In 1937 cannabis was effectively outlawed. The “Marihuana Tax Act” was introduced as a backdoor way of removing cannabis from society. It created a system wherein it was prohibitively expensive to grow and sell and buy anything containing cannabis.
At that time the strongest opponents of this “backdoor prohibition” was the American Medical Association. Here is what the AMA told a Senate subcommittee in 1937 in regards to the Marihuana Tax Act:
“Since the medicinal use of cannabis has not caused and is not causing addiction, the prevention of the use of the drug for medicinal purposes can accomplish no good end whatsoever. How far it may serve to deprive the public of the benefits of a drug that on further research may prove to be of substantial value, it is impossible to foresee.”
Whereas today doctors have no experience with cannabis, back in 1937 the medical community had first hand experience of treating patients with it. Doctors understood that cannabis is real medicine that can be enormously beneficial for dozens of conditions. As the final sentence of that statement indicates, the AMA also foresaw the enormous degree of suffering that would be inflicted on patients by removing cannabis from medicine cabinets.
Where as in 1937 doctors had a great deal of personal dealings with cannabis and could recognize the therapeutic benefits it brought to their patients, 80 years of prohibition later today’s doctors have no such experience. It shouldn’t therefore come as a surprise that the Florida Medical Association has recently come out in opposition to Florida’s medical marijuana program. 80 years of prohibition has seen doctors slide into ignorance.
The reasons given by the Florida Medical Association for opposing medical marijuana highlight this profound level of ignorance perfectly. According to the FMA, legalizing medical marijuana would cause “serious and unintended consequences,” that will “constitute a public health risk for Floridians.”
Firstly, this greatly exaggerates the potential risks of cannabis (particularly at a time when the opiate epidemic is wreaking havoc). Secondly, it suggests that the FMA knows nothing about the genuine medical applications of cannabis. This second one is the real problem.
In reality, the true danger to the health of Floridians is not legalizing medical marijuana. This is a truth the doctors of 1937 knew only too well, but their modern counterparts are entirely ignorant about.
This ignorance is frustrating, but it is largely not their fault. They’ve been as misled as the rest of us by the prohibitionists’ lies and manipulations. They’ve been led to believe that medical marijuana is just a way for hippies and slackers and stoners to sidestep the law and get their fix.
And let’s face it, many doctors these days only come into contact with cannabis when a young person comes to them complaining of addiction. Thus, they only see the downside and never the benefits.
Perhaps, also, in some cases there is the assumption that because they weren’t taught about cannabis in medical school there isn’t anything about cannabis worth knowing. So, while this is ignorance, it is entirely understandable.
Here’s what I would like to see doctors do to correct this ignorance and come into the 21st century:
They should take to the internet and look into the hundreds of research papers and studies into cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system. Because the truth is, there has been far more research into cannabinoids than is often assumed. Between the hundreds of studies there is surely enough evidence for even the most cynical, questioning doctor to conclude that there’s something genuinely medical about cannabis.
And if there is something genuinely medical about cannabis surely it should be a treatment option for patients in Florida… as well as everywhere else.
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