Author Topic: I went into medical marijuana long after becoming a skeptic. For the record.  (Read 1045 times)

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Offline The Latinist

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You made no preposterous claims in the video about MM so I'm not sure why others in this thread are going out of their way to mention these things, if you had made some skeptical claims i mite understand them refuting them but you haven't.

He doesn't need to make preposterous claims for the healing powers of marijuana; by practicing unregulated herbal medicine based on anecdote he's behaving in an inherently unscientific way.  He can be as skeptical as he likes in other areas; that doesn't change the fact that in this one area he is not.
So helping cancer patients with nausea or reducing pain levels or controlling Ibs just to name a few none of that means anything to you in a medical sense? It's all bullshit right? It's a drug that makes you feel better with very few side effects and a low if not nonexistent chance of overdose . How is this not medical? 

Exactly the same thing can be and is said by every homeopath, naturopath, herbalist, chiropractor and acupuncturist of their wares, often with just as much evidence.  And you will find just as many anecdotes confirming that those thing work.  As skeptics we know that our cognitive biases, etc. make us really poor judges of such things, which is why we can't rely on such evidence.  I'm sure you know that and accept it when discussing other CAM treatments, but for some reason you ignore this when it comes to medical marijuana.  Perhaps you should consider why that is.
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Offline stands2reason

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You made no preposterous claims in the video about MM so I'm not sure why others in this thread are going out of their way to mention these things, if you had made some skeptical claims i mite understand them refuting them but you haven't.

He doesn't need to make preposterous claims for the healing powers of marijuana; by practicing unregulated herbal medicine based on anecdote he's behaving in an inherently unscientific way.  He can be as skeptical as he likes in other areas; that doesn't change the fact that in this one area he is not.
So helping cancer patients with nausea or reducing pain levels or controlling Ibs just to name a few none of that means anything to you in a medical sense? It's all bullshit right? It's a drug that makes you feel better with very few side effects and a low if not nonexistent chance of overdose . How is this not medical? 

Exactly the same thing can be and is said by every homeopath, naturopath, herbalist, chiropractor and acupuncturist of their wares, often with just as much evidence.  And you will find just as many anecdotes confirming that those thing work.  As skeptics we know that our cognitive biases, etc. make us really poor judges of such things, which is why we can't rely on such evidence.  I'm sure you know that and accept it when discussing other CAM treatments, but for some reason you ignore this when it comes to medical marijuana.  Perhaps you should consider why that is.

No. We know that cannabis has psychoactive drugs in it. From a Bayesian perspective, this makes claims that it can treat pain and psychiatric conditions more plausible.

"60 Peer-Reviewed Studies on Medical Marijuana"
http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000884

They have sections each for cancer, pain, and nausea, and the evidence is in favor in each case. Here are the titles of some of the affirming papers, to give you an idea:

Smoked cannabis three times a day reduced neuropathic pain and improved sleep
 Low and high doses of smoked cannabis relieved neuropathic pain of diverse causes
Marijuana found to both reduce and increase capsaicin-induced pain (injection of chili pepper ingredient) depending on dose

Smoked marijuana reduces feelings of nausea - only one study though

HIV patients using marijuana in smoked and pill forms have improved immune function

Smoked cannabis produced improvements in patients' Parkinson's symptoms with no significant adverse effects


Cannabis extracts quickly relieves spasms and pain in MS patients
 Cannabis-based medicine extracts helps MS patients with lower urinary tract symptoms
Orally administered cannabis reduced spasms and improved mobility in patients with MS
(note, some studies on MS are equivocal or negative)

This was new to me, but we have evidence that CBD inhibits some cancer cells

Quote from: Cannabidiol inhibits proliferation of breast cancer cells

"There is a general consensus in the field of cancer research that targeting multiple pathways that control tumor progression is the best strategy for the eradication of aggressive cancers. Since CBD has a low toxicity, it would be an ideal candidate for use in combination treatments with additional drugs already used in the clinic. Importantly, CBD appears to be interacting through a cellular system that regulates the expression of key transcriptional factors (e.g., Id-1) that control breast cancer cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. The experiments described in this manuscript not only define the pathways that CBD is working through to control breast cancer cell aggressiveness, but also demonstrate the efficacy of CBD in pre-clinical models. A greater understanding of this system may lead to future therapies for breast cancer patients, including the additional refinement of CBD analog synthesis."

"Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain"
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/

Quote

Abstract

This article reviews recent research on cannabinoid analgesia via the endocannabinoid system and non-receptor mechanisms, as well as randomized clinical trials employing cannabinoids in pain treatment. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, Marinol®) and nabilone (Cesamet®) are currently approved in the United States and other countries, but not for pain indications. Other synthetic cannabinoids, such as ajulemic acid, are in development. Crude herbal cannabis remains illegal in most jurisdictions but is also under investigation. Sativex®, a cannabis derived oromucosal spray containing equal proportions of THC (partial CB1 receptor agonist ) and cannabidiol (CBD, a non-euphoriant, anti-inflammatory analgesic with CB1 receptor antagonist and endocannabinoid modulating effects) was approved in Canada in 2005 for treatment of central neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis, and in 2007 for intractable cancer pain. Numerous randomized clinical trials have demonstrated safety and efficacy for Sativex in central and peripheral neuropathic pain, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer pain. An Investigational New Drug application to conduct advanced clinical trials for cancer pain was approved by the US FDA in January 2006. Cannabinoid analgesics have generally been well tolerated in clinical trials with acceptable adverse event profiles. Their adjunctive addition to the pharmacological armamentarium for treatment of pain shows great promise.


Offline Simon Jester

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You made no preposterous claims in the video about MM so I'm not sure why others in this thread are going out of their way to mention these things, if you had made some skeptical claims i mite understand them refuting them but you haven't.

He doesn't need to make preposterous claims for the healing powers of marijuana; by practicing unregulated herbal medicine based on anecdote he's behaving in an inherently unscientific way.  He can be as skeptical as he likes in other areas; that doesn't change the fact that in this one area he is not.
So helping cancer patients with nausea or reducing pain levels or controlling Ibs just to name a few none of that means anything to you in a medical sense? It's all bullshit right? It's a drug that makes you feel better with very few side effects and a low if not nonexistent chance of overdose . How is this not medical? 

Exactly the same thing can be and is said by every homeopath, naturopath, herbalist, chiropractor and acupuncturist of their wares, often with just as much evidence.  And you will find just as many anecdotes confirming that those thing work.  As skeptics we know that our cognitive biases, etc. make us really poor judges of such things, which is why we can't rely on such evidence.  I'm sure you know that and accept it when discussing other CAM treatments, but for some reason you ignore this when it comes to medical marijuana.  Perhaps you should consider why that is.

But its not the same thing, it absolutely is a drug and it absolutely has an effect on the human body, its not a placebo.  You make it sound as if its all in our heads and in this case it is actually doing something, this does not belong in the same category as above, i'm hoping Roman736 comes back on and refutes your statements.
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Offline Simon Jester

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You made no preposterous claims in the video about MM so I'm not sure why others in this thread are going out of their way to mention these things, if you had made some skeptical claims i mite understand them refuting them but you haven't.

He doesn't need to make preposterous claims for the healing powers of marijuana; by practicing unregulated herbal medicine based on anecdote he's behaving in an inherently unscientific way.  He can be as skeptical as he likes in other areas; that doesn't change the fact that in this one area he is not.
So helping cancer patients with nausea or reducing pain levels or controlling Ibs just to name a few none of that means anything to you in a medical sense? It's all bullshit right? It's a drug that makes you feel better with very few side effects and a low if not nonexistent chance of overdose . How is this not medical? 

Exactly the same thing can be and is said by every homeopath, naturopath, herbalist, chiropractor and acupuncturist of their wares, often with just as much evidence.  And you will find just as many anecdotes confirming that those thing work.  As skeptics we know that our cognitive biases, etc. make us really poor judges of such things, which is why we can't rely on such evidence.  I'm sure you know that and accept it when discussing other CAM treatments, but for some reason you ignore this when it comes to medical marijuana.  Perhaps you should consider why that is.

No. We know that cannabis has psychoactive drugs in it. From a Bayesian perspective, this makes claims that it can treat pain and psychiatric conditions more plausible.

"60 Peer-Reviewed Studies on Medical Marijuana"
http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000884

They have sections each for cancer, pain, and nausea, and the evidence is in favor in each case. Here are the titles of some of the affirming papers, to give you an idea:

This was new to me, but we have evidence that CBD inhibits some cancer cells

Quote from: Cannabidiol inhibits proliferation of breast cancer cells

"There is a general consensus in the field of cancer research that targeting multiple pathways that control tumor progression is the best strategy for the eradication of aggressive cancers. Since CBD has a low toxicity, it would be an ideal candidate for use in combination treatments with additional drugs already used in the clinic. Importantly, CBD appears to be interacting through a cellular system that regulates the expression of key transcriptional factors (e.g., Id-1) that control breast cancer cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. The experiments described in this manuscript not only define the pathways that CBD is working through to control breast cancer cell aggressiveness, but also demonstrate the efficacy of CBD in pre-clinical models. A greater understanding of this system may lead to future therapies for breast cancer patients, including the additional refinement of CBD analog synthesis."

"Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain"
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/

Quote

Abstract

This article reviews recent research on cannabinoid analgesia via the endocannabinoid system and non-receptor mechanisms, as well as randomized clinical trials employing cannabinoids in pain treatment. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, Marinol®) and nabilone (Cesamet®) are currently approved in the United States and other countries, but not for pain indications. Other synthetic cannabinoids, such as ajulemic acid, are in development. Crude herbal cannabis remains illegal in most jurisdictions but is also under investigation. Sativex®, a cannabis derived oromucosal spray containing equal proportions of THC (partial CB1 receptor agonist ) and cannabidiol (CBD, a non-euphoriant, anti-inflammatory analgesic with CB1 receptor antagonist and endocannabinoid modulating effects) was approved in Canada in 2005 for treatment of central neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis, and in 2007 for intractable cancer pain. Numerous randomized clinical trials have demonstrated safety and efficacy for Sativex in central and peripheral neuropathic pain, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer pain. An Investigational New Drug application to conduct advanced clinical trials for cancer pain was approved by the US FDA in January 2006. Cannabinoid analgesics have generally been well tolerated in clinical trials with acceptable adverse event profiles. Their adjunctive addition to the pharmacological armamentarium for treatment of pain shows great promise.


wow thanks Stands

Now what do you say Lat?
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Offline The Latinist

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Sorry, I've been very busy with a bathroom demo and reno (black mold!), so I've not have time to respond.  The short answer is that I say the same thing I said before, since I was aware of most of this information.  These studies are not the kind of evidence upon which responsible people prescribe medications.  We rightly criticize naturopaths for prescribing St. John's Wort for depression, for instance, despite similar evidence for its effectiveness.

As I've said from the beginning, there may be real medical uses for chemicals in marijuana.  But creating an industry selling people unregulated, untested herbal medications that have not undergone rigorous clinical trials and gained FDA approval is exactly the kind of thing that skeptics ought to be against in all cases.  And in almost all cases we are.  This is just a sacred cow for some people; which is fine, as long as they recognize that in this area they are not being skeptics.
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Offline Jeremy's Sea

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Due to its psychoactive effects and physical effects I think you're taking too hard a line here about the drug and skepticism. I don't think all of these claims fail your skepticism test even though there is clearly a line to be crossed out there somewhere. Remember anecdote in and of itself has a place in the process just so long as we advance past that, and it's clear we need to. Most of the credible evidence comes in for pain and nausea and sleep, I don't think this is unskeptical to recognize something is happening as others have pointed out there is a high likelihood for actual effectiveness over a low to no dose supplement.
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Offline Simon Jester

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Not to mention the peer reviewed studies latinist claimed did not exist. I'm seeing more "belief" than skepticism in his comments. Its not Unregulated, each state has very strict rules and must be sold by doctors prescription. My state wont even let the doctors decide and think the legislators are somehow qualified but when little girls with epileptic seizures start crossing state lines to get the only medication that seems to work at least they listened. But according to lat she is being fed snake oil just like acupuncture. Really? 

« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 11:56:19 PM by Simon Jester »
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Offline The Latinist

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I did not make any such claim.  I said there was inadequate evidence, and I stand by that.  The fact is that marijuana (or, more appropriately, specific compounds in marijuana) should be subjected to the exact same standards of evidence and regulation that any other medication is. But they are not.  It is being allowed to be prescribed and sold as medication without adequate clinical trials and without gaining FDA approval. It bullshit when any other herb is allowed to be used that way, and its bullshit when this one is.  This is not how medicine should work. It's not how real medicine does work.  It's how CAM works.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 01:55:22 AM by The Latinist »
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Offline The Latinist

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Let me ask you this: St. John's Wort is an herb with known psychoactive properties, which many people say helps their depression, and which has been studied with positive results. It's not implausible that it might help with depression.  Do you think that people should be allowed to make medical claims that St. John's Wort alleviates the symptoms of depression in selling it? Do you think that doctors should be prescribing it as medicine? I think neither of those things, and I would criticize any purveyor or doctor who did so.  In my judgment, that's classic CAM.  My opinion of medical marijuana is exactly the same, and for exactly the same reasons.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 02:11:38 AM by The Latinist »
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I think the St. John's Wort analogy is weak since it's sold as a supplement, not regulated and prescribed as a medicine. A better analogy IMO is off-label prescription.

Can cannabis even pass FDA approval before it's rescheduled? I was under the impression it was not, which means that unlike SJW it is not even eligible for testing.
 
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Offline The Latinist

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I think the St. John's Wort analogy is weak since it's sold as a supplement, not regulated and prescribed as a medicine.

No, the analogy is perfect.  St. John's Wort isn't allowed to be prescribed as a medicine because it hasn't gone through the rigorous testing required to prove its safety and efficacy. We don't let people make medical claims for it, and doctors don't prescribe it (and I would argue they should not even recommend it).  And marijuana should be in exactly the same position: an herb for which there's some evidence and which a lot of people say helps them but which we don't let anyone call medicine.

Quote
Can cannabis even pass FDA approval before it's rescheduled? I was under the impression it was not, which means that unlike SJW it is not even eligible for testing.

As I said in my very first post in this thread, the fact that it may be difficult or impossible properly to test the safety and efficacy of marijuana or its components under its current scheduling does not make personal anecdotes into scientific evidence.  Nor does it make a few studies into FDA approval. Nor should it change the amount of evidence we demand before we let things be called and prescribed as medicine.

Look, I'm all for legalizing recreational marijuana. I'm all for people being able to buy it and use it as a home remedy if they think it works.  I'm all for studying its medicinal potential.  I'm all for drug companies isolating the compounds in it that work, refining them, testing them, and licensing them as drugs.  What I'm not okay with is the government legitimizing unproven herbal remedies with special legal exceptions that allow them to be treated as, advertised as, and prescribed medicines when they haven't gone through the same regulatory requirements that every other medication has to
« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 02:54:25 AM by The Latinist »
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Offline mindme

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Offline Jeremy's Sea

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Yeah, it's really a catch 22 under our regressive drug laws. People want it, it does work in cases so it would be nice to see it rise to legitimacy and shed some of its stigma. Until that happens, since the downside seems so small, we will just have to keep collecting anecdotal evidence and less than ideal clinical trials. I'm not on the cures cancer bandwagon by any stretch, but I have seen it have some amazing efficacy in the areas you'd expect to see efficacy.
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Offline Crash

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Could you make a video about it? I'd much prefer to watch what you have to say than to read the words to the comments you had typed.  ::)

  Are you serious?  Make a video?  I think words in text form are a more concise way to get an idea across.  You can cite links too.   Your video was not worth watching.  It was a kitchen sink of skeptic tropes addressed to some imaginary straw man with bad music and distracting hoo haas.  Your topic suggested that you wanted to discuss MM.  Your video had nothing to do with MM. 
  Just what credentials do you actually need to be a MM specialist?  Do you need a degree of any kind? 
  I know I'm late here in this thread and you haven't been here in a while too.  What's up? 

Offline Johnny Slick

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I think the real issue here with MM is that it's not really the end game, is it? We don't prescribe opium to people to relieve their pain (or stop a really bad cough for that matter), we prescribe drugs distilled from opium that bring out the components that relax muscles and make the brain process pain differently while (hopefully) eliminating some of the components that increase addiction (this has not been terribly successful but still). We don't prescribe birch bark for headaches, we prescribe aspirin. And once marijuana is studied in depth, we'll likely prescribe some kind of pill or something that hones in on the exact chemicals that reduce nausea or what have you. *Not* a dime bag, *not* a special brownie, a few pills, which by the way might themselves continue to stay very, very controlled even if marijuana is made legal down the line (I think of codeine as a cough syrup, which you absolutely can *not* buy over the counter because, well, it's still close enough to actual opium that it can make you reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally happy if you want it to).

(As an aside I find it *extremely* unlikely that when the time comes to where THC or whatever the cocktail of ingredients used in the marijuana-type drug come in, that it'll continue to be something that you smoke. Smoking is a pretty bad lung irritant already - just the act of smoking might be enough to cause cancer, no matter what it is you're putting into your lungs - and what's more, it's an *extremely* inefficient method of drug delivery. If memory serves, if you take the tobacco from one cigarette and instead of smoking it you unroll it, dump it into a cup of hot water, and let it steep for an hour or so, the resulting tea will contain enough nicotine to kill the average human something like 3 times over. You will also not be able to take more than like a sip of it without gagging*, but in some alternative universe if you were able to get all of that down... well, you wouldn't be able to get all of it down because you would die a horrible death part of the way through. The moral of this story isn't "don't make tobacco tea" - that should really go without saying - it's to highlight how amazingly *bad* smoking is at getting chemicals into your body).

I have to say that I really, really don't like the "back door" aspect of medical marijuana. I agree with everyone in here who says that marijuana ought to be legal. It's pretty mild compared to a lot of drugs out there, including alcohol, it doesn't, like, cause psychosis in a massive proportion of its users like some drugs do, and, well, when it comes to this stuff I tend to err on the side of allowing individuals rather than the government to decide if something is right for them or not. That being said, there are many ways that the medical angle could hurt legalization rather than help it. First and foremost, what if people figure out that there are better nausea suppressants / etc. out there that don't cause a side effect of (see potential side effect in as-yet-undiscovered concoction derived from marijuana)? That's basically the story of cocaine, which went from being used fairly widely as a stimulant, a means of combatting toothaches, and (ironically) a way of getting people off of opiate addiction to basically being completely unused by the medical community at all once they figured out that cocaine is itself really addictive and there are other things out there that do the tasks that cocaine performed better. If anything, exploring the medical uses helped *cause* the substance to be more restricted - at one point in time, Coca Cola was called what it was called because it contained cocaine (well, coca leaf extract but it amounts to the same thing)!

The Pandora's Box issue is a pretty big one IMO as a persuasive tool but the core issue for me is just that marijuana used for recreational purposes is just not marijuana / its subcomponents used for medicinal purposes and you just plain should not combine support for the one with the other. They're not the same thing, period. FWIW I think there's actually a pretty decent argument to be made for opium - and I don't mean heroin or codeine here, I mean straight up opium poppies - to also be legalized for recreational purposes but we can't have that conversation in large part because people decided long ago to link recreational usage with medicinal.

*Ughhhhhhhh don't ask me how I know this! Let's just say that my dad, for a time, took to using old Starbuck's cups to dump his ends into, and, well, sometimes when it's like 6 in the morning and you have been awake all night because you worked the night shift at the radio station all weekend and you still have to go to class for 8 hours, it's hard to tell which cup is your dad's faux ashtray and which is the cup you just bought on your way home to grab your books. WELP I GUESS I JUST TOLD YOU ANYWAY
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