Worth Repeating: DEA Faces Suit For Blocking Marijuana Research

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Montana Biotech
U.S. federal government-issued cannabis

Welcome to Room 420, where your instructor is Mr. Ron Marczyk and your subjects are wellness, disease prevention, self actualization, and chillin’.

Worth Repeating

By Ron Marczyk, R.N.
Health Education Teacher (Retired)

DEA policy is a violation of the fundamental principles of the scientific method. Seventy-five years of bias must come to an end.
First, the backstory.
Jan 12, 2009:
“With one foot out the door, the Bush administration has once again found time to undermine scientific freedom,” said Allen Hopper, litigation director of the American Civil Liberties Union Drug Law Reform Project. “In stubbornly retaining the unique government monopoly over the supply of research marijuana over the objections of DEA’s own administrative law judge, the Bush administration has effectively blocked the proper regulatory channels that would allow the drug to become a wholly legitimate prescription medication.”
“The federal government’s official policy is that marijuana has no medical benefit.”
The American Civil Liberties Union said in a legal brief that the DEA’s politics are keeping 
cannabis-based medicines off shelves.

“But the government is unwilling to put its policy to the test of science: instead, the government 
exercises monopoly control over the nation’s supply of marijuana that may be used for scientific 
purposes, by allowing an agency (NIDA) whose very mission is to only explore the negative 
consequences and the abuse of marijuana.
If your starting premise is marijuana only has negative effects, what do you think you are going to find?
This starting point bias will slant the methology (how the experiment is set up) to produce what you want the study to show. This phenomena is called the confirmation bias which invalids the study due to this overarching “Group Think” which will not move against their own self interests , science be dammed!
In  peer review, this is called the “confirmation bias.”
This is when researchers start with a conclusion that they want the results to support, and then go searching only for evidence that supports their predetermined  idea and “cherry pick” the data that supports their ideology.
Many types of cognitive bias exist.   
Cognitive bias is a general term that is used to describe many observer effects in the human mind, some of which can lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, or illogical interpretation. A cognitive bias is faulty reasoning that normally takes place at the beginning of a study, with how the hypothesis is worded, as untested assumptions or ideas that are treated as facts. 
The DEA saying that they don’t research for the positive effect of marijuana, only the negative is like saying in baseball we are only going to count the hits of one team only, and only this team is allowed to win.
Another bias at work is a “conflict of interest bias” that is anti-science, and it violates the fundamental freedom of free inquiry, the bedrock of science.
The confirmation bias leads to the “framing bias, “which means to always  ask or “frame” the question or hypothesis in the negative as your default position.
​All research hypotheses are framed and primed to seek the negative. The starting assumption of every study is that marijuana is dangerous and always causes great harm, and this point is beyond question.

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Reefer Madness

That is NOT how the Scientific Method functions.
Above all, it holds most sacred curiosity, wonder, inquiry, questioning and challenges. Using critical thinking skills is the very essence of free thought in science. Science is the wave, always in motion, never the static point.

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​We from the medical cannabis perspective are making the positive claim that cannabis is medicine thatmeans by the protocols of the science method the burden of proof falls to us to proof our claim.
 
We accept the challenge!
But first we have to start with real cannabis. If the DEA supplies the cannabis, they control the outcome.
The Scientific Method demands third party validation, from independent testing, you know the truth.

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​Denying that cannabis holds great promise as a treatment, cure, and preventive with all the strong evidence that has gathered in the last ten years is like trying to believe with all your might that the earth is flat, or is the center of the universe around which everything revolves.
People once believed those ideas, but science proved them incorrect.
We in the cannabis culture understand how Galileo must have felt when he dared to challenge dogma.
Dogma never updates itself; its story is frozen in time, like the 1937 reefer madness dogma.

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Reefer Madness

​Dogma is more of a doctrine that lacks scientific evidence than science, held by a group or 
organization as an article of faith not to be questioned. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the believers. And non-believers are not welcome. 
As counterintuitive as it sounds to your brain, the opposite is true: cannabis is medicine. The story we’ve been told for the last 75 years is not true. Cannabis saves lives! And strong evidence exists that it may help to cure cancer, as this 1974 study shows, before it was destroyed.
To deny ill people medical relief can be considered a violation of medical experimental ethics
by blocking new research which may treat, cure or prevent disease and save lives. This has 
happened in the past.
Perhaps you have read the story about Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) suing the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)  over University of Massachusetts professor Dr. Lyle Craker.
Denying Dr. Craker a license to grow cannabis for medical research after ten years of stonewalling, the DEA was hoping he would just go away, and even after the DEA’s own internal judge ruled in his favor, the judge’s decision was overruled by the head of the DEA.
The whole back story can also be found here at “DEA Faces Federal Lawsuit for Blocking Marijuana Research.” Thanks, Scott. 
The case also involves MAPS wanting to study US veterans who suffered from PTSD and who were resistant to standard treatment (antidepressants), but who anecdotally claimed that cannabis provided them with great relief.
Professor Lyle Craker is known for proposing that medical grade marijuana be available for scientific studies into its possible health benefits. The marijuana available today for studies is too weak and worthless for any kind of medical study. He has been named in many newspapers on this subject. The federal government refuses to give him a license to grow medical grade marijuana. On April 29th, 2009, Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry wrote a letter to the Honorable David W. Ogden urging the Deputy Attorney General to delay a final decision on the application by Lyle E. Craker of the University of Massachusetts Amherst to produce research-grade marijuana for use in federally approved clinical trials.” Craker started in 2001 by submitting an application to the DEA as a marijuana manufacturer.

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The irony of the above letter is that Sen. Kennedy died of a glioma, a type of brain tumor for 
“The federal government’s official policy is that marijuana has no medical benefit,” but the government is unwilling to put its policy to the test of current day science:
“Instead, the government exercises monopoly control over the nation’s supply of marijuana that may be used for scientific purposes, by allowing an agency whose mission is to explore the consequences of the abuse of marijuana–the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)–to determine what research may go forward regarding marijuana’s beneficial medical uses. The result is that […] marijuana alone out of all potential medicines is subject to a special and obstructive process that places politics over science.”
As we come up to the 74th year of this self-inflicted wound called prohibition, it is time to expose it to sunlight.
Just last week, particle physicists may have proved that Einstein’s claim that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light may be wrong…. Interesting.
It’s OK to challenge Einstein’s evidence… but not the science behind prohibition?
Perhaps it is time we examine the very foundations of the scientific evidence that supports medical cannabis prohibition claims.
The scientific method demands frequent “reality checks” though peer review, and this outdated 1937 “Reefer Madness Syndrome” is long overdue for review. Dr. Craker would have the first, non-DEArelated, independent testing facility, and indirectly and informally serve the function of peer review of DEA claims.
Other cognitive biases supporting prohibition
Sunk Cost Bias: The sunk cost bias can be described as throwing good money after bad. If a large sum of money were spent over a long period of time with no net gain, the cognitive dissonance, or the discomfort of admitting that your original idea was wrong is more painful than squandering more resources in the future.
Since the 1960’s the US has wasted billions of dollars and ruined many lives, but can’t come to terms with the fact that it was wasted, so they just dig the hole deeper.
Group Think Bias: Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus without critical evaluation of alternative ideas or viewpoints (i.e., “yes men” who don’t want to disagree with the boss). The goal is more to fit into a culture than to practice critical thinking and to challenge the status quo. The nail th
at sticks out gets hammered down.
Medical science is light years ahead of 1937. So again, why don’t we just test it once and for all using 2011 technology?
The only problem is in this game is that DEA owns the baseball, and doesn’t want anybody to touch it or use it, because it is theirs.
The DEA is censoring experimental cannabis research using a circular thinking bias as a rationale that when exposed to critical thinking appears unhinged, as in following examples:

So — the circular reasoning of the DEA is censoring experimental cannabis research.
Cannabis is a Schedule I class drug, which means it has no medical benefit, so we can’t test it for positive effects.
Well, if you haven’t tested it as a medicine, how do you know it will not work?
Because Schedule I has already told me the correct answer, I will not test for positive effects, only negative; we will be counting all the misses and none of the hits.
In addition, we will also not allow anyone else to test it for positive effects; we dictate what type of research will be carried out, making sure only the “right” research get funded. And no independent appeal committee exists; that is what this lawsuit is all about.
This is what happens when you put lawmen, who are stuck in their own dogma and who don’t  understand how the scientific method works or how ideas and information evolve, in charge of science.
When a drug is tested using the scientific method, the researcher has to go out on a limb and make a prediction as to what the data will support.
I support Dr. Craker’s hypothesis as the correct one. My prediction is that cannabis, if given in a non-DEAexperiment, using double-blind protocol, using tested , inspected, non-DEA supplied cannabis, will show significant improvement in symptomatic relief across a wide range of common illnesses and diseases,primarily in neurodegenerative diseases, brain inflammation, and PTSD. 
How can I be so sure? The US government itself provided the evidence in the medical cannabis patent it already holds! The Department of Health and Human Services says that cannabis is a medicine; the DEA says it is not. Which agency is right?
 
Patent No. U.S. 6,630,507 B1 (Source [PDF])
Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services (Washington, D.C.)

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Patent Title: Cannabinoids act as antioxidants and neuroprotectants

In science, rules exist to find and expose faulty reasoning and to expose bias.
Why do we have to do this?
1. The first principle of research is not to fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.
2. Humans have a strong drive to be right, which produces overt or unconscious bias.
3. Researchers who claim positive results are rewarded with atte
ntion and funding.
4. Positive results please the individuals funding the study, who many times have a financial interest in the outcome.
5. To prevent ideology from driving science. 
6. The scientific method requires claims by any group to be duplicated by second-party researchers, which acts as a reality check update, to determine if the original claim is still valid.
Just as baseball is governed by rules, so are scientific experiments.
Results and conclusions that are not peer reviewed by non in-house paid researchers have not 
finished the last step of the scientific method, called peer review. 
To make claims before they have been independently validated is a major violation of the 
scientific method…. you know, junk science.
Not only should Dr. Craker be given access to grow his own medical cannabis; hundreds of 
other eminently qualified researchers should also be granted the same privilege immediately. 
We have wasted too much time already.
An important petition on the official White House site:

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Ron Marczyk
Mr. Worth Repeating: Former NYPD cop, former high school health teacher, the unstoppable Ron Marczyk, R.N., Toke of the Town columnist

Editor’s note: Ron Marczyk is a retired high school health education teacher who taught Wellness and Disease Prevention, Drug and Sex Ed, and AIDS education to teens aged 13-17. He also taught a high school International Baccalaureate psychology course. He taught in a New York City public school as a Drug Prevention Specialist. He is a Registered Nurse with six years of ER/Critical Care experience in NYC hospitals, earned an M.S. in cardiac rehabilitation and exercise physiology, and worked as a New York City police officer for two years. Currently he is focused on how evolutionary psychology explains human behavior.

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