BRADFORD STILES: Okay. Sorry. I’m a dentist here in Iowa City. I’ve had a dental practice since — been about 25 years now. And my reason for coming is that I — I get — completely different approach than what — you know, he’s actually somebody who’s benefiting from the use of cannabis for his illness. Mine was more of a scientific reason when I was looking into some different things once I heard about an article which I made copies of for you guys.
Basically I started researching it, and I looked into it, and cannabis is — many people probably already said it but been around for about 3,000 — at least 3,000 years, documented as a therapeutic agent for many different reasons. It wasn’t until then-President Nixon decided to Page 109 classify it as a Schedule I narcotic, and the status was given by President Nixon because of No. 1, high potential for abuse; 2, unsafe use even under medical supervision; and 3 was lacking current accepted medical uses.
So I wanted to talk about each one of these because I don’t think any of them are true. And the first one is the high potential for abuse. People have a potential to abuse things. That’s what it is. It has nothing to do with the substance. I mean or the — or the thing.
I mean look at food. We all need food to live. If you abuse it, you become obese. That’s not good. Okay? Cell phones, if I’m broken down in the middle of nowhere or I need to find somebody and I’m lost, they’re great. But when people are driving 70 miles an hour, they’re terrible. When they’re abusing them, they’re not any good. Okay?
One that probably I don’t think anybody in here would argue that computers have really made a big difference in medicine. Okay? Page 110 Between diagnosis, decoding the human genome, it has a tremendous impact on medicine with research, people being able to collaborate across — all around the world with computers.
However, if any of you have any teenagers or college-age kids, computers can be abused. MySpace is a perfect example. People are on it 24/7. They barely sleep if they’re on it. You’ve got porn on the Internet. Does it mean the computers have a high potential for abuse, so we should make them illegal? I mean that’s the same type of reasoning.
We’re taking something that has potential for good as good medicine, and because there are some people that are going to abuse it, it becomes — you know, it becomes a Schedule I because of potential for abuse.
How come, you know, like cannabis, sure like any other medication that have sedative hypnotic effects, side effects, they have a potential for abuse by people who abuse things. However, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be used as a therapeutic agent.
OxyContin, Demerol, Percocet, Adderall, Ritalin, Valium, just to name a few, all Page 111 have tremendous abuse potential if you want to look at abuse potential of a medication. They’re none of them are Schedule 1. So why is cannabis Schedule I? It doesn’t make any sense. Okay?
The second thing was that there’s no — that it’s unsafe for use even by medical supervision — under medical supervision. That was the second category for putting it in Schedule I in the first place.
In — in this last month, September of ’09, Journal of Opioid Management, University of Washington researcher Sunil Aggarwal, something like that, looked at 33 controlled clinical trials that are published from 1971 to 2009 — and I’m going to be able to give you guys all the references too if you want. And the conclusion was that marijuana is safe, effective medicine for specific medical conditions.
In 2008 approximately 7,000 American physicians prescribed medical cannabis to over 400,000 patients, and the conclusion is that cannabis is extremely safe with minimal toxicity.
The U.S. Government spent billions of dollars in funding research to find evidence to support that cannabis is toxic over the last Page 112 40 years. No such evidence has been found.
The U.S. Government published reports in the 1970s by the Drug Awareness Warning Network, the abbreviation DAWN. Based on their statistical data on drug use and morbidity, there’s never been a reported death from cannabis.
American Medical Association concluded after reviewing all the available research literature that they — well, whatever they looked at. I don’t know if it was all of it but in the early 1990s, and they said — their conclusion was that no drug or herb studied has marijuana’s safety record and suggested legalization to the then President George Bush the first. However, he decided to ignore it, again, because of political things, as the last gentleman mentioned.
Dr. Steven Sidney published in April of 1999, he looked at the death rate of cannabis users, looked at 65,000 cannabis users and a death rate, and he found no statistically significant association between cannabis and morbidity and concluded that if it doesn’t increase the death rate, it can’t be very harmful. Okay. So so much for the idea of unsafe for use even under medical supervision. Okay? Page 113
And then the lacking medical uses. This is what we got me into it in the first place was when I read this article because I have a lot of cancer in my family, and you’ve heard from a lot of people, I’m sure, about the therapeutic uses in chronic pain, in terminal diseases, chemotherapy, et cetera, but I’m looking at independent studies that looked at the relationship of cannabis and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, and they found published in the Journal of Cancer Prevention Research August 2009 — that’s what I have copies of for you, and I can give you the other ones.
These studies came out of Brown University, Providence University, Boston University, LSU, and University of Minnesota, so it’s not like one person might be, you know, gaining something from this. There’s a lot of very astute researchers from all these different institutions all looked at it, and they looked at head and neck squamous cell carcinoma rate in chronic cannabis users, and the conclusion and of course the study — that and a number of studies funded by the U.S. Government were to try to find that there was a positive link between cannabis and cancer.
Page 114 And what they actually found was that moderate use of cannabis significantly reduced — reduced the incidence of all types of head and neck cancer as well as other cancers of the respiratory tract and the GI tract. So not only didn’t it cause it, it reduces it. It has an inverse relationship. Okay? An inhibitory effect on cancer cells. Okay?
Smoking moderate amounts of cannabis had significantly reduced the incidence of all the cancer studies, so they checked a lot of different types of cancer, and when compared to noncannabis users, it even had a decrease in cancer of various types in people that were already in high-risk categories, so they already drink, and they already smoked tobacco. So they’re already high risk for cancer.
If they also happen to be moderate cannabis users, their incidence of cancer is significantly less than somebody who wasn’t a moderate cannabis user. It doesn’t make any sense. Our government is withholding medication that could be preventing us from getting cancer.
Am I saying that everybody should be smoking pot all the time? No. But I’m saying if Page 115 you have somebody that has cancer and you’ve got a medication that helps them get over their nausea, helps them with all their other things that they’re dealing with and on top of it has an anticancer effect, it doesn’t make any sense that it’s — that it’s put in a category where it says that it has no medical uses. Okay? That doesn’t make sense to me.
This — and I was surprised by that, reading that, and therefore got the article out, but I was even probably more surprised or dumbfounded by the fact that the same study was done by Donald Tashkin at UCLA in 2006, so this is — here I thought I had new evidence for you, and it’s three years old, and this was funded by the U.S. — National Institute of Health, and in their separate study they found the same thing, that there was reverse relationship with cannabis use and cancer.
So there’s a number of different things. And Dr. Tashkin actually has a mechanism that he thinks happens because the THC in the cannabis kills off old and aging cells, and those cells are the same ones that tend to become cancerous. So therefore, by killing off the cells, Page 106 it’s the body’s way of cleansing — or the cannabis is enabling the body to cleanse out cells that would later become malignant.
And that’s it, short and sweet. I’ll send the references for all the other ones too.