Category: Dispatches

The Official Definition of ‘Cannabis Abuse’

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association is known as “The Bible” of the profession. The DSM has a double purpose: it endows the field of Psychiatry with a facade of rigor and it facilitates billing.   The DSM defines and assigns a number to every ailment of the mind and spirit for which psychotherapists provide treatment, physicians prescribe medication, and insurance companies reimburse.  The first DSM, published in 1952, listed 106 disorders. By increasing the number of disorders and the broadness of the definitions over the years, the DSM authors —establishment psychiatrists with drug-company funding— have increased the number of...

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UCSF Conference March 11 —You’re Invited!

Jodi Duke of CORE (Cannabis Outreach & Education Network) confirms that the March 11 “Cannabis Research & History” conference at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus is open to the public and free (unless you’re a doctor or nurse getting Continuing Medical Education credits, in which case the cost is $75 and you register here).   The presentations start at noon in Byers Auditorium (4th St. off 16th St.). Anyone having a problem getting in can call Duke at 303-981-3507 or email her. She is the opposite of bureaucratic. Outreach, indeed! The line-up: 11:45 am  Introduction to CORE & UCSF 12 pm Jost...

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The Sweet Internationalism of Rick Steves

Rick Steves is a travel guide and writer who lives in Edmonds, Washington, and spends about 100 days abroad each year. His “Europe Through the Back Door” books and TV shows on PBS are familiar to millions of readers and viewers. In 2003 ago Allen St. Pierre of NORML noticed Steves’s name on the membership list and invited him to join the advisory board and to speak at the annual meeting. “Every time I come home I’m reminded that I’m coming back to the land that has the shortest vacations in the rich world,” Steves told NORML in 2003. “And the highest...

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‘Evidence-Based Medicine’ vs. Medicinal Cannabis

by Jack McCue, MD, will run in the print edition of O’Shaughnessy’s. We are posting it online because it is so pertinent to breaking news, notably the release of the NAS Report and the publication of clinical evidence by Sulak et al in Epilepsy & Behavior. Here is ‘Evidence-Based Medicine vs. Medicinal Cannabis laid out for the paper. And here are some excerpts: What is Evidence-Based Medicine? Beginning in the 1960s, an interest in how physicians made decisions developed into a scholarly discipline that employed insights from sophisticated statistical analyses, clinical epidemiology, epistemology, psychology, and economics.  The pioneers of Evidence-Based...

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Panel on NAS report now online —and outdated

The five-hour “Stakeholder Engagement Meeting” held February 21 to publicize the NAS Report on “The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids” has just been posted here. (The day after the meeting we ran a quick take on it.) The authors of the NAS report evaluated what they called the “strength of the evidence” regarding the health benefits and risks of cannabis as medicine. By far the strongest evidence, from their perspective, are randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials (RCTs). Clinical evidence —the findings and observations of physicians who monitor cannabis use by patients— was ignored completely in the NAS Report. It...

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