by Patrick Devlin
For years now, and important years they have been for the cause of freeing cannabis from the grip of propagandists and prohibitionist, Dr. Nora Volkow, the head of our government’s National Institute on Drug Addiction has been spending a whole lot of her time and energies demonizing the substance cannabis.
Strange, her compulsion to do this as we as a nation must console the families of sick and dying addicts every year who fall ill using our favorite addictive substances, the legal life killers tobacco and alcohol. Especially strange as Nora knows full well that cannabis is known by honest scientists to be as addictive as caffeine and acetaminophen (you know, Coke and Tylenol). And even stranger when America’s head of addiction research knows that there is absolutely no dispute that tobacco and alcohol are both extremely addictive and extremely deadly.
Even though it is true that many American citizens are now becoming aware that they have been lied to by our leaders about cannabis – both politicians as well as federally employed research scientists – as cannabis legalization is normalized across the US, Volkow has determined that there is value in continuing to misreport, propagandize, demonize and misrepresent what we know and what we are discovering about cannabis now that 80 years of the prohibition of the medical study of the substance has finally and thankfully come to an end.
We likely cannot expect biased and drug war bred politicos to be honest about cannabis, but doctors? Doctors with degrees and all that schooling, knowing that their statements matter to the citizens that they serve, doctors? One would hope that, having participated in selling a lie for over half a century, a doctor like Volkow would at least (for the sake of truth and the health of our citizens) be shamed into reporting facts as facts and make a personal vow to be objective, to consciously avoid being biased and deceptive.
Maybe a vow like this;
I swear by Apollo the physician, and Aesculapius the surgeon, likewise Hygeia and Panacea, and call all the gods and goddesses to witness, that I will observe and keep this underwritten oath, to the utmost of my power and judgment.
I will reverence my master who taught me the art. Equally with my parents, will I allow him things necessary for his support, and will consider his sons as brothers. I will teach them my art without reward or agreement; and I will impart all my acquirement, instructions, and whatever I know, to my master’s children, as to my own; and likewise to all my pupils, who shall bind and tie themselves by a professional oath, but to none else.
With regard to healing the sick, I will devise and order for them the best diet, according to my judgment and means; and I will take care that they suffer no hurt or damage.
Nor shall any man’s entreaty prevail upon me to administer poison to anyone; neither will I counsel any man to do so. Moreover, I will give no sort of medicine to any pregnant woman, with a view to destroy the child.
Further, I will comport myself and use my knowledge in a godly manner.
I will not cut for the stone, but will commit that affair entirely to the surgeons.
Whatsoever house I may enter, my visit shall be for the convenience and advantage of the patient; and I will willingly refrain from doing any injury or wrong from falsehood, and (in an especial manner) from acts of an amorous nature, whatever may be the rank of those who it may be my duty to cure, whether mistress or servant, bond or free.
Whatever, in the course of my practice, I may see or hear (even when not invited), whatever I may happen to obtain knowledge of, if it be not proper to repeat it, I will keep sacred and secret within my own breast.
If I faithfully observe this oath, may I thrive and prosper in my fortune and profession, and live in the estimation of posterity; or on breach thereof, may the reverse be my fate!
– the Hippocratic Oath, sworn to by all who become degreed physicians
“I will willingly refrain from doing any injury or wrong from falsehood…”, one would hope.
Now, it’s s not because this high flying government research scientist is stupid that she clings to false framing and misrepresentation about cannabis while knowingly shilling for whatever interest she is shilling for, be it the pharmaceutical industry, the private prison industry, the booze industry or the tobacco industry – all leeches feeding off of our society. Volkow is always sleezilly speedy in her invocation of the “true dangers” of cannabis as she has reported in her own research work that suggests a connection between anxiety and depression in cannabis users. Volkow is sure to relate in the interviews she gives as head of a government health agency that she is so very concerned about cannabis users anxiety and depression.
Well, Volkow, having vowed to “impart all my acquirement, instructions, and whatever I know” in the service of advancing the health of the nation, must be damn happy that a new medical study has found that “cannabis use (is) not associated with increased risk for developing mood or anxiety disorders,” or any other mental illnesses. This is in a scientific study that took care to control for a multiplicity of factors, including socio-demographic characteristics, family history, environment and past and present psychiatric disorders. Volkow can now, charged as she is by her vow, to spread honest medical truth, stifle and desist with the fear mongering and advise the nation that her warnings about cannabis causing anxiety and depression were wrong and people should no longer fear that cannabis is an evil anxiety and depression causing weed.
But wait, as the nation’s news fakers report the story, there is scant mention of the years of inaccurate and wrong fear mongering, little reference to the study’s debunking of the prohibitionist anxiety and depression meme from the press and no mention whatsoever from the mouth of our nation’s top addiction doctor.
What the prohibitionist media and Volkow focused on instead was another of the study’s findings, that cannabis users may in the future abuse other drugs that are more dangerous than cannabis, such as alcohol. The study’s authors found that cannabis users were three timers more likely to abuse alcohol three years after the study’s initial research.
Importantly, the researchers pointed out that this association does not prove cannabis use causes other substance abuse problems, but they speculated that similarities between marijuana and other substances “may contribute to the association of cannabis use with (substance use disorders) but not with most other disorders examined.” The researchers posited that, “use of cannabis can also lead to behavioral disinhibition, which increases the likelihood of use of other substances and the risk of abuse or dependence on those substances.”
To be clear, the study found a correlation, not proven causation, between cannabis use (an extremely mildly addictive substance, despite it’s illegality) and later abuse of alcohol (a demonstrably addictive and deadly substance, in spite of it’s legality). More importantly, the study debunked the often repeated scare tactic of prohibitionists regarding cannabis use causing anxiety and depression.
What was it that the good-oath-taking-government-paid-doctor told the press when asked about the study? Volkow told FOXNews;
“These results delineate more clearly the outlines of the possible adverse psychiatric outcomes associated with cannabis use. Patients, doctors, advocates, and policymakers should understand that cannabis use, even for medicinal purposes, is associated with a clear risk of developing cannabis and/or other substance use disorders. This knowledge should be incorporated into clinical care and policy planning.”
So, we should be worried that cannabis users may become abusive drinkers who may become enmeshed in the horrors of alcohol addiction, and this 2 steps from reality consciousness should inform our policy making? Huh?
Maybe the doctor should have advised that drinking alcohol is dangerous, potentially addictive and is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States causing 88,000 deaths each year, and cannabis is mildly addictive and has never caused a death in human history.
Volkow is in a position of power to lobby for the re-classification of cannabis from being considered to be highly addictive and of no medical value. Volkow knows that the classification of cannabis is a destructive and harm causing lie. Volkow keeps quacking and America keeps treating cannabis like heroin. Volkow does nothing. Volkow has broken her vow.
Dr. Nora Volkow, we beg of you, please try to do no more harm.