The Column the Washington Post Refused to Run

On Oct. 20, the Washington Post published an inaccurate and arguably libelous anti-medical marijuana diatribe by Charles Lane on its Web site. After a deluge of complaints, the version now posted is cleaned up slightly: shorn of an offensive reference to Supreme Court medical marijuana plaintiff Angel Raich as a hypochondriac and with a feeble “clarification” appended. But it’s still a cascade of distortions and inaccuracies. Since the Post declined to print MPP’s reply, we thought we’d share it with you:

Setting the Record Straight on Medical Marijuana
by
Bruce Mirken and Mike Meno

Charles Lane’s column, “Medical marijuana is an insult to our intelligence,” (Oct. 20) was riddled with inaccuracies. Had Mr. Lane bothered to review the medical literature, he would have found not “hokum” and “snake oil,” as he calls it, but a small mountain of published, peer-reviewed research documenting that medical marijuana is a safe, effective, and sometimes even life-saving medication for many seriously ill Americans.

That’s not our opinion, it’s the opinion of a huge array of respected medical and public health organizations, including the American College of Physicians, American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, American Academy of HIV Medicine, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and many others. In 1999, for instance, the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine reported that “nausea, appetite loss, pain, and anxiety are all afflictions of wasting, and all can be mitigated by marijuana.”

In a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, the Lymphoma Foundation of America, HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and other top experts stated, “For certain persons the medical use of marijuana can literally mean the difference between life and death. At a minimum, marijuana provides some seriously ill patients the gift of relative health and the ability to function as productive members of society.”

And last year, the American College of Physicians – 124,000 doctors of internal medicine – stated, “Evidence not only supports the use of medical marijuana in certain conditions
but also suggests numerous indications for cannabinoids,” marijuana’s unique, active components.

A series of recent clinical trials has documented marijuana’s ability to relieve what is known as neuropathic pain – pain stemming from damage to the nerves. This type of pain plagues millions of Americans suffering from HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and other ailments, and is notoriously resistant to conventional pain drugs. Marijuana has been unequivocally shown to safely relieve this type of pain, even in many cases where conventional painkillers have failed.

While it is true that the Food and Drug Administration has not approved marijuana as a prescription medicine, the reason for that is political, not scientific. The federal government has maintained a stranglehold on medical marijuana research, preventing the types of studies that would be needed for FDA approval. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts are still fighting the federal government for the right to set up a research facility designed to move medical marijuana through the FDA approval process.

Finally, a word must be said about Mr. Lane’s reprehensible attack on Supreme Court plaintiff Angel Raich, who, he says, “might consider a consultation for hypochondria, or perhaps marijuana dependency” – apparently because anyone with multiple medical problems must surely be making them up. Actually, the Court’s majority opinion noted that Raich and fellow plaintiff Diane Monson had made “strong arguments that they will suffer irreparable harm, because, despite a congressional finding to the contrary, marijuana does have valid therapeutic purposes.” Raich is having highly risky surgery October 28 – surgery that her doctors had originally ruled out because it is too dangerous — because her brain tumor has now become life-threatening.

There is indeed much hokum in the medical marijuana debate, but it is coming from the opponents of medical marijuana, not the supporters.

24 thoughts on “The Column the Washington Post Refused to Run”

  1. Not to step on your blog here bruce. I just watched Bill O rielly debating drug legalize atio with Greta and anothe panelist. These people are confused, they think if drugs (or cannabis) are legalized crime will move in.Wholly crap! They really dont know? Bill and his panelist need to look out the window and see the drug dealers and cartel comtrolled sales!

    Ok any way at least the idea is being discussed more on news out lets. Hey even bill said he would consider de-crim on cannabis.

    Short on time Bruce. Will read you story later.

  2. I just saw Charles Lane article, and the comment section was very interesting. I’ve counted only eight replies supporting his views and that is less than 1%. Most of the replies are both for medical and legaization, and they are very good.

  3. How is it many other “medications” don’t need justify their effectiveness? I used to only use mj for seizures. I just finished probation for production of marijuana and haven’t completely returned to this status since I have a two year old [ this is not (yet;) legal in the state of Illinois. ] I recently was taken off a seizure medication called Lamotrigine because it gave me Steven-Johnson Syndrome– a dangerous life-threatening illness. The new medication Levetiracetam they prescribed me came with a pharmaceutical insert about the drug. The opening statement stated that, “It is not known exactly how Levetiracetam prevents seizures…” Turns out the Lamotrigine I took also was not certain to it’s seizure preventative properties.

    Try taking that excuse to the bank with marijuana….”don’t know, it just works.”

  4. Personally I find this who charade an insult to intelligence. No offense to anyone here, but I found the presidents new policy offensive as well. I understand it better to “utilize our time and money better…”, but the fact that this is still being tip-toed around I find childish. It is wrong to have it prohibited and I will not thank them for insulting me playing word games. Then again, I’ve never been a big fan of the “It could be worse Syndrome many seem to have contracted.

  5. Thank you Angela Renee, I’m not insulted in the least. I have severe neuropthy and deal with extreme pain 24 hours a day. I take Lyrica as one of my pain medicines. They give me the maximum dose of 600mg per day. It too is not known how it works for pain, as it is an anti-seizure drug. It helps just enough that I can’t stand to miss a dose, and they often mess up my prescription or run out of it for days at a time. They won’t let me fill my prescription ahead of time, because they say there is a chance I will abuse it. When I was in Fresno, CA where I was electrocuted and all my problems started, a guy let me try his medical marijuana and it stopped the pain “in it’s footsteps” so to speak. When the next random drug test came up, I told my boss I had tried medical marijuana while I was in California, and he said not to worry about it. I took the test and they never said anything about it. My doctor said if it helped me then he would recommend I use it, but he couldn’t tell me where I could get it. I told him I was going to Phoenix to work in a few days and my company didn’t allow marijuana use and would fire me if I tested positive for it. a few months later a doctor in Kentucky did an evaluation for the insurance company and said I had Diabetes and my pain was from years of nerve damage. I told him the pain started the same day that I was exposed to 300 amps of electricity and he said I was a liar because there wasn’t any burns on my body. I explained to him that I was wet from head to toe and that electricity doesn’t always leave burns when your wet. He said I was a good liar because I knew to much about the types of injuries caused by electrical shocks and was trying to commit insurance fraud and my pain was probably not that bad. After the company got his report they found a reason to fire my wife and I the same day. They said we were not doing our jobs and that was why they were letting us go. We had been awarded by the company and they praised our work and even made my wife the trainer for the Lowes Home Improvement Store employees in thirty stores. They promoted me to District Manager for thirty six stores. We never missed a day of work in four years and always finnished our projects ahead of schedule, and above standard quality. Today I don’t trust anyone. Together my wife and I were making over ninety grand a year. Now I can’t work and my wife makes ten dollars an hour. Life sort of sucks. It’s hard not to end it all, but I have faith things will get better soon.

  6. Im feed up with these media thugs baggering and bullying our sick humanbeings. When is someone going to give these bullies what they deserve; a beat down. It is deplorable for our congress, media, and law enforecment to contiue this behavior. It all makes me sad for our country. What have we become?

  7. Very well stated.

    By refusing to publish MPP response to Mr. Lane’s column. It shows how much the opponents have no intention to o have a civil discussion on the merits and facts of medical marijuana and only want to force their own closed-minded views and morals on the public.

  8. Finally, a rebutt

    Bruce, It would be a real pleasure to see you go on the OReilly Show and debate that moron. Oh wait, he never gives anyone with a dissenting opinion a chance to speak.
    Never mind

  9. All them scientists and doctors are lying…. they just wanna get high…. i think our police force and drug czar know whats best for us!

    I hate living in one of the most ignorant industrialized countries. For some reason people trust the government and police on this issue, yet if you are not talking about marijuana at all they will be the first to tell you that they dont trust the government at all and think the government lies all the time. Funny huh? I wish it were.

  10. This is a well written response, thank you for posting it. If we could only get the Post to publish it…

  11. Beautifully written piece Bruce and Mike. I’ve copied, pasted and printed it to add to the file.

    And Angela Renee #8 – Agree with you on the President’s memo thingy.
    R.O.E. – I’ve noticed Bill O rielly flipping on a good number of topics recently. He isn’t worth watching too often though and I can barely stomach his arrogance.

  12. OH and if you look up “The New Republic”, “Hacker Heaven”, or “Stephen Glass”, who wrote the latter for the former with this guy, Charles Lane, as his editor… almost everything he ever wrote contained fabrication or was totally made up, and it went on for at least 37 of 44 articles he wrote before Lane caught it.
    A little slow on the uptake?

  13. Hang in there Bud from KY, one of my other disabilities from the military left me with chronic pain, so I can relate somewhat. Mj was great for easing that as well.
    I’m familiar with my prescriptions being messed up as well. Be careful with your dose schedule. I was told “unofficially’ my nearly fatal allergic reaction was most likely due to the VA messing up my prescription and my having to miss over a week then resume.
    Never is hard to end it all, but I’d rather go out with a smile, not in pain. Besides, with this issue of prohibition and every other gut wrenching idocracies I am forced to endure…I looking forward to seeing those who deserve it get theirs.

  14. Bud, your story was incredibly sad to head. However, it sounds like you have great perseverance, a strong work ethic, and some real skills. I hope you’ll be able to get back in your feet after your persecution for using “unapproved” medicine. You should stick in there for the brighter days to come.

    As for the Washington Post, I’ve always considered it a garbage publication. As a libertarian, it’s always come off as the Fox News of the left.

    I’m glad the MPP exists to counter the junk with the truth!

  15. Lea:
    I have to agree. His arrogance dont do him any good. He talk talk talks, then when its his guests’ turn hes rude and interupts them. Hard to be balanced when that happens….I dont care who his guest is…..Dont interupt Bill, I would like to hear them too!

    Stand up guy but sometimes a pinhead.

  16. Thanks R.O.E. for the response. I read what you write and deeply appreciate your knowledge and insights.

    Fox News is not evil by the way people, get a grip. If you’re hearing critical things about them it’s, ah, well maybe it could just be because the government! Again, I’m registered Republican and support Legalization of all drugs as well as many other issues that MSM discredits in the name of “right wing Republicans”.
    Time to get past all that, it’s just another devious way to divide us.
    The war on drugs, uh, the war on the people, uh the war on marijuana, does not fall into left, right, center, conservative, liberal, socialist and so on. Get your priorities straight.

    With me it’s God First and then Legalization of Marijuana.
    (and don’t bible thump me please, I’m solid and don’t need to hear it. The ones that need to hear it are those who tout religion when it come to Prohibition). Thank you.

  17. I sent a reference to CNN about this, They may or may not pick up on this but it was worth a try to at least let other Media see this Washington Post Ignorance.

  18. It is Unconstitutional and inhumane to deprive people of treatment that works for them. What part of that can’t prohibitionists and their ilk seem to grasp?

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