Pubdate: Thu, 30 Nov 2017
Source: Valley Voice, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 The Valley Voice
Author: Art Joyce


Reading the CBC News report, 'Associations call for ban on homegrown
weed in BC once it becomes legal,' I have to question the judgment of
the Doctors of BC, who default to pharmaceutical drugs quite
unquestioningly, yet challenge more natural modes of treatment such as
cannabis and homeopathy.

Cannabis cannot be tied to a single death or overdose. Meanwhile we
are experiencing an opioid crisis. The CDC noted in one report that:
"Among the more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2016,
the sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and
fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids) with over 20,000 overdose
deaths." According to news website Vox, "More Americans died of drug
overdoses in 2016 than died in the entirety of the Vietnam War - the
result of the US's opioid epidemic."

The Vox report highlights how drug companies convinced physicians to
treat chronic pain as a serious medical issue by prescribing the
pharmaceutical opioids they manufacture - a serious conflict of
interest. Narcotic painkiller OxyContin was among the 15 drugs most
often linked to death. Others include insulin, Vioxx, Remicade, and
Paxil. Vioxx was removed from the market in 2004, yet it too was
enthusiastically endorsed by the medical establishment when
introduced. The fentanyl crisis is only the tip of the iceberg where
the dangers of prescription drugs are concerned. Reports compiled by
the FDA between 1998 and 2005 found that dangerous side effects and
deaths from prescription and over--the-counter medications almost
tripled to nearly 90,000 incidents. According to the Journal of the
American Medical Association (JAMA) in 1998, prescription drugs kill
about 106,000 Americans each year - three times as many as are killed
by automobiles - making prescription drug death the! fourth leading
killer after heart disease, cancer and stroke. And that's just
American drug deaths.

I don't deny that there are issues for families with children, but
surely it's up to each parent to establish safe practices at home, not
the state. And surely Doctors of BC should be looking to fulfill an
educational role regarding safe cannabis use, not advocating for
restrictions of civil liberties. At that point, physicians are
overstepping their bounds to become health police, a role they are not
equipped to fulfill. I can understand landlords wanting some controls
over homegrown cannabis, especially in multiple-unit housing
complexes. But one size does not fit all. To call for a province-wide
ban on homegrown cannabis is first of all, excessive, and second,
doomed to failure. People will simply do so illegally, as they have
for decades now.

Meanwhile, not one of those over 100,000 deaths can be attributed to
cannabis, probably the least harmful substance in the entire
pharmacopeia. So why the antipathy toward cannabis on the part of the
mainstream medical establishment in BC? Our physicians need to get
with the times - and the research.

Art Joyce,

New Denver
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