Medical Marijuana

Surgeon General Agrees With Bill Bennett That Marijuana Has Medical Potential

Vivek Murthy's comments do not necessarily signal a policy shift.

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CBS News

This week Surgeon General Vivek Murthy acknowledged marijuana's medical utility, telling CBS News:

We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms that marijuana can be helpful. So I think we have to use that data to drive policymaking, and I'm very interested to see where that data takes us.

Since 1970, marijuana has been classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which among other things supposedly means it has "no currently accepted medical use." Do Murthy's comments signal that the Obama administration is seriously considering moving marijuana to a lower schedule? Not necessarily. Federal officials have been conceding the medical potential of cannabinoids for years, during the previous administration as well as this one. But the government can allow doctors to prescribe certain marijuana products (such as THC in capsule form, a Schedule III drug, or the cannabinoid spray Sativex, whose manufacturer is seeking FDA approval) without taking the raw plant out of Schedule I.

Even Bill Bennett, an unreconstructed drug warrior who longs for the days of "Just Say No" and "This Is Your Brain on Drugs," admits that marijuana can help some patients. In his new book Going to Pot, he proposes a tightly controlled system in which doctors would be allowed to prescribe marijuana to seriously ill patients with certain conditions who have unsuccessfully tried other drugs. Bennett describes this approach as a beefed-up version of the federal government's Investigational New Drug Program for marijuana, which was closed to new applicants back when he was drug czar but continues to supply a few surviving patients with joints blessed by Uncle Sam. Although Bennett's main interest is shutting down state medical marijuana programs, his willingness to acknowledge the plant's medical properties shows that Murthy was hardly going out on a limb.

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  1. That’s the surgeon general? What the fuck happened to the uniform? Did Obama steal it?

    1. He handed them out to the janitors he had standing there for the O-care shots.

    2. I think Koop was just kind of a pompous asshole.

      1. Huh. I just looked it up. They all wear uniforms. The wiki entry includes the current one in uniform.

        1. They all wear uniforms for their official portraits. I think Koop was the only one who wore it to bed.

          1. Look, as another surgeon general told us, masturbation is our friend.

            1. Wait, when was NutraSweet the Surgeon General?

          2. He liked to wear it in his sessions with the dominatrix as well. Her name was Payne. His safeword was “Life Alert”.

    3. I seriously can’t picture this guy with a chin strap selling medical emergency products anytime in the future.

      They must have the wrong guy.

    4. Why the fuck does the surgeon general have a martial-style uniform? Was I the only one who didn’t know this?

      1. He is the head of the “public health service”. While not part of DOD, those guys have uniforms.

      2. There are seven uniformed services as part of the USG: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Public Health Service, Coast Guard, and NOAA. Yes, the fucking National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration!

    5. USPHS wears the same uniforms as the Navy. He’s in the Service Dress Blue uniform. [Yes, I know its black, but that’s what they call it]. Here is my problem, he is a 3-star equivalent at 37!!!!! Its not like he single-handedly defeated the Nazis at 32 and got a field promotion.

  2. We routinely give people heroin in pill form for pain. We routinely feed even children psychiatric drugs that produce dreadful side effects. Yet, we won’t let people in pain or distress use marijuana.

    The situation at the VA and military hospitals is disgraceful. The VA and military medicine hand out psychiatric drugs for PTSD like they are candy. Let one soldier smoke a joint to deal with their PTSD, and they will kick him out on the street with no benefits. No, you must take our quack drugs that give you suicidal thoughts and might make you psychotic. You can’t smoke that devil weed that might make you boring or eat too many Cheetos.

    And lets not forget the NFL. They will ban their players for life for smoking weed, yet every team employs a Dr. Feelgood that hands out opiates to get players out on the field.

    1. No defense of the NFL, but you prolly need to include the other pro sports leagues.

      1. In hockey, I believe they hand out pain-enhancing drugs.

        1. Canuckistanies are a strange race!

          1. Any sport dominated by Canadians and Russians (funded by Americans) is bound to have some quirks.

            1. Watch the HBO 24/7 docs they do every year leading up to the Winter Classic. It follows two teams for the month or so leading up to the game. It is right out of Slap Shot. Hockey players are a mix of truly loathsome psychotics and other assorted lunatics.

      2. The NBA doesn’t test for the devil weed. The other sports don’t have quite the pain killer culture the NFL has. The NFL really is the most hypocritical. If they gave a shit about anything but their image with soccer moms, they would want their players smoking weed for the pain rather than risking getting addicted to opiates.

  3. The absurd belief that MJ is somehow “bad” is so ingrained in the medical community that it’s amazing, and just goes to show you how disgustingly fucked government propaganda, prohibition, and aggressive enforcement are. Even in a weed legal state I’m hesitant to let doctors know about the true extent of my weed consumption because they’re instantly disapproving. Even though weed has no side effects (at least for me), no hangover, and no health implications of any note.

    It’s nice to see some doctors and the medical community slowly coming around, but it’s reversing decades of asinine “weed is bad” bullshit and has a ways to go.

    1. When you consider that doctors are basically in the business of administering powerful and sometimes dangerous drugs to their patients, it is not absurd. It is insane.

      How the hell do you in one moment write a proscription for morphine or lithium and in the next think “marijuana is just too dangerous of a drug to be used in medicine”?

    2. Doctors can usually gauge a patient’s marijuana consumption by the number of Adult Swim references he makes.

      Which means they probably guess you’re up to around a pound per day.

      1. They can also tell by asking them if they snowboard.

        1. or disc golf.

          1. No, no, no. Ultimate. Disc golf is for dorks like NutraSweet.

      2. I’ve switched to a vaper so it’s actually back down to about a half pound.

  4. I’m a Scientist with a strong interest in Cancer research. The evidence of the value of Marijuana as a life saving medicine is now so strong that the need to remove Marijuana from Schedule 1 has become a moral imperative.

    This weekend over 3,000 Americans will die, in pain, of Cancer. Every day after that, 1,500 more Americans will die, after suffering horribly, from it. Every single minute another American dies of Cancer. Every American Cancer patient deserves the right to have safe, legal, and economical access to Medical Marijuana. Every single one.

    Americans who need Medical Marijuana shouldn’t be used as “Political Footballs” Please call the Whitehouse comment line at (202) 456-1111 and ask that the President take immediate action to remove Marijuana from Schedule 1 so American Physicians in all 50 states can prescribe it.

    Oncologists have know it for more than a quarter of a Century that Marijuana is a “wonder drug” for helping Cancer patients.

    The American Society of Clinical Oncologists wants Marijuana removed from Schedule 1. So does the American Medical Association, the professional society of all Physicians. A strong majority of Americans want Physicians in all 50 states to be able to prescribe Medical Marijuana. So do their Physicians., Cancer patients can’t wait.

    1. After my mother died of cancer, I found a bottle of straight morphine pills she had been proscribed. Of course, I have no problem with doctors giving their patients whatever pain meds they deem appropriate. The fact that they could give her straight morphine and not marijuana is absolutely insane.

      1. Then John took the whole bottle and had a fantastic night. Without smoking any demon weed. Don’t do drugs that doctors don’t give you, kids!

        1. Those records are permanently sealed due to the strict company archive policy. Officially, I can only say that they were safely disposed of to ensure they did not present any danger to pets or children.

          1. I completely understand.

            (wink wink)

  5. Isn’t the fact that we have both cannaboid receptors and our body produces endocannabinoids sufficient evidence that cannabis has a medical use?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabinoid_receptor

    How is it possible that we have both cannaboid receptors and that our bodies produce endocannabinoids–and it not have any medical applications?

  6. Whatever that guy licked before going on camera did not taste good.

    1. Chipotle?

  7. I liked this better the first time I saw it, when it was an episode of The West Wing.

  8. “…he proposes a tightly controlled system in which doctors would be allowed to prescribe marijuana to seriously ill patients with certain conditions who have unsuccessfully tried other drugs.”

    The biggest problem I see with this statement by Bill Bennett is ultimately, it is still my choice which appropriate drug to use (with the advice of my doctor and pharmacist). For example, if I go to my doc with a case of limp dick, it is ultimately my choice if I want to try Viagra or Cialis. If marijuana CAN be prescribed for my condition, why must I be required to exhaust all of the possibilities before being allowed to try marijuana. Asinine!!

    1. Like every other statement Bennett makes, it is for the reasons you give a loathsome statement. It is just marginally less loathsome than most of his others.

      What the fuck does he mean “unsuccessfully tired other drugs”? Fuck him. What drugs I take are between me and my doctor. Who the hell is some blowhard degenerate gambler to tell my doctor what drugs I have to try first before getting access to pot?

      What a asshole that guy is.

  9. Hey, Bill Bennett:

    Go fuck yourself. We don’t need or want your permission, you miserable degenerate gambling piece of shit.

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  11. Just legalize it already. Why does government think it has a right to choose what one puts in their body? Does the government own your body or do you?

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