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Surgeon General

There is a new surgeon general, and Kevin Sabet approves:

Congratulations to the new @Surgeon_General Vivek Murthy, who opposes marijuana. “I don’t recommend marijuana.” http://t.co/TB0FMuQxoy

Marijuana’s a no-no, says desi Surgeon General nominee

Dr Vivek H Murthy (bottom left), President Obama’s nominee for the United States Surgeon General, believes the jury is still out on the medical benefits of marijuana and hence he wouldn’t prescribe it to his patients. Furthermore, if he had kids, he would advise them to stay away from it. […]

Murthy acknowledged that “this is a very important issue” in many states and noted that some of his patients too had spoken to him on the efficacy of marijuana.

“This is an important public health issue,” he noted, but asserted, “I wouldn’t prescribe medical marijuana myself.”

Murthy said, “In my estimation, while there is anecdotal evidence of benefits we hear about from cancer doctors and other physicians about medical marijuana, I agree with the AMA (American Medical Association) and other organiastions, that we need more information about the proven indications of medical marijuana as well as safe doses and the risks and the side effects, before we can safely prescribe it for medical purposes.”

“Just like other drugs,” he said, “I don’t recommend marijuana and I don’t think it’s a good habit to use marijuana.”

Murthy added, “If I had kids, I would tell them not to use it.”

Asked if he would use his bully pulpit as surgeon general to get this message out to the public, he said, “What I would do is — as I was mentioning earlier — I believe we need more information on marijuana.”

That doesn’t sound like opposition so much as it does an attempt to walk some kind of political line. The “I can’t decide without more information” response is not only getting old, but since there actually is so much information out there, it makes the speaker sound stupid and uninformed.

Of course, there are drugs prescribed and recommended all the time about which we have far less information than we do about marijuana.

But maybe Dr. Murthy is some kind of radical who actually opposes all drugs, including pharmaceuticals, too…

“Just like other drugs,” he said, “I don’t recommend marijuana…”

Hmmm… appears he hasn’t even really figured out the definition of the word “drugs.”

The Surgeon General position has always been political, and rarely relevant. It appears that this may be more of the same.

Now and then, however, we’ve had someone actually step up in the position.

“The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS — or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day.” – M. Jocelyn Elders

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44 comments to Surgeon General

  • Frank W.

    He’ll turn out to be a spineless Pharmapuppet, or else Obama wouldn’t have nominated him.

  • Dante

    Who cares what some government stooge says?

    Do the facts agree with him? No.
    Do we believe him? No.
    Does anyone else believe him? Probably very few.

    After several recent examples of epic dishonesty, most Americans (and the rest of the world) now automatically assume that our “public servants” continually lie to us for their own selfish benefit. This is just one more example of that.

    So let him talk. Just like Cramer on CNBC – people will assume that whatever he says is the opposite of correct.

  • Jean Valjean

    From Joclyn Elders’ wiki page:

    Views on drug legalization[edit]Elders drew fire – and censure from the Clinton administration – when she suggested that legalizing drugs might help reduce crime and that the idea should be studied. On December 15, 1993, around one week after making these comments, charges were filed against her son Kevin, for selling cocaine in an incident involving undercover officers, four months prior. Elders believes the incident was a frame-up and the timing of the charges was designed to embarrass her and the president.[4] Kevin Elders was convicted, and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.[5] He appealed his conviction to the Arkansas Supreme Court, and that court reaffirmed the conviction. The court held that Mr. Elders failed to show that he was entrapped into making the narcotics sale.[6] There was no further appeal.

    Our spineless president will not be falling into the same trap Bill Clinton ended up in when he appointed a drug reformer to the SG post.

  • Howard

    “…I agree with the AMA (American Medical Association) and other organizations, that we need more information about the proven indications of medical marijuana as well as safe doses and the risks and the side effects, before we can safely prescribe it for medical purposes.”

    How disingenuous. The AMA’s financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry completely negates their supposed “need for more information” regarding cannabis. Big Pharma’s loss of revenue fear-mode is in high gear with respect to cannabis. How else should their lap dogs respond?

    Dr. Murthy might as well be nominated as Milquetoast in Chief for his response. What a joke.

  • Hit the General or is it Surgeon with this:

    Cannabis cures cancer. Cancer kills 586,000 Americans every year. Every Prohibitionist is complicit in mass murder.

    • Randy

      If cannabis were unknown, and bioprospectors were suddenly to find it in some remote mountain crevice, its discovery would no doubt be hailed as a medical breakthrough. Scientists would praise its potential for treating everything from pain to cancer, and marvel at its rich pharmacopoeia—many of whose chemicals mimic vital molecules in the human body.

      From The Economist – April 27, 2006

      http://www.economist.com/node/6849915

      Dr. Murthy might want to get himself up to speed on the issue.

  • claygooding

    The people want more research,,the President wants more research,,the Reform Committee wants more research,,the Judicial Committee wants more research,,the AMA wants more research,,the Epilepsy Assc. wants more research.,the National Cancer Inst. wants more research..state legislators want more research.

    The DEA/ONDCP/DOJ doesn’t want research,,,,NO research allowed.

  • NorCalNative

    “IN NOTHING DO MEN MORE NEARLY APPROACH THE GODS THAN IN GIVING HEALTH TO MEN.” Cicero

    Too bad then that in the United States, and many other countries, so-called EVIDENCE-BASED medicine a.k.a. allopathic medicine decided that evidence is NOT important, but BIG PHARMA cash and influence IS!

    When I talk about “EVIL HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT,” this is exactly what I’m referring to. Men and women who are elevated to god-like status and who have turned their backs on their professional responsibilities.

    We expect plumbers to know how to fix our pipes. We expect an electrician to fix our wiring. We expect a garbage man to take our garbage away. But we DON’T expect an so-called “evidence-based” profession to you know, actually look and study NEW EVIDENCE?

    In what kind of world is that okay and makes sense?

    Politicized medicine is the province of authoritarian assholes. I’m getting really tired of losing our democracy and rights to authoritarian assholes.

    Sanjay Gupta was in consideration for Surgeon General at one time. Based on his “NEW” outlook on cannabis he would have been a good one.

  • Servetus

    Dr. Vivek Murthy’s nomination for Surgeon General was held up by the NRA because Murthy tweeted “…guns are a health issue ”. I suppose one could say lead poisoning is a health issue, but shooting a gun isn’t the same as smoking a cigarette, or acquiring ebola. Murthy tosses science out the window merely to make a point.

    Surgeon General Murthy used bad medical analogies about guns to bolster his political credentials with the Obama administration and other Democrats. His views on marijuana are strictly political as well. The opinions are likely intended to please VP Joe Biden who wants tighter gun restrictions, and whose political reputation has been that of a Grand Inquisitor seeking to persecute or eliminate drug consumers.

    Vivek Murthy is no Dr. Everett Koop, and he’s no Joycelyn Elders, either. Given his previous political behavior, it’s difficult to believe Murthy will step out of his political cocoon long enough to rescue Americans from the social disease otherwise known as prohibition. We can expect to see more of the same gutless, neglectful approach to the health hazards and harm enhancement created by prohibitionists that typifies his new keepers in their ongoing drug war.

  • Deep Dish

    “I agree with the AMA (American Medical Association) and other organizations, that we need more information about the proven indications of medical marijuana as well as safe doses and the risks and the side effects, before we can safely prescribe it for medical purposes.”

    Hmmm, so what does he think about one out of three drugs being approved by the FDA with just one clinical trial? Doesn’t the scientific method require independent replication? Maybe that partly explains the brain damage of prohibitionists—they actually use the medicines they approve.

  • DdC

    Quack, quack, quack!!!

    “We have spent over a trillion dollars trying to eradicate the world’s most beneficial plant off the face of the earth. Imagine what a better world this would be if that money had been spent on treatment, education and studying the medical benefits of marijuana.”
    — Steve Hager – High Times Editor (1988 – 2003)

    Report: Federal Monopoly Obstructs Medical Marijuana Research

    “The results of the study are predictable, so no one should be surprised! Not one of the medical schools surveyed had a department of endocannabinoid science or an ECS director. None of them taught the endocannabinoid science as an organized course. Only 21 of the 157 schools surveyed had the ECS mentioned in any course. 21/157 = 13.3% In the United States of America, only 13% of the medical schools surveyed teach the endocannabinoid science to our future doctors.”
    ~ Survey of the Endocannabinoid System in Medical Schools”

    Who’s Really Fighting Legal Weed
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/1974
    3/4th of a Century of Gossip and Gutter Science
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/sreply/932
    A Very Lucrative Evil Hoax
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/sreply/936

    “Marijuana is beneficial to many patients”
    Jocelyn Elders, USA Surgeon General

    • DdC

      Why science hasn’t yet proved to the US government that marijuana isn’t as dangerous as heroin http://qz.com/310862 via @qz

      Many scientists say there is little basis to put marijuana in that category, and the DEA’s stance that marijuana has no medicinal use has been widely rebuked in recent years. But marijuana’s dangers and uses have not been definitively established within the scientific community, and that’s partly because of the very limited research done on the subject. Paradoxically, the drug’s schedule 1 status has hamstrung exactly the marijuana research necessary to change its classification.

      Marijuana: the law vs. 12 million people
      Life magazine Oct 31, 1969. 25-35
      http://www.erowid.org/plants/cannabis/cannabis_magazine1.shtml

      Should it be legalized? “soon we will know”
      by DR. JAMES L. GODDARD

      Man has used marijuana both socially and medicinally for several thousands of years and yet today there is little scientific knowledge of its dangers or merits. In spite of our lack of knowledge, an estimated 12 million Americans have used the drug in recent years. Now we are in a near crisis caused by ignorance and the blanket of misinformation which governmental agencies have used to cover their ineptitudes.

      In the case of marijuana, we will know in a very few years how harmful it is or is not. If it turns out to be relatively harmless, we will be embarrassed by harsh laws that made innocent people suffer.

      That was Oct 31, 1969. Here we go again. Soon we will know?

      Possibly the most-studied substance on the planet
      http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/1900

      Professor Lester Grinspoon, Harvard Medical School, USA:
      “Marijuana is one of the least toxic substances in the whole pharmacopoeia”

      The Politics of Pot
      http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/sreply/282

      • claygooding

        “”Many scientists say there is little basis to put marijuana in that category, and the DEA’s stance that marijuana has no medicinal use has been widely rebuked in recent years.
        But marijuana’s dangers and uses have not been definitively established within the scientific community, and that’s partly because of the very limited research done on the subject.
        Paradoxically, the drug’s schedule 1 status has hamstrung exactly the marijuana research necessary to change its classification.”” ‘snip’

        This is complete and utter bullshit.

        The National Institute on Drug Abuse has done more than 22,000 studies since 1972 on organic marijuana and the chemical compounds found in marijuana searching for ANY harm they could use as proof that cannabis belongs in Schedule 1 and have failed to find any.

        They admitted as much in a hearing before the Reform Committee when they admitted that none of their research had ever proven marijuana was more dangerous than alcohol..

        • Duncan20903

          .
          .

          clay, the problem is that not far from every single one of those 22,000 studies were done for our Federal government under their requirement that nothing good about cannabis can be proven. Remember earlier this year when the American Academy of Neurologists said that in excess of 96.7% of the more than 1000 studies which they reviewed were garbage?
          Medical Marijuana Inconclusive, Neurologists’ Meeting in Philadelphia is Told

        • claygooding

          Duncan,,garbage or not,,the NIDA has searched for harm from marijuana for the last 42 years and has never found anything that proves marijuana is more harmful than alcohol,,,how many more decades and studies do you think it should take to establish the safety or harm balance on marijuana use???

          I know death does not impress or scare scientists and drug warriors but I think it scares the hell out of most real people and zero deaths from marijuana is about as good a safety endorsement as you can get.

          The only “balanced” study ever done on marijuana was thrown in the trash in 1971 and NIDA was created to take control of any research done on marijuana.
          And here we are.

        • Jean Valjean

          There’s a video in which Nora Volcow admits that the mission of NIDA is exclusively to look for harms in cannabis, not benefits. The word “Abuse” in the name NIDA sort of gives it away doesn’t it?

  • mike

    Thank you DdC for the Med Survey of the Endocannabinoid
    System in Medical Schools.

    I dont see the States listed that comprise the list of 21.

    With all the States now that have MMJ as law on the books, seems that some of the money collected from card
    holders could be used to further our knowledge of the ECS.

    Again I encourage those that are writing the Cannabis Ballot initiatives to include language which uses some
    portion of the money collected by the State from fees ect,to combat the 80 years of wrong Gov.probaganda against cannabis and hemp.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Most of those States haven’t even bothered to take cannabis out of schedule I in their State maintained naughty lists under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

      Most (if not all) of the laws which I and only I accurately refer to as medicinal cannabis patient protection laws don’t even pretend to codify the medicinal utility of cannabis. They carve out an exception saying that people who think their use is medicinal and doctors who think they’re recommending cannabis for use as medicine won’t be convicted, in some States won’t be prosecuted. There’s a big difference.

    • DdC

      I haven’t seen any list either Mike, I have spoken to a heap of clueless doctors and cops. We have gone way passed a point where lame excuses suffice for ignorance. Including…

      California Cops Are Trained ‘Marijuana Is Not A Medicine’

      Is it no wonder, when they teach the kids…

      “Casual drug users should be taken out and shot.”
      — Daryl Gates
      Father of SWAT Founder of DARE

      Mo Tax paid research? Lets have NIDA pay back what they and the DEA have bilked the public out of. Plenty of research and even more actual people finding relief or re-leaf.

      Granny Storm Crow’s List January 2014

      “Narcotics police are an enormous, corrupt international bureaucracy … and now fund a coterie of researchers who provide them with ‘scientific support’ … fanatics who distort the legitimate research of others.”
      ~ William F. Buckley, Jr. Requiescat In Pace
      Commentary in The National Review, April 29, 1983, p. 495

      The political repression of the scientific study of cannabis.
      Americans for Safe Access (ASA) .pdf

      “Regular marijuana use was “not nearly as bad” as tobacco or alcohol. People around the world “smoke to keep working and then they smoke to relax, and all of these things fall under this general question of whether that man has any right to use natural or distilled or pharmaceutically produced aids to permit him to live the kind of life that he wants to live, and in most cases we find this combines work and relaxation or religion, work and relaxation.”
      ~ Dr. Margaret Mead, anthropologist.
      Testimony before Congress in 1969 on her study of pot’s use in various societies.

  • Tony Aroma

    I believe “more research” is code for rescheduling. That’s the AMA’s position. The AMA is not against legalization in general (I don’t believe they have a position). The AMA is also not necessarily against medical use, they’re just against it being decided by popular vote. They want it to be rescheduled so medical marijuana can be researched and prescribed like other drugs. I don’t think that’s Murthy’s position though, so maybe he’s not clear on what exactly he’s supporting with respect to the AMA’s position.

    • claygooding

      That will be issued to him in a memo when and if he is ever asked again,,I am just glad we made it through the Ebola scare mongering campaign that ceased as soon as the election was over,,without a Surgeon General.

    • The toxicity level of a drug is the only reason we need to require a doctor to prescribe it as a medication in the first place. If you go by the toxicity level of marijuana, well it has no business even being in the schedules at all.

      Playing politics is really the only reason to even have cannabis in the schedules. That and continuing the drug war to keep the US budget at a hefty drug war level of spending.

  • Here is a fact the new SG should pay attention to if he is interested in the kids:

    Teen marijuana use falls as more states legalize
    http://tinyurl.com/km35str

    “Teen alcohol and drug use — including marijuana use — was down across the board in 2014.”

    “That’s the big take-home from the 2014 Monitoring the Future study”

  • Why science hasn’t yet proved to the US government that marijuana isn’t as dangerous as heroin
    http://t.co/lZM3QaN2Qu

    “For now, politics seems to be acting to suppress marijuana research, not to drive it.”

    “The DEA will likely act on re-scheduling marijuana when it no longer fears congressional repercussions,”

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Well it sounds bad on the surface but I sure wouldn’t give him a foaming at the mouth rating. That’s usually the only rating that I will issue on the basis of sound bites. Smarter than a sabet but who the heck isn’t exclusive of people suffering from organic brain defects or damage?

    The future may make today’s sound bites way more valuable to us than if he were to say, sure, I’m the doctor that’s issued 32.3% of the recs in Colorado. Wasn’t there another Surgeon General who believed the hokum and then changed his mind…some foreign sounding name not Dr. Elders…Supta ..wupta…pupta…erupta…give me a minute it’ll come to me.

  • Spin Baby Spin

    .
    .

    Well we haven’t had an episode of dueling headlines in a while. Here’s one that’s fairly unique:

    National teen drug survey shows higher edible pot use in medical marijuana states, including Maine

    By Christopher Cousins, BDN Staff; Gov’t stooge
    Dec. 16, 2014
    Courtesy of drugabuse.gov

    AUGUSTA, Maine — Opponents of legalizing marijuana pointed to Tuesday’s release of new data that indicate a markedly higher use of edible marijuana products among teenagers in states like Maine, where medical marijuana is legal, as proof that making pot more available to adults could lead to more abuse by adolescents….

    Decades upon decades of bemoaning the health hazards of smoking tobacco and transference of those health hazards to cannabis when smoked promptly forgotten. Heck, you can’t even eat tobacco because it’s so poisonous.

    Whoever made up the chart has an interesting definition of “pharmaceutical” vs “illicit” LSD is pharmaceutical but MDMA is illicit. Synthetic cannabis is pharmaceutical but sedatives are illicit?

    …and so it goes.

    • Crut

      Oh gosh, that chart’s atrocious. Almost looks like someone had an agenda making it…

      In addition, the title: “Top Drugs…”, and the drug (in)conspicuously missing from the chart: “Alcohol”!

      Mentioned later: “Alcohol use [past month!]… 37 percent in 2014.” Wouldn’t have looked good to have a legal drug at the top of the chart would it…

      Whoever wrote this extrapolating fear-mongering tripe should be publicly humiliated beyond measure.

      However, the study, which surveyed thousands of eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders throughout the United States, appeared to indicate that teens in medical marijuana states use edible pot more than do teens elsewhere.

      According to the study, 40 percent of 12th-graders in medical marijuana states who consumed marijuana in the past year said they did so by eating it, compared to 26 percent from the same age group in states where medical marijuana is not legal.

      He/She doesn’t even get the useless “fact” right.
      (“same age group” is NOT the “same group” (12th graders who consume marijuana))
      Does he/she even know what the hell it is comparing with 40/26, or is it just a robot looking for the biggest difference in numbers between two datasets?

      The “fact” that actually means something is what it glossed over in that verbal diarrhea there. And that fact is that the percent of 12th graders using cannabis (in any form) has barely nudged (going down) during all these years of liberalization of cannabis laws. Not focusing on that, while picking this rotten cherry of a fact to base an entire article off of is very revealing of the author’s intentions.

      • Jean Valjean

        “Courtesy of drugabuse.gov”

        All you need to know about this article.

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        It’s just a reprint from “drugabuse”.gov. While it’s as atrocious as you say, perhaps you were even a little overly restrained, the good news is that he seems to be the only “journalist” who is regurgitating the gov’t preferred spin.

  • claygooding

    Happy 85th birthday to Billy Gibbons

    I have never heard any other 3 guys make so much fuckin much music at one settin.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2V6qGX7VRs

  • “Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day.” – M. Jocelyn Elders”

    How about completely ATOXIC? Why can’t we get someone to slap all of these nitwits with some real truth as to the usefulness of marijuana?

    Ugh. If anyone ever put up Barbara Starfield’s data on how many people die yearly by pharmaceuticals alone, it would blow the profits of pill pushers to hell.

  • Servetus

    The thrill is gone….

    The latest NIDA survey on drug use indicates prohibitionists are maintaining their record of being wrong all the time about everything involving drugs. This time the news is devastating:

    Marijuana use in the past year by students in all three grades declined slightly, from 26% in 2013 to 24% in 2014. The survey also found that students in 8th and 10th grades reported that marijuana is less available than it once was. Also, daily marijuana use among 12th graders is down, from 6.5% in 2013 to 5.8% in 2014.

    With full legalization occurring in four states to date, a traditional focal point for rebellion, a forbidden fruit, otherwise known as marijuana, is passé. The news couldn’t be worse for Kleiman, Sabet, and other drug war profiteers who predicted a massive upsurge in underage cannabinoid use following legalization for adults.

  • mike

    Those are two good points Duncan encourageing to see you
    say most.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      I honestly don’t know what you’re trying to say. If you’re trying to send me a message you’re going to need to re-state.

      • I think Mike lost track of the thread structure and accidentally posted at the end, rather than after your post. I would guess he was favorably referring to this post of yours above and your use of the word “most.”

        Most of those States haven’t even bothered to take cannabis out of schedule I in their State maintained naughty lists under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

        Most (if not all) of the laws which I and only I accurately refer to as medicinal cannabis patient protection laws don’t even pretend to codify the medicinal utility of cannabis. They carve out an exception saying that people who think their use is medicinal and doctors who think they’re recommending cannabis for use as medicine won’t be convicted, in some States won’t be prosecuted. There’s a big difference.

  • Servetus

    Members of a French news puppet show called “Les Guignolsexplain how they successfully smuggled 1.5 kg of hash into the Cannes Film Festival:

    “One day, they wanted to bring this massive lump of hash (what the French call “shit”). There were these trailers with equipment to take to Cannes and they hid the lump inside the head of the puppet of Jacques Chirac who was president at the time.”

    So why the Chirac puppet and not a different one?

    “The only reason was that if they had been caught,” Vandel said, “the headline would have read: one and a half kilos of ‘shit’ in Jacques Chirac’s head.”

  • mike

    Co. funding study on PTSD soon.
    story http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2014/12/researcher_sue_sisley_on_her_request_for_colorado.php

    Michigan since 2008 has MMJ exception, collected over 20 million dollars from card holders with no MMJ studies.

    So it must be written into the act a% of the money will be used for study and what about legal help as well.

  • Irony alert

    In its initial press release, Europol first said it took down about 410 hidden sites. However, security researcher Nik Cubrilovik found that the authorities really seized only about 276 sites. Of those sites, Cubrilovik found, a huge percentage were actually clone or scam sites.

    In other words, the government was busy shutting down sites that were scammy, while leaving the legitimate drug sites to carry on with their business.

    It’s not hard to see the irony here. By shutting down the scam and clone sites—and leaving the two biggest major sites running—the government may have inadvertently made buying drugs online smoother.

    “The Dark Net Markets Community thanks Europol, Eurojus and the FBI for removing all these scam sites,” notes DeepDotWeb, an anonymous blog that writes about the dark net, “thereby reducing the risk of losing money when purchasing goods on dark net markets.”

    under-silk-road

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Can we think about just how perverted it is to call it ironic that cops are doing the job that they should be doing? Shut down the scams, let the honest merchants prosper. I don’t suppose you think that maybe the cops are actually doing the right job but verbosely stating that they’re doing the job the idiot prohibitionists demand just so they don’t have to listen to them whine, do you? Nah, neither do I but I’m a sucker for superheros and wishful thinking.