Pubdate: Thu, 11 Feb 2016
Source: Independent  (UK)
Copyright: 2016 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.


Parliament Should Allow Doctors to Prescribe Cannabis

Those responsible for the Government's drug policies could not be 
accused of any exaggerated deference to the world of scientific 
papers, double-blind trials and laboratory-bound research. The 
Psychoactive Substances Bill - which outlaws anything likely to alter 
a user's mindset - was described in the New Scientist as one of the 
"stupidest, most dangerous and unscientific pieces of legislation 
ever conceived". It demonstrates Parliament moving in the opposite 
direction to the tonnage of evidence showing that draconian 
approaches to recreational drug use have failed.

Where campaigners may find the forces of political suspicion less 
monolithic is in the use of cannabis for medical purposes. Though in 
many US states this proved to be a prelude for broader legalisation, 
it should be considered on its own merits, and not merely as the thin 
end of the wedge. Two recent scientific surveys, considering more 
than 100 randomised, placebo-controlled trials, showed that marijuana 
proved useful in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, 
anorexia, Lou Gehrig's disease and epilepsy. It can reduce chronic 
pain levels by 30 per cent. To withhold a chemical that can benefit 
patients on the basis that it may be used recreationally is neither 
just nor logically consistent: morphine can be administered on the 
NHS in cases of extreme pain; why not allow cannabis to be used where 
the pain level may be lower but exposure to it has often lasted far longer?

Yesterday the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Drug Law Reform 
launched an inquiry into medical cannabis. Today brings the launch of 
"End our Pain", a campaign which calls for doctors to be allowed to 
prescribe cannabis. The APPG could reasonably cut to the chase and 
join in. Criminalising people who seek to reduce pain and suffering 
with cannabis is illogical, inhumane and thoroughly unscientific.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom