Monday, May 14, 2007

"Marijuana as wonder drug"

Dr Lester Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School, writing in the Boston Globe, asks why we need proof of something that medicine has known for 5,000 years.

He argues that there is insufficient financial incentive for the drug companies to go through the expense of testing and approval of herbal cannabis - because they can't patent it.
"First, there is no question about its safety. It has been used for thousands of years by millions of people with no reported deaths and very little evidence of significant toxicity. Similarly, no doubleblind studies are needed to prove marijuana's efficacy.

Countless clinicians and patients the world around who have had experience with the medicinal use of cannabis have observed that it often provides better relief with fewer serious side effects than conventionally prescribed medicines. To impose this regulatory protocol on herbal marijuana is tantamount to making the same demand of aspirin, which was accepted as a medicine more than 60 years before the advent of the doubleblind controlled study. Many years of experience have shown us that aspirin has many uses and limited toxicity, yet today it could not be marshaled through the FDA approval process. The patent has long since expired, and with it the incentive to underwrite the substantial cost of this modern seal of approval."
Dr Grinspoon's thesis is also available as a pdf:
On the future of cannabis as medicine.


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