Apparently, the only doctors who know what they’re doing are legislators

I know we’ve got a lot of veterans here, and this one is really going to make your head explode…

GOP congressman warns pot is making our veterans psychotic

In a debate on the House floor over the Department of Veterans Affairs’ policies on medical marijuana, Representative John Fleming (R-LA) warned colleagues that allowing veterans to smoke pot could turn them psychotic or schizophrenic.

“As a practicing physician and a veteran myself,” Fleming stated during the April 29 legislative proceedings, “the way we approach health care is not to just allow any healthcare provider to do whatever he or she wants to do at the time. That is simply not the way health care works.”

According to Fleming, letting doctors and patients make their own decisions about marijuana could be dangerous, which is why the federal government needs to step in.

“Smoking pot increases psychotic episodes by a factor of two to four times normal,” Fleming elaborates. “The conversion to schizophrenia, a permanent mental disorder, is enhanced by pot by a factor of two — double. Why in the world would we give a drug that is addictive, that is prohibited under Schedule I, that is not accepted for any specific mental disease or disorder and enhances psychosis and schizophrenia, why are we going to give that to our veterans, especially those with PTSD? That is just absolutely insane.”

Even forgetting about the fact that he’s mixing up correlation with causation in the whole psychotic episodes and schizophrenia discussion, or the fact that a factor of two is really quite small… The part that is really mind-boggling is his notion that federal legislators are more competent to decide on medical treatment than doctors and patients.

Maybe veterans should start asking Representative John Fleming for advice on cancer treatment, what to do about hemorrhoids, and how to fix their hernia. After all, “letting doctors and patients make their own decisions… could be dangerous.”

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41 Responses to Apparently, the only doctors who know what they’re doing are legislators

  1. Crut says:

    Rep. Blumenauer’s statement which came directly after Rep. Flemings word vomit was right on point.

    Focusing on the unproven and relatively benign side effects of Cannabis while ignoring the proven deadly opiate elephant is beyond irresponsible, and downright insulting to the thousands of veterans (and others) who become incapacitated when someone slams a door shut.

    Oh how I wish that speakers like Fleming were forced to back up the schiesse that they spew out of their pie holes.

  2. n.t. greene says:

    …somewhere, Kevin is wringing his hands like a plotting villain.

    “At least someone believes me. Tomorrow, the whole world will!”

    It seems that they think the only expertise you need to make medical policy decisions is a link to a SAM website or something.

    And I’m getting pretty tired of having to go: “correlation does not imply causation” — it’s practically my goddamn theme song.

  3. n.t. greene says:

    And now, a bit more on that:

    Politicians -should- have to back up what they’re saying, and the evidence they supply should be subjected to the same rigor as, say, an article for an academic journal. Part of the problem is that people can stand at the pulpit and say whatever they like virtually unchallenged, as these spots do not really encourage argument. If you’re tuning into cspan by accident and this guy is all you catch because you’re not allowed to respectfully tell him he’s spewing pure shit… Well, welcome to ignorancetown, a suburb of the popular LazyTown. But while the latter is entertaining for the kids, the former is depressing as shit.

  4. Tony Aroma says:

    If marijuana is making people schizophrenic, where are all the schizophrenics? With almost half the people in this country admitting to using marijuana, we should be overrun with them.

    • kaptinemo says:

      Having an eidetic memory can be a trip, sometimes. Your comment reminded me of an old Philip K. Dick story, Clans of the Alphane Moon…about a world governed by mental cases.

      If the prohibs were right, we wouldn’t have to go to A. Centauri, we’d be knee-deep in loons right here, right now. That we aren’t shows just who is peddling fiction…

  5. Servetus says:

    U.S. Representative John Fleming (R-LA) is not only a medical doctor (University of Mississippi School of Medicine), he’s a former Webster Parish coroner, a businessman who owns 36 Subway sandwich shops, a congressional politician who ran unopposed for office in 2012, a Republican with a medical degree working to defund or delay Obamacare, Co-chair of the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus, a third degree black belt, and a climate denier who ‘“wrapped up the confusion between weather and climate succinctly when he tweeted, Global warming’ isn’t so warm these days.”’

    As a raging Southern Baptist, Dr. Fleming burnished his inquisitorial credentials in July 2013, when the “U.S. House passed a measure—sponsored by Fleming—[that barred] the Defense Department from appointing atheist chaplains. Fleming said, “The notion of an atheist chaplain is nonsensical; it’s an oxymoron.”(ibid Wiki) Since then, a Supreme Court case, American Humanist Association v United States, gave humanists, non-believers, atheists, and so forth, the same rights as any religious group, making atheist or humanist chaplains per se a reality – and more than just an oxymoron.

    There are sixteen Republicans in Congress, including Fleming, who also hold medical degrees; each one of them is a climate denier, and each one of them speaks quack fluently.

    So much for medical degrees and science literacy; Congressman Fleming exemplifies the fact that a person needn’t acquire fluency in science to obtain a medical degree, and that such a person shouldn’t be believed on scientific topics, including anything to do with the side effects of psychoactive drugs.

    John Fleming’s attacks on Obamacare also demonstrate he doesn’t fear doing harm to American citizens, those unfortunates who through circumstances beyond their control would lack proper health care should the ACA be eliminated at the evil doctor’s behest. Such health care could include someone using their new health insurance to pay for drug treatment. Because of this, Dr. Fleming appears to lack a conscience, and although he may not be as psychopathological as Doctor Josef Mengele, he nevertheless belongs to a politico-religious faction that always seems to defer to authoritarianism, simply because its members don’t know how to properly lead as real professionals.

  6. Kevin Sabet Knows Marijuana Doesn’t Cause Schizophrenia, Lies Anyway

    Legislators should not be allowed to decide medical issues. Sound medical advice is diametrically opposed by the destructive political philosophy of prohibition.

    Prohibition is a failed political philosophy, it is not science. Lying and distortion of the facts is allowed in the political philosophy of prohibition.

    Lying is not part of science, but deception IS a very active part of politics.

    This is the exact reason that you go to a doctor and not a politician when you are sick and you want to get better.

  7. DdC says:

    Scum of the earth. Hypocrites doing harm to Veterans and children. No medical school teaches the endocannabinoid system. Yet the quacks get to play doctor in spite of the harm they cause. Even 10 years ago I might see how a low life scumbucket like Phleming could get an audience. But now its getting old. Now the reefer madhatters are spewing our of what sounds like a complete mental breakdown. Bad enough for Mississippi patients under its care. But to leave it in Congress. That’s irresponsible. Impeach the son of a bitch.

    House rejects, bid to let VA docs give advice on medical pot

    Ganja 4 PTSD & Depression
    House rejects, bidding.


    Petition · DEA: ·
    Allow Medical Marijuana Research for Treating Veterans with PTSD

    Using Pot To Save Brains!

  8. DdC says:

    Where do they get such notions…

    Unfortunately, CNN is highlighting a few stories to portray marijuana as a miracle drug, when in reality it is a drug that can result serious, long-term consequences, like schizophrenia.

    Apr 27, 2015 — Veterans for Cannabis Research
    PO Box 7213 Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

    So its not hidden in the shadows anymore. Sabet knows full well there is no causal connection between using Ganja and Schizophrenia. Yet continues to deny in your face reality for old ghost stories. He has no credibility yet they continue to give him grants to continue torturing American citizens. Even the most religious right wingers should be able to tell he is desperate and spewing nonsense as if he is completely addled and in need of intervention.

    Drugwar Lies Linked to Schizophrenia

    Your Brain On Marijuana Is Just Fine

  9. There never has been enough perspective given to the issue of prohibition, whether its for marijuana or for heroin and other drugs. A distinction must be made that allows one to see this clearly.

    Prohibition of drugs is a religious and moral philosophy that has been hijacked by politicians for purposes of control and political gain. And for large amounts of money to be bandied about in the political arena. A perfect method for increasing political budgets and controlling the lower classes and minority non white immigrants and blacks. Hippies too.

    Prohibition was not introduced by science or doctors, but by politicians greedy for money and power and control. It is why the primary treatment regiments used by courts are based upon religious belief and not science.

    Primary among so called treatment regiments is AA and Narconon. Religion and belief based, not science based. One could easily imagine that religion and politics have blended here to produce a prohibition monster that claims to be scientific when its only call to fame is religion and morality, NOT SCIENCE.

    Science based treatment regimens are too expensive to waste on the poorer minorities so are only procured by those with the financial wherewithal to pay for their own help. Help, under prohibition, is ordered by courts and is not a self generated request for help except under judicial duress.

    The drug war is a moral and religious war, not a science based activity.

    Prohibition is undertaken by government for reasons other than helping individuals. It is embraced by government for its ability to “control the poorer masses” and generate astronomical sums of political capital. Drug war is politically popular to politicians and law enforcement. Political power and control and huge sums of money are its only reasons for being there.

    Prohibition is a blending of religious belief with politics.

    Sharia law has more in common with prohibition than science does.

    Representative John Fleming’s (R-LA) political views on the use of marijuana and schizophrenia would sound good coming from a mullah, but not from a representative of our government truly interested in helping its own veterans.

  10. sudon't says:

    Also, forgetting the fact that pot isn’t addictive. I mean, how did that bit of nonsense even make a comeback?

  11. joe minella says:

    And again the enormous costs of prohibition are ignored. Unbelievable.

  12. darkcycle says:

    Quackery coming from those who claim to have medical degrees is something that can be expected some of the time. But when you are practicing politics instead of medicine, it is a certainty. Even their credentials are questionable… Rand Paul’s “Board Certification” is one easy example to throw darts at.
    That all “MD” holders in congress are also Global warming deniers is to be expected.
    Politics and Medicine are two very different pursuits, and the people who pursue each have very different goals. A practicing MD lying to a patient is unthinkable, a politician telling the truth? Just as unthinkable.
    When one goes into politics, oaths go right down the trash chute.
    These people also JUST voted against veteran’s benefits, so they made their intent clear as a spring morning for any willing to see it. But I don’t expect it will make a lot of difference come election time.

  13. OT but big in importance:

    Why Today’s Landmark Court Victory Against Mass Surveillance Matters

    “The decision’s significance extends far beyond the phone records program alone. It implicates other mass spying programs that we have learned about in the past two years and — almost certainly ­— others that the government continues to conceal from the public. For example, we know that the Drug Enforcement Administration, for decades, employed a similar definition of “relevance” to amass logs of every call made from the United States to as many as 116 different countries. The same theory was also used to justify the collection of email metadata. Both those programs have been discontinued, but the legal reasoning hasn’t, and it could very well be the basis for programs the government has never acknowledged to the public, including the CIA’s bulk collection of Americans’ financial records.”

  14. kaptinemo says:

    In answer to Mr. Fleming, we have the late Professor Whitebread:

    “We could have used any of these prohibitions. We could have used the alcohol prohibition. The reason we didn’t is because so much good stuff has been written about it. And are you aware of this? That every single — you know how fashionable it is to think that scholars can never agree? — don’t you believe that — every single person who has ever written seriously about the national alcohol prohibition agrees on why it collapsed. Why?

    Because it violated that iron law of Prohibitions. What is the iron law of Prohibitions? Prohibitions are always enacted by US, to govern the conduct of THEM.”


    ” Would we be outraged if the California State Police came barreling through the door and arrested us for violation of California’s prohibition on gambling? Of course we would. Because, who is not supposed to gamble? Oh, you know who is not supposed to gamble — them poor people, that’s who. My God, they will spend the milk money. They don’t know how to control it. They can’t handle it. But us? We know what we are doing. (Emphasis mine – k.)

    In short, elitism. The same elitism that has plagued every prohibition. An elitism that Mr. Fleming unconsciously exudes when he makes statements vis-a-vis drug policy legislation. It’s in the bones of every prohib, varying only by degree.

  15. Pingback: Veteran Cannabis Use | Spirit Wave

  16. Spirit Wave says:

    I am not a veteran, but a citizen thankful for their honorable service, and my head (thankfully only metaphorically) exploded.

    “‘Why in the world would we give a drug that is addictive, that is prohibited under Schedule I, that is not accepted for any specific mental disease or disorder and enhances psychosis and schizophrenia, why are we going to give that to our veterans, especially those with PTSD? That is just absolutely insane.’”

    Because that drug is not more addictive than coffee, that is insanely prohibited due to the Commerce Clause, and that is accepted for specific mental diseases (e.g. my “caregivee” with Alzheimer’s disease doing literally astonishingly very well with the cannabis solution, both medically and financially, without even a hint of psychosis or even normalcy deviation). We give that medicine (proven to be such at least by thousands of international studies and ample experience reports convincing enough to increase state legality against ‘federal petty’), because cannabis is dominantly safe and effective (when used properly) compared to the harsh (and often less effective) pharmaceutical alternatives, and our veterans ordered to put their lives on the line for freedom in the “land of the free” deserve much better than ironically being horribly tragic victims of abusive favoritism entrenched in “law” against that freedom.

    I wrote more in my journal posting, so if you’re interested:

  17. divadab says:

    I sent Rep Fleming the following:

    Dear Rep. Fleming,

    You recently rose and spoke in the House regarding the use of cannabis sativa to treat PTSD and other conditions by veterans. You made several claims about the side effects of cannabis which, even if they were correct, are far less harmful than the side effects of opiates, for example, or anti-psychotics. And you ignored the considerable benefits of cannabis in treating PTSD and other chronic conditions with a non-toxic, only mildly addictive (less than coffee) plant medicine.

    Cannabis Sativa (known then as Indian Hemp) was widely used medicinally in the past – in my 1892 pharmacopia, for example, there are over 8 pages devoted to Indian hemp – note that the AMA protested when it was prohibited in 1937 to no avail. And like alcohol prohibition it has been an abject failure – why? Because prohibition, especially of a valuable plant medicine, is a failed policy.

    In the hope that you would rather develop policy based on actual information rather than DEA lies, here are some links for you to educate yourself about cannabis sativa:

    • Windy says:

      Actually, I think “Indian Hemp” was the term used for Indica, not Sativa, because it was brought to the colonies from India. IIRC, Sativa was not discovered here, until the move into the west, prior to that it was Indica which was grown and used.

  18. Irie says:

    (in a sing-songy tone of voice)

    We’ve been saying this for quite some time now!
    and go figure, its actually working, imagine that! BOUY-YA!

    • Servetus says:

      Kevin’s life-changing experience is a great example of how things can go right when human rights are the first priority, and wingnut authoritarianism is the last. Too many people in America still fall beneath the wheel:

      A slice of the crude, unlovely obvious: It’s not the criminalization of youth, it’s the criminalization of youth from certain neighborhoods, of certain ethnic origins. Did you know that what neighborhood you live in is now an element of probable cause? Yes, indeed, if you live in a “high crime” neighborhood, they can search you with less evidence you’ve done anything wrong. Hence, people in bad (read: poor) neighborhoods have less of a 4th Amendment than the rest of us. Three-quarters of the youth who are incarcerated are black or Hispanic kids of color. A black teenager is 6 times more likely to be incarcerated for a first-time violent offense than a white kid. A black teenager is 48 times (yes, you read that right, 48) more likely to do time for a drug offense than a white kid.

      “The law has taken many terrible turns in the last few years, and the pit of the law is the juvenile justice system.” This is Catherine Campbell, a civil rights attorney in Fresno. “It stinks. It’s rotten to the core. It should be wiped away and started over. A lot of it begins with putting the kids of poor parents into foster care. That’s how authorities inspire hatred, anger, frustration and feelings of worthlessness. It’s the ‘I don’t give a fuck zone’, and with only a few months of that, most kids are pretty much destroyed. They are ‘criminalized’ when their behavior crosses over the almost unavoidable line of criminal behavior.”

      • kaptinemo says:

        Juxtapose that with Bertha Madras’s horror at the idea that cops might carry naloxone kits to save heroin overdose victims.

        ‘ “First of all, I don’t agree with giving an opioid antidote to non-medical professionals. That’s No. 1,” she says. “I just don’t think that’s good public health policy.”

        Madras says drug users aren’t likely to be competent to deal with an overdose emergency. More importantly, she says, Narcan kits may actually encourage drug abusers to keep using heroin because they know overdosing isn’t as likely.

        Madras says the rescue programs might take away the drug user’s motivation to get into detoxification and drug treatment.

        “Sometimes having an overdose, being in an emergency room, having that contact with a health care professional is enough to make a person snap into the reality of the situation and snap into having someone give them services,” Madras says.

        Translation: The addict must come as close to death as possible to put the fear of (enter deity of choice, here) in him/her so that they’ll be receptive to my quackery.

        I said it a long time ago, and it bears repeating. They do not have a problem understanding us. They understand us perfectly. Our problem is that we don’t understand a mindset that wants that which challenges its beliefes destroyed utterly; They want people they don’t like to die.

        That is what we are standing against. A mindset that already written off anyone who supports this reform endeavor as being in need of future ‘re-education’…if lucky. Had they their druthers, given what I have said, don’t you think that they would prefer we were all taking ‘dirt naps’? (Recall Darryl Gate’s famous suggestion that casual cannabis users be summarily shot dead, KGB Lubyanka Prison style, in the streets?)

        That is what must be defeated, for it looks at anyone, anyone, as potential ‘surplussage’ scheduled for disposal, according to its whims and prejudices. And profits.

  19. jean valjean says:

    So Britain’s voters have voted for more of the same… another five years of business as usual in the drug war. What is alarming is that the question “should we continue arresting people for using a plant” was never asked or debated in the run-up to the election, so most voters were uninformed.So much for the democratic principle. Nick Clegg, the only pol who tried to introduce the topic was so overwhelmed by the backlash that he never mentioned it again and drug reform sank like a stone.The US is way ahead of Britain on this issue.

  20. Now I have heard it all.

    In N.H., Christie calls war on drugs ‘completely a failure’

    • kaptinemo says:

      The diehard True Believer prohibs will fight to the bitter end, but the opportunistic pols are, as predicted here, beginning to sense things have changed, and are scrambling about, looking for Church of Cognitive Liberty (Reform) Hymn books so they can look like they’re singing in our choir.

      Right on schedule. And we’ve called every move along the way toward their eventual defeat. Every. Single. One.

      We said that if we started using the word ‘prohibition’, the media would smell the red meat, and bite. And it did; chewed, swallowed, digested and shat, and the word went viral. It’s everywhere, now. (Their Pawns and Rooks gone, down goes their last Knights on the board.)

      We said that when the economic cost of prohibition would become too crushing, in a face-saving maneuver, pols would start saying “Smart on crime!” to replace the traditional “Tough on crime!” rhetoric. And, lo and behold, sisters and brothers in Reform, it hath come to pass! (Down goes their last Bishops on the board.)

      And now they’re trying to sound as they’re having a Saul of Tarsus moment. (Looking at watch) Uh-huh, right on time.

      (Addressing prohib supporting pols having second thoughts, while coldly sizing up their Queen) But it’s not gonna save ya unless you get the lead out and jump on our bandwagon, right freakin’ now…IN THE BLOODY BACK SEATS, YOU POLs, BECAUSE WE DRIVE THIS BUS, NOT YOU!

      And, fair warning, we know all the ‘divide and conquer’, tricks; your repertoire was always limited. Reach for that steering wheel, and out come the political knives.

      That’s the message of the over half of America that’s sick and tired of the prohib games, and have had enough, and are demonstrating that to the pols every election featuring a vote of re-legalization.

      We’ve been right, every step of the way, and if we weren’t fighting our own money, this would have been over long ago.

      So, with our track record, we ought to hire ourselves out as consultants; we can do much better than scribble on the backs of envelopes.

      • darkcycle says:

        Absolutely spot on. “The Couch®” Public policy research group is up to the task. Especially ready. We use the fronts of the envelopes. And the napkins, the coasters and part of the tablecloth, too.

  21. DdC says:

    How warped…

    Jackie Chan Supports Death Penalty for Drug Offenders After Son’s Arrest

    “Lucky for Jaycee Chan, his father is extremely famous and popular.”

    Jackie Chan’s Son Could Face Death Sentence for Weed Charges
    Jackie Chan’s son has been arrested in Beijing for the smoking and possession of more than 100 grams of pot—a crime punishable in China by anything from three years in prison to execution. = 6 months, Lucky for Jaycee Chan

  22. thelbert says:

    this guy fleming has some kind of need to issue orders without any need or authority. lucky for me, i live in california where you are legally enabled to use the herb for anything that it helps. i use cannabis for my diabetes. it is my strict policy to ignore fools in matters that affect my health, even if they do have medical licenses.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      thelbert, veterans of military service can’t get a written 215 recommendation in California from a VA doctor. Even an oral rec would be worthless in Court as the basis of an affirmative defense. Sure, oral recs in California qualify but if a person ends up indicted he’s going to have to prove that it happened. Under current rules a VA doctor just isn’t very likely to show up in Court to verify that rec. Sure, the patient can get a rec from a recommendation mill but lots of VA patients are indigent. It just isn’t right to make them suffer the burden of paying out of pocket.

      I’m curious, are VA doctors subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice or are they civilian employees? It really does make a huge difference. I know from direct observation that Navy doctors are commissioned officers so it seems likely to me that Navy doctors are subject to the UCMJ.

      Civilian doctors would enjoy the precedent in Conant v. Walters. The UCMJ does not appear to me to be, or even need to be, compliant with the US Constitution.
      I grew up in the Navy by proxy. The Navy provided comprehensive medical treatment for active duty personnel and their dependents. So what should you call a person who graduated from medical school last in his class? A Navy doctor.

      • thelbert says:

        my VA doctor knows i use cannabis, and you are right, she isn’t allowed to recommend it. so i have a rec from another doctor. once you have a rec it’s good as long as you have the condition. the lowest price i have seen for a recommendation is 25 bucks. freedom is not free. i haven’t bought one for a few years. VA doctors are civilians, not subject to military justice.

  23. DdC says:

    With political doctors like Phleming…
    Physician, heal thyself. Luke 4:23.

    Professionals, more of a problem, than solution?
    ☛ Only 13% of the medical schools surveyed
    mention the endocannabinoid science to our future doctors.
    ☛ California Cops Are Trained ‘Marijuana Is Not A Medicine’
    ☛ The political repression of the scientific study of cannabis.

  24. Abraham deLacy says:

    Franklin, a 34-year veteran of Maryland law enforcement and a former drug warrior, sat down with Reason TV’s Todd Krainin to explain how the drug war policies of the O’Malley administration helped fuel the riots in Baltimore.

    “In 2005 we had 108,000 arrests in a city of 620,000 residents,” Franklin explains. “How much long-term damage did that do to these neighborhoods in Baltimore, to the families in Baltimore, to all these people that now have an arrest record?”

  25. Are You THC Deficient?
    Humans may need cannabinoids to live a normal healthy life. Are you getting yours?

    “The endogeneous cannabinoid system is perhaps the most important physiological system involved in establishing and maintaining human health.”

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