Pubdate: Tue, 24 Jun 2014
Source: Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY)
Copyright: 2014 Advance Publications
Author: Gene Tinelli


To the Editor:

An interesting biopsychosocial insight that should not be lost in the 
focus on the medical uses of marijuana:

"The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full 
utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, 
sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly 
mad and dangerous world." -- Carl Sagan.

Anthropologists and archeologists have documented the prehistoric and 
historic use of what could be called "spirit molecules." It was an 
inherent part of shamanistic medicine. Cannabinoids are part of this 
herbal therapy tradition.

Sagan's comments on our "increasingly mad and dangerous world" are 
tragically accurate and we are becoming more impotent in stopping 
this death spiral. Anything that attenuates this course should be 
looked at with awe, wonder and good research. Instead, these 
compounds are made illegal.

As the Roman Senator Cicero said two millennia ago, "Cui bono -- with 
benefits to whom?" Interesting question. Who benefits from this 
increasingly mad and dangerous world?

We need a new and improved definition of medicine that includes a 
strong advocacy in three areas: One, there is only one race - the 
human race. Two, to survive, we have to start realizing that our 
context is the 21st century. Our thinking must adapt. Any compounds, 
behaviors, policies and/or institutions that enhance serenity and 
insight, sensitivity and fellowship should be promoted, not 
stigmatized. Three, we need species values to balance our isolation 
and "not in my backyard" mentality.

To survive, we must pay attention to another interesting 
biopsychosocial insight:

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most 
intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change" -- Charles Darwin.

Our goals as a species must be much more transcendent than our petty 
ethnic, religious, cultural and national divisions, no matter how 
good the passion feels. Diversity gives our species strength and 
resiliency against severe catastrophes, e.g., meteor strikes, a sea 
level rise of six feet, increasing extinctions of other species, etc. 
However diversity taken to an extreme, as it is now, not only 
produces suffering and scientific and cultural ignorance, but also 
poses an actual risk to our species.

To my way of thinking, the prescience of both Sagan and Darwin, 
especially in this area, cannot be denied.

Gene Tinelli, M.D.

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