Friday, June 19, 2015

The White House vs. My House

After literally hundreds of emails and months of pleading to our current administration, I finally received a statement from someone, who can only be named as 'The White House'. I am under the assumption that since they receive thousands upon thousands of emails, letters, and solicitations a day, the only way to respond to even a fraction of this collection of correspondence is for an intern to develop a poorly formatted boilerplate letter, based on a particular issue, that involves an easily inserted header, with the sender's name, to give it that 'personalized feel'.

That being said, I realize that 'The White House' has most likely never read any of my emails. Not a single one. Every letter, which went into lengthy detail regarding Mira's failure to respond to 22 different pharmaceuticals, her ongoing daily battle with a catastrophic epilepsy for the last 10 years, and everything related to the accessibility of viable treatment options for her, including cannabis, most likely went unnoticed. I suspect rather, that they track the number of emails written from a particular address and flag them as a possible threat or nuisance, depending on the issue it is filed under.

Perhaps it involves some governmental software that scans all email correspondence to generate a formulaic response, to give the illusion that they are exercising due diligence and 'responding to the people'. Whatever the case, the response received from 'The White House' was seemingly lumped into all other requests regarding the legalization of recreational cannabis, which was not my original intention. This further reinforces the assumption that 'The White House' isn't too concerned with the actual content of my letters or for that matter, interested in making any gesture to the reason you drafted a letter in the first place.

What is truly disturbing though, is the content. A completely generic, spewing of half-truths, generalizations, and frankly, broadly based banter, all seasoned with a familiar lathering of political rhetoric. It's a piece template stock material, straight out of the Politics 101 Handbook 'How to Say Something without Really Saying Anything'. In a sense, it's verbal diarrhea.

It states '...the Federal Government has been funding and reviewing studies to better understand marijuana's effects on individuals, public health, and safety', which roughly translates into: 'We already established (generated) those effects and we have been misleading the public with such propaganda for decades. We continue to capitalize on the prohibition of cannabis, as it funds our prison and pharmaceutical lobbyists' agendas, which in turn generates massive amounts of capital, to ensure our political careers remain viable and intact'. Do not be misinformed. The cycle of incarceration is a business, as is the pharmaceutical industry. Both exist to create customers, not rehabilitation or cures.

The letter also states 'A considerable body of evidence shows that marijuana use, especially chronic use that begins at a young age, is associated with serious health and social problems.' Unlike alcohol, which is certainly of no concern to minors, yet the predominant message plastered on every other billboard, from Sacramento to Boston, glorifies the socially acceptable positives of drinking. In terms of the 'serious health' problems associated with cannabis use, the current tally of overdose-related deaths from cannabis are still zero. It is also well-documented that every living human on this earth has an endocannabinoid system within their body, which CBD (integral to the plant of course) has the potential to target said system, therapeutically. Someone should explain to 'The White House' that any spin on the negative health aspects of cannabis is never a convincing argument, in fact, it's insulting to insinuate that the public needs to be socially babysat because they are incapable of using good judgement.

Some of the banter in the letter is comical. It states '.....we share public concerns about ensuring limited Federal enforcement resources are dedicated to pursuing our highest enforcement priorities, such as the preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors...........'. If this is the public's definition of highest and best use of law enforcement, which I seriously doubt it is, we need to reassess our priorities as a society. It may be the government's priority, from a consistent revenue stream standpoint (see above paragraph) but introducing a 17 year old to the vicious cycle of incarceration, for the possession of a joint, should be at the other end of the governmental 'highest enforcement priority' spectrum.

I guess the kicker in the letter was the last improperly spaced paragraph, which reads 'neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe and effective medicine for any condition'. There are so many things wrong with that statement, I truly don't know where to begin, but I will give it a whirl.

First of all, cannabis is only rarely used, therapeutically or medicinally, through smoke inhalation. It is most commonly used in the form of cannabidiol, which is basically cannabis oil extract. Through digestion, the CBD and THC content is made more readily available to major targets within the endocannabinoid system, particularly the brain. The fact that the letter omits this method could just be chalked up to a simple political spin - it's not what you say, it's what you don't say.

Second, the FDA doesn't regulate much of anything regarding what constitutes 'safe and effective medicine' as the FDA does not monitor pharmaceuticals, vitamins, supplements, or numerous other forms of medicinal options on the market. Which begs the question, what does the FDA actually do? Ironically, it regulates tobacco products, which have proven to be have horrific side effects on nearly every internal organ it comes in contact with, yet tobacco products are available to anyone  of legal age who chooses to take up smoking or snuff. So why should anyone give a shit whether the FDA fails to meet 'the modern standard for safe and effective medicine' when it knowingly allows the public to introduce an unlimited amount of carcinogens and toxins into their bodies via a 3 3/4" round stick? I guess that warning on each pack does the trick and nullifies any negligence on their part.

As for the Institute of Medicine, which is basically a non-profit consultant to the Federal Government, it does zero hands-on research related to cannabis, but rather relies on member's participatory submissions on research in their particular area of expertise. When that expertise comes from members like Dr. Eric Voth, who had heavily influenced past IOM reports regarding the efficacy and societal impacts of cannabis, it basically puts the IOM in the position of acting as a middle-man to the government - a consultant who relies on other consultants' agendas and initiatives, packaging it all up into an annual report. No bias could possible be extracted from that scenario (as my sentence drips with sarcasm......)

I feel insulted when I get a response like I received today. It's a very bureaucratic way of saying: we received your concerns and we will run your response through our PCTRG (Politically Correct Tactical Response Generator) and print it out for you. Now go away and stop asking questions.

Yet, I still cannot get 'The White House' to answer my simple questions. Why is the government dictating what we as a society decide to use as medicine? If cannabis has no apparent medicinal value (despite the Department of Health and Human Services possessing a patent on cannabinoids as neuroprotectants) then what is the harm in someone pursuing it as a viable treatment option?

Most importantly, why is 'The White House' making medical decisions in my house?


Reagan Leigh said...

Ugh don't even get me started on this issue. Seriously, all of these meds our neurologists pump into our kiddos (most of which have NOT been tested in children)...our kids ARE the guinea pigs! So happy to see some bills finally getting passed to allow children access to this drug and hopefully get the help they need.

Marc said...

Every month we get a pamphlet of information on Lyrica, disclaiming all of it's side effects and yes, lack of testing and suggestion that it is not suitable for children, yet here we are. Doctors can prescribe it to anyone. I am going to continue to hammer on the State of Kansas and the Federal Government until someone gives me some compelling reasons as to why cannabis is not only illegal, but worse than pharmaceuticals in the treatment of catastrophic epilepsies. To date, I have not heard a single compelling statement from any political figure, committee, or group as to why.