Facts On Medical Marijuana Are Stubborn Things

“In the words of John Adams, ‘facts are stubborn things, and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.'”
So began the ironically titled op/ed, “Facts on medical marijuana are stubborn things, too,” by Joseph Summerill — general counsel for the Major County Sheriffs’ Association — which appeared in print in the Washington Examiner newspaper on Sunday.
Yet as far as ‘facts’ were concerned, Summerill’s propaganda piece was altogether devoid of them.
My colleague Russ Belville properly eviscerated Summerill’s tripe on the NORML blog here. My own rebuttal appears today in the Examiner here.

Medical marijuana reduces pain
Re: “Facts on medical marijuana are stubborn things, too,” Oct. 24
Author Joseph Summerill is correct to assert that “facts … are stubborn things.” So stubborn, in fact, that he chooses to ignore them completely.
Summerill alleges, “The undisputable facts, however, are that there are no sound scientific data supporting the medical value of marijuana.” The website PubMed Central, the U.S. government repository for peer-reviewed scientific research, disagrees. In fact, a simple word search on PubMed using the keyword “marijuana” reveals more than 2,100 published papers in peer-reviewed journals just this year alone.
Of course, not every one of these papers pertain to the substance’s therapeutic potential. But many do.
For example, the results of a series of randomized, placebo-controlled Food and Drug Administration-approved clinical trials performed by regional branches of the University of California demonstrated that inhaled cannabis holds therapeutic value that is comparable to or better than conventional medications, particularly in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain. These findings were publicly presented to the California legislature, and also appear online here: http://www.cmcr.ucsd.edu/images/pdfs/CMCR_REPORT_FEB17.pdf. Further, the UC findings paralleled those previously reported by no less than the American Medical Association’s Council on Science and Public Health, which declared, “Results of short term controlled trials indicate that smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.”
Those are the facts, Mr. Summerill. It’s time to stop denying them.

16 thoughts

  1. Let’s look at these facts:
    Millions die from alcohol poisoning and diseases associated to drinking every year.
    Millions die from diseases associated to smoking cigarettes.
    Nobody has ever died from smoking marijuana. You want to make something illegal, make that cigarettes and alcohol. But, legalize an herb that does no harm. <:-)
    [Paul Armentano responds: And it was just reported that you’re far more likely to contract lung cancer as a result of consuming alcohol than inhaling marijuana. Yet somehow I doubt the alcohol industry will be barraged with questions and criticisms regarding their product’s association with cancer any time soon.
    Heavy Alcohol Consumption Linked With Greater Lung Cancer Risk
    By Join Together Staff <http://www.drugfree.org/author/admin/> | October 25, 2011 | Leave a comment <http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/alcohol/heavy-alcohol-consumption-linked-with-greater-lung-cancer-risk#respond> | Filed in Alcohol <http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/alcohol> & Research <http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/research>
    A new study <http://chestjournal.chestpubs.org/cgi/content/meeting_abstract/140/4_MeetingAbstracts/305A?sid=ea7bb7fb-8bc5-4eb9-9456-d7f667329329> links heavy alcohol consumption with a greater risk of developing lung cancer. The study included approximately 126,000 people who enrolled between 1978 and 1985, and were followed until 2008. The researchers found 1,852 people developed lung cancer during that time.
    Having three or more alcoholic drinks a day increased lung cancer risk by 30 percent. Heavy beer consumption carried a slightly higher risk than wine and liquor, Medical News Today <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/236527.php> reports.
    “Heavy drinking has multiple harmful effects, including cardiovascular complications and increased risk for lung cancer,” lead researcher Stanton Siu, MD, of Kaiser Permanente said in a news release <http://2011.accpmeeting.org/press/releases/heavy-alcohol-consumption-linked-lung-cancer> . “We did not see a relationship between moderate drinking and lung cancer development.”
    The researchers conclude that avoidance of any type of heavy alcohol intake may reduce the risk of lung cancer. The study was presented this week at CHEST 2011, the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians.]

  2. I am so sick of this shit. Pot got my husband through pain during two hip replacements when script shit was crap. It’s about time peoplle realize that it ‘s not only great medically but those of us that got advanced degrees and do great in life are not “f’d” up. I’m so sick of these non-doers. If they try it’ maybe they’ll be less anal and judgmental.

  3. Glad to see the rebuttal published as well. It can be so dumbfounding to see people ignoring real research, regardless their agenda.
    [Paul Armentano responds: It is even more dumbfounding that editors fail to do their jobs and allow such lies to be printed. I mean, if Summerill had turned in his op/ed as a high-school term paper he would have received a failing grade. Just because someone’s lies appear in the form of a quote or an op/ed does not mean that editors can forgo their responsibility to fact-check. Of course, when it comes to marijuana coverage all bets are off.]

  4. The important fact about marijuana is that it is a federal term with a 104 word definition. That allows “preventionists” (a great term from the USNews.com Debate-Club page) to confuse people, by referring to
    cannabis as marijuana, and by referring to smoked cannabis as smoked marijuana. Medical cannabis is likewise called medical marijuana. The preventionists think that industrial cannabis is also marijuana.
    The confusion can be eliminated with this simple fact-based definition of marijuana which re-legalizes cannabis and actually shows respect for our Constitution:
    16. The term ‘marijuana’ means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L.
    With this definition, inhaled cannabis is just that, and smoked cannabis is ‘marijuana’.
    Join the Peloton. We demand this simple definition of marijuana. For more information, google Talking Points for the Peloton.

  5. Is it possible that our government has gotten so used to lying to its citizens that it can no longer tell the truth, or actually know what the truth is?
    That would appear to be the case. It’s not as if democracy can actually survive by a government that fails to provide truthful information about what the political leadership and our government is up to. But then, one would have a difficult time arguing the point that the USA is still a Webster-defined democracy.
    Our government lies about why we keep going to war overseas, lies about what specific legislation actually does, lies about this country’s economic health, lies about statistics as simple as the inflation rate, unemployment rate, GDP, food safety, and drug safety — legal and illicit. If ‘our’ government told us that there was a 100% chance of sunshine tomorrow, I would make certain I had my umbrella along.
    Expecting ‘our’ government to actually tell the truth about anything whatsoever is expecting too much, isn’t it? They even lie about whose government our government actually ‘belongs’ to, except that it certainly does not belong to We the People — that much has become readily apparent.
    The closest that anyone in our government has come to actually telling the truth is (1) Ron Paul talking politics & economics, and (2) Secretary of State Clinton acknowledging that ‘there is too much money (in illegal drugs) for cannabis to ever be made legal’.
    H.R.C.’s statement hardly provides justification for keeping harmless cannabis illegal, though, let alone for ‘our’ government to lie about why that is the case.
    Considering the public pro-prohibition policies articulated by most politicians of both Lame Stream political parties, it would seem that We the People need to throw all our support behind a 3rd political party. And if OCCUPY is the start of a bona fide populist revolution in this country, it’s happening a bit too slowly to suit me …

  6. It is always frustrating with what people consider “facts”. But I am so very envious on you in th US who are at least “allowed”, or rather manage to get due to your commitment, some media space to discuss the “facts”.
    Here, in Sweden, “facts” are even more disconnected from data received from medical trials and usually even arguments about the validly of the “facts” done with proper reference to medical trials are totally ignored and not even allowed media attention and in the little media space it gets the arguments are not at all counter argument-ed with any type of scientifically specific references. Which is veeery frustrating. I want to look at the arguments for both normalization and continued non-normalization but non-norml spokes people do not provide any references since their “facts” are commonly known “facts” and thus no need to for data about them…

  7. Cannabis is a supernatural intervention given to mankind from our creator to heal in this realm.
    Ray DiPasquale

  8. Don’t they know that we are fighting for their rights as well as our own? or have they sold their very souls for prohibition etc.

  9. Just going to say, I can’t take pills or tablets, my stomach and liver can not handle them, I usually end up vomiting, and have horrible intestinal problems after. I had been using cannabis for recreation for about 6 years, and finally had to stop using for job interests. I was fine for about 3 months then, one morning I woke up with one of the worst headaches of my life, the pain would throb on the right side of my head all the way from front to back, any bright light would increasingly intensify the pain, to the point of vomiting. Went to the urgent care later were they proceeded to give me a shot for the pain and nausea, and told me I was most likely suffering from a migraine. They wrote me a prescription for tylenol with codiene, xanax for my anxiety to help rest, and zofran for my nausea. Long story short end up back at my doctors a week later, still having migraines, and more stomach problems, had a blood test done, told me my liver had high enzyme levels and to stop taking the tylenol with codiene. I had nothing to take for pain, and by the time I would take my anti-nausea pill I would have already vomited it out, or was already too sick, not to mention all the other side effects prominently bowel symptoms, creating worse pain. I had enough, the only thing I had changed in the past 3 months was that I was not smoking cannabis. I firmly believe that it has improved my quality of life and helps me manage my pain, when I can’t take the mainstream medicine, I wish it is a lot cheaper, but its just a fact, my body can not handle them. I don’t vomit anymore and I can easily relieve symptoms at onset without having to wait for 3 to 4 hours to kick in, which I haven already lost a considerable amount of time.

Leave a Reply