I recently wrote an article about how NJ recently approved the use of marijuana to treat people with PTSD. To be clear, I am against it. A number of people responded negatively on either Facebook, Linked In or via email. Several messages attacked me on a personal level, and more than one person accused me of taking money from Big Pharma. Last April, I wrote about the different kind of statements that people make when they disagree with me. I have found that most people are set in their ways and views on the topic of marijuana, and usually do not want to have a discussion with someone with a different view (they usually just engage in shouting, insults, and a number of other fallacies). As an educator, I strive to help people understand and sometimes change the process of how they arrive at their conclusions. I adore discussions where people have different backgrounds, beliefs and philosophies, but I expect the discussion to be free from fallacies. I’m going to highlight three fallacies: agrumentum ad ignorantiam (argument from ignorance), red herring (bringing up a different topic than has been addressed) and arugmentum ad hominem (you engage in personal attacks).
1) Do you have PTSD?
I’m not sure how this is relevant. If I answer no, then I assume I’ll be accused of not personally understanding the issue. If I say yes, I figure I’ll be told that I am too close to the topic and while marijuana may not have been a treatment answer for me, it works for others. Or perhaps I’ll be told that my mind is addled.
I have treated people with PTSD for over a dozen years though. I care so much about soldiers (and other service members) and veterans that I rejoined the Army as a medical officer in 2014 after having been out of the service for over 10 years.
To answer the PTSD question: no, I do not have, nor have ever had, PTSD. I have had an easy life.
2) Are you satisfied instead with big pharma pushing life destroying, highly addictive, narcotic analgesics? (I added the commas).
I have been an extremely vocal critic of Big Pharma in my professional talks, in my college classrooms, in my writing, and in my service on the NJ Governor’s Council. I recently wrote an article about the problems with big pharma here. If someone accuses me of taking money from the pharmaceutical industry, it shows that they are guilty of conducting little to no research or background checks.
That said, the discussion of prescription opiates is a red herring when talking about marijuana for PTSD. I am assuming that you are arguing for marijuana to treat pain instead of prescription painkillers. That is a different argument. As I just wrote, I am critical of Big Pharma and the overprescription of painkillers (I suggest you read the NJ Heroin and Other Opiate Task Force Report from 2014). If you have clinical, controlled studies on how marijuana helps people with pain without causing psychological side effects, I would be thrilled to see them.
3) Have you not done even the smallest modicum of research? The overwhelming evidence of numerous studies has already definitively PROVEN the many many positive effects and benefits of medicinal marijuana for ptsd!
Sadly sir, you are mistaken. The studies that some people cite (you mentioned none, just that there are numerous ones) do not pass scientific muster. Most people have a hard time differentiating good from bad studies. Additionally, many pro Marijuana for medicine reports are funded by the for-profit Marijuana industry.
Here are some of my other opinions on marijuana:
- I would like to see it decriminalized in every state. I don’t want to see people get arrested for using it in private spaces. I have no problem with a person who is 21 or older using marijuana in their home.
- I caution people who use it on the amount and frequency though. With full legalization, American marketing power would be brought to bear, which would encourage people to large amounts of it, in order to maximize profits.
- I am against full legalization, which allows for advertisements on the internet, TV, radio, and billboards. I am against marijuana candy being sold in convenience stores. I am against lawsuit shield protections for marijuana producers.
- Marijuana is currently a schedule I drug (highly addictive, no medical value). I support rescheduling to level II. This would federally allow it to be given to people with late stage cancer, HIV/AIDS, and glaucoma. It would also allow for federal funding of studies on the effectiveness of marijuana as a medical treatment for other conditions.
- I am deeply concerned about the use of marijuana by people who drive or operate any kind of machinery. Studies have shown that coordination and reaction are affected over 24 hours after using marijuana.