medical Treatment," as a solution to increasingly valid challenges to U.S. legal/regulatory policies (esp. FDA) over ever increasing restrictions in medical choices available to Americans. Such Freedoms in "health care choices" could not have been forseen by the framers of our Constitution. Thus, I feel it deserving of your feedback and debate.

    A 28th Amendment would follow the "Freedom, Life, and Civil Liberties" provisions of the U.S. Constitution. Hence, no federal or state laws would be able to trump, on its face, the protections afforded by such an Amendment.

    Your thoughts?

    By: Stephen Dolle
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2005
  6. Jun 10, 2005 #5

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Having watched numerous programs on this, marijuana's biggest benefit to the ill seems to be for people getting stoned and their senses dulled, but there are other drugs that do that much better. What do they claim marijuana does that the other drugs don't?

    I know that there have been studies on glaucoma so I won't rule out further medical studies, but I think the current claims to need it are trumped up.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2005
  7. Jun 10, 2005 #6

    Hurkyl

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I think it's unfortunate you never consider why the government thought it necessary to regulate "health care choices" in the first place...
     
  8. Jun 10, 2005 #7
    http://www.csdp.org/kz/mmj.htm#pt3a

    I have 2 friends who never smoked it before they became ill. One with MS, and the other fighting cancer. The one with cancer got a "off the record" suggestion from his doctor to try it. And the one with MS tried it after people in her support group, showed signs of improvement after using it.
    Its just plain wrong to think of them as criminals. And I'm sure there are a thousand stories much the same.
    I wish you success in your endeavor, its not going to be a easy victory, if there is anything I could do to help, just let me know.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2005
  9. Jun 10, 2005 #8
    Times and Public Information Have Change

    Yes, 30 years ago the FDA had its merit - when most Americans knew nothing about medical care, and there were no avenues for patients to obtain objective scientific information. Also, during those years, it was common for physicians and scientists to publish critical or adverse medical studies regarding medical products, drugs, and treatments. In case you haven't followed the industry in recent years, that has all but entirely dried up. The conflicts of interest in the medical field and government agencies run so deep - that our system as we know it can no longer be trusted. Dissenters to this gigantic machinery typically get black-balled, as this entends to professionals, government staff, and patients. Given the vast number of medical and patient support groups, outreach organizations, and resources for information available through the Internet - we cannot turn back the clock. It would appear, in large part, that FDA has outlived its utility as the "sole source" of trusted information. Beyond the conflicts of interest and unreliability of information issues I have raised, the lack of efficiency and poor timeliness in the FDA's approving of new drugs, devices, and treatment (as it applies) is unacceptable!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2005
  10. Jun 10, 2005 #9

    loseyourname

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    In the case of cancer patients, it allows them to get food down and keep it down. The chemotherapy they take causes extreme nausea, which is a big reason that most patients lost so much weight and end up as sickly as they do. Marijuana has a strong anti-nauseating effect that no other drug seems to have and it also induces hunger. Presumably, they could just purify the THC and make a pill of it, but administering the drug by smoking allows for a stronger and quicker response.
     
  11. Jun 10, 2005 #10

    Kerrie

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    Recently the FDA has come under scrutiny about being biased due to the interests of industry. Take the drug Vioxx for example...

    Drug Safety Panel is Criticized

    It is naive to believe that in this day and age agencies such as the FDA are completely neutral in the health interests of people when money from big business comes into play. If marijuana ever were to become legal in modern times, bio-diesel from the hemp plant (not well known that it is virtually the THC free cannabis plant) could have a severe impact on oil companies, as well as the wood and cotton industries.
     
  12. Jun 10, 2005 #11

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I have heard of the anti-nausea claim, but I have seen nothing concrete on that. I know it induces hunger. I know people that have been on chemotherapy and are still alive and some that aren't. A couple that tried pot and didn't find relief, so I question the results. What medical "controlled" studies have been done and how much of the effect is placebo?
     
  13. Jun 10, 2005 #12

    loseyourname

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    I don't believe any conclusive controlled studies have been completed, or even attempted, at this point. This is just folk knowledge of a drug that has been commonly used for the last several hundred years by people on this continent. It definitely can work to alleviate nausea - anecdotal evidence alone proves that, though I'm sure it won't have the desired effect on everyone. How much is a placebo effect isn't known, but in these cases, I'm not sure it should matter. If a patient can avoid nausea and weight loss by smoking some, why not let them? Another reason these people prefer marijuana is that it really doesn't have any adverse side effects unless you smoke a lot of it - some cottonmouth and motor dysfunction is about it. Contrast that with just about everything else a cancer patient and similarly ill people must take. Even just as a pain reliever, it has appeal over something like percoset or vicodin in that it isn't addictive and it doesn't tear apart your stomach lining, something that just makes patients on chemo that much more nauseated.
     
  14. Jun 11, 2005 #13
    Evo please look at the link in my first post, it lists MANY published studies.
    I couldn't get the link to work or I would of titled it. But its fixed now
     
  15. Jun 11, 2005 #14

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I agree........
     
  16. Jun 11, 2005 #15

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I will check it out, The mother of my daughter's boyfriend has MS.
     
  17. Jun 11, 2005 #16

    loseyourname

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    Going back to the pain relief thing, I just can't understand the justification for making marijuana illegal while something like vicodin is not. Vicodin is far more addictive and has far worse side effects. By what virtue is it considered to be a safer or more effective drug? Opioids act by inverting pain receptors in the brain and THC acts by inhibiting them - there is little difference unless you are taking something as strong as demerol or morphine. Given that vicodin has stronger side effects, and can also get you just as high and is becoming just as abused, what is the reasoning here? Hell, I lost a marriage over my wife's vicodin addiction, something that began with her recovery from hip surgery through little fault of her own. My father became addicted to it after back surgery (after which he switched to marijuana, by the way, which he greatly prefers because it doesn't tear apart the stomach lining). Even numerous professional athletes have become addicted to it because it is prescribed so often after orthopedic procedures.

    It seems sometimes like the only reason marijuana ever made schedule 1 is that it was a hippy drug and Richard Nixon hated hippies. Since then it's just been maintenance of the status quo. With people like Eminem's family willfully abusing vicodin and percoset, is that really much better?
     
  18. Jun 11, 2005 #17
    Prepared to Debate Freedom of Choice on Prime Time

    Hypatia:

    If you believe in one's right to choose in medical care, then help me get this in the news. Montel Williams, the TV talk show entertainer who has MS, speaks openly that medical marijuana has helped him. However, my interests is much bigger than medical marijuana. It's about the "access and the right to choose treatments that are commercially available," even if outside of the U.S.

    I've been waiting for this open debate with the FDA and Washington since 2001 - when I received confirmation through Martha Hughes, of the FDA's Criminal Division, that there WAS evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Medtronic as presented in my 1996 FDA Petition on the CNS Delta shunt, but somehow the investigation was quashed and stalled until the 5-yr prosecutorial statute expired in 2001. These FDA favors allowed Medtronic to become the largest medical device company in the world in late 1998 and leader in the U.S. shunt products market, which most likely could NOT have occurred in the face of a 1998-99 criminal investigation.

    This story gets even more deplorable. In 2001, I was contacted by a mother in Chicago with a 14 yr-old daughter who had 40 surgeries in a 2-yr period (at Chicago Children's Hos.) on the same Delta shunt that the FDA in 1998 issued a ruling upholding the major portion of my Petition. After we spoke and I put her in contact with another mfr, the mother had to transport her daughter by ambulance to Rush Presbyterian in Chicago just to get a different CNS shunt implanted. She miraculously improved with the alternate small mfr shunt. This family did not have freedom of choice, and the incident suggests the neurosurgeon and/or Children's Hospital had some exclusive business arrangement, which I am told is 100% legal today.

    The Delta shunt cover-up could not have continued without assistance from the highest levels of the CDRH division of the FDA. Dr. Bruce Burlington's, who was then head of the CDRH, suddenly retired in 1999 after a STAMP Conference on this topic. Dr. Larry Kessler then emerged as a key figure.

    Yes, I am prepared to take this debate to TV. I am qualified, and am familiar with the health policy issues. I ask any of you who are interested to help get this debate on "Freedom of Choice in Health Care" into the national media.

    Stephen Dolle
    www.diaceph.com
     
  19. Jun 11, 2005 #18

    Kerrie

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    I wouldn't agree to it being the ONLY reason it is illegal. Like I said before, the cannabis plant has many uses that are far more economical then some of the industries that big businesses cash in on. The status quo that marijuana has as a "stupid drug" is more of a front to get people to remain uneducated about its potential as the ultimate resource.
     
  20. Jun 11, 2005 #19
    I will do my best to contact everyone I know who may be able to further your cause, after a few more details are known.
    What will be the limits of the new policies you wish to enact? I can't see it being opened to a broad spectrum of charlatans, who will convince people that bamboo shoots, and trepanation could take the place of shunts.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2005
  21. Jun 13, 2005 #20
    The 28th Amendment Defined: Choices, Costs, and Free Markets

    The act would allow Americans through a federal FDA challenge to legally take or obtain medicines, medical devices, and medical treatments not currently "recognized" by the FDA as sufficiently efficacious, safe, or applicable for the treatment of specific disease. Our present system requires manufacturers and importers to have vast financial reserves, and that they meet an often abgiguous FDA burden, in order for U.S. patients to gain access to these medicines, devices, and treatments.

    Such an Amendment would rightfully permit U.S. patients, either as individuals or as part of a group, to present evidence of efficacy and applicability from recognized U.S. or foreign medical sources. As long as this evidence, to be liberally construed in favor of the petitioner, does not present an epidemic risk to the public at large, such challenge should be granted. Once a particular medicine, medical device, or treatment has been granted its right to be used in the U.S., then no state or federal law could pre-empt a citizen's Constitutional Right to Choose in their care.

    Insurance reimbursement, as many of you may already know, operates under a separate burden of proof. But I have a hunch in instances where other medicines, devices, and treatments are shown to be much more economical in price, insurance companies may elect to cover them, short of the present exhaustive proof, in order to curb health care expenditures. This aspect of a new Right to Choose Constitutional Amendment would open up our U.S. health care system to "Free Market" competition by allowing more economical drugs, treatments and such from within the U.S. and foreign markets, and would become the single most piece of legislation to address run-away costs in health care, and it would lawfully permit importation of drugs from Canada and the EU as a Constitutional Right! The passage of such an Amendment follows the reasoning that competition makes for better and cheaper goods and services.

    It is interesting to note that most EU countries, who's medicines, devices, and treatments are more liberally construed in favor of the patient also have socialized, or state pad health care. One would think that in the U.S., in departing from this standard for Western nations, and continuing with our system of supposed "privatized or free market" health care - that we would actually have free markets. But it is exactly the opposite. We have less of a free market system in the U.S. than in countries where their health care is socialized, or state run.

    My final point is that in all my 25 years as a health professional and my years as a patient in the U.S., our present system continues to empower the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the single and ultimate finder of fact and efficacy pertaining to medicines, medical devices, and treatments permitted inside the U.S. Such a system today is antiquated, flawed, and is a significant source of corruption and conflict of interests to accurate health data and information. As a qualified expert in economic and health policy, I cannot in good conscience, continue to support U.S. health policy and the FDA in its present form.

    Today in the 21st Century, with the immense availability of true medical data and health information to the general public, federal agencies such as the FDA should not be permitted to freely trump the civil liberties and health decisions of U.S. citizens, their physicians, care givers, and recognized manufacturers of medical products they elect to purchase.

    If asked, I would author a book and other writings in support of this Amendment.

    By: Stephen Dolle
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Marijuana Use Illegal for the Sick, Gasoline still OK
  1. Illegal refugees (Replies: 3)

  2. Suicide Illegal ? (Replies: 36)

  3. Illegal immigrants (Replies: 16)

Loading...