10 Views on Medicinal Marijuana

7 minute read

Victorians will soon (2017) say  high to locally cultivated and prescribed medicinal marijuana for treating serious illnesses.but not everyone is happy. Here are  10 quotes we could find from those with influence (excepting Tony Abbott, who we’ve added for old time’s sake) and then some from’the experts’ 1 Strongly For:  Victorian Premier Daniel Anderson announcing yesterday “There […]

Victorians will soon (2017) say  high to locally cultivated and prescribed medicinal marijuana for treating serious illnesses.but not everyone is happy. Here are  10 quotes we could find from those with influence (excepting Tony Abbott, who we’ve added for old time’s sake) and then some from’the experts’

1 Strongly For:  Victorian Premier Daniel Anderson announcing yesterday

“There are about 450 of those beautiful little people and they’re going to get legally for the first time the medicine that they need to transform their lives, and indeed to save their lives” Vic Govt PR

2: For and Against :(I think) Tony Abbott in a letter to Alan Jones , September 15

“I have no problem with the medical use of cannabis [ however] …The regulation of medicines is a thicket of complexity, bureaucracy and corporate and institutional self interest.”

 3: For : Dr Alex Wodak, director of the Alcohol and Drug Service, St Vincent’s Hospital –  talking to Australian Doctor  yesterday

“Evidence could always be better, but there is more impressive evidence than there is for many other medicines widely used today”

 3: For :  Victorian Farmers Federation president Peter Tuohey in the Age last month on the potential commercial opportunities

” The VFF sees no difference between cannibis grown for medicinal purposes or poppies grown for medicinal purposes”

5. Still a bit on the fence: Professor Mike Farrell,  director of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of NSW, talking to Norman Swan late last year.

“One of the things we need is a good body of evidence so that we’ve got less of this sort of either exaggerated claims of benefit or exaggerated negative claims about the harmful effects, and just trying to find a real middle way between that”

6. Sounds like he’s for: Malcom Turnbull, our newly minted Prime Minister, on Q&A September 2009

“Yes, yes, yes…yes I’ve smoked pot, there you go”

7. So totally for : Snoop Dog, music industry luminary, who has invested in several cannabis based start-ups, including a medicinal canabis company.

“I’m like, ‘Unc, what’s happening? I’m with Pharrell. We in the studio. We got a record for you.’ He said, ‘Pharrell?’ … I’m like, ‘It’s so motherf——g magical right now. Just come play the harmonica on it.’ He’s like, ‘I’ll be there.’ I had to lure him in with the harmonica.” OK, we couldn’t find anything from him that made any sense.

8. Pretty strongly for:  Deregistered Doctor and medicinal marijuana advocate, Dr Andrew Katelaris, talking to the Good Weekend, earlier this year

“This is a pharmaco-fascist state we live in.It’s child abuse what’s going on, I mean, what civilised country refuses to treat children with one of the safest medicines known to man?” 9. On the ‘evidence’ fence:  President of the Victorian AMA, Dr Tony Bartone, yesterday “This is an exciting development for a specific group of patients with specific conditions. However, AMA Victoria holds reservations as there is a lack of significant evidence and information on its side effects, potential harms, and implications of long term use or use at a young age….We understand the distress and pain that some patients, and their families, with serious conditions like MS, cancer, epilepsy and seizures, HIV and those with chronic pain suffer. However, checks and balances, evidence, data, proof, risk analysis, warnings and quality control are always needed for medications and medical procedures. This step has been skipped here, and is an important part of good medical care,”” 10. On the ‘journalistic objective fence: Dr Norman Swan, ABC Health Report presenter, talking to Jan Copeland,director and founder of the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre at the University of New South Wales earlier this year on his show. “….even though there is a bit of a bandwagon now about the medical uses of marijuana, the evidence-base for that is pretty thin too”

Experts Reaction

These comments have been collated by the Science Media Centre to provide a variety of expert perspectives . Feel free to use these quotes in your stories (Thanks SMC , but its getting late and my boss is like one of those big guys with the whip giving the slave rowers a hard time on the ship in Ben Hur. I think I’ll just copy and past all the ones you’ve got so far. You did well)

Views expressed are the personal opinions of the experts named. They do not represent the views of the SMC or any other organisation unless specically stated.

Dr Liz Temple is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Federation University

Australia, Victoria

“From a research perspective, there is much that we still don’t know about cannabis, its medicinalproperties or therapeutic ef?cacy. This lack of knowledge will affect many aspects of the implementation,running and effectiveness of the medicinal cannabis scheme.In particular, the available research evidence can’t yet tell us de?nitively which cannabis strains,cannabinoid pro?les and doses, or administration methods will work best for which medical conditions orhow this may differ for individual patients.

This means that the desired quick start to the scheme will inevitably include some trial and error, asprescribing doctors and their patients learn together what works best for the speci?c medical conditionand individual circumstances. Building the evidence base is essential, and it will take time. As such, there is an urgent need for researchfunding, and not just for the clinical trials that have been discussed so far, but also for basic and appliedcannabis research.”

Last updated: 07 Oct 2015 5:04pm

Dr Michael Farrell is Director of the National Drug and Alcoholic Research


“The report on which the Victorian Government’s decision was based was very well crafted and detailedpresenting a balanced view of current research evidence and presents options for moving forward and forimproving access to treatment.However if medical use is likely to be long term, patients should be advised that the adverse effects of longterm use are unclear.

Patients could also be advised of the adverse effects reported in long term recreational users, such as thedevelopment of dependence.

Many doctors will be faced with patients using cannabis for complex symptoms of multiple chronicdisabling conditions for which there are limited treatment options. Doctors should discuss, in a dispassionate and non-judgmental and supportive manner, the advisability or otherwise of using cannabisto palliate such symptoms.

There is no clear evidence for effectiveness in treating pain, any bene?ts are likely to be modest, and there is no clear evidence that putative bene?ts outweigh possible harms. When symptoms of cannabis dependence are elicited it is appropriate to discuss the wisdom of continued use in the context of the illness and the prognosis, and, if appropriate, to offer the patient support for withdrawal. Helping patients who wish to use cannabis for symptomatic relief to lives comfortably and productively as possible is an important and valuable goal of palliative and rehabilitation treatment.”

Last updated: 07 Oct 2015 3:55pm

Dr Matthew Large is from the School of Psychiatry at the University of New

South Wales

“While the therapeutic halo around cannabis gets ever bigger and brighter, particularly in the minds ofpoliticians – the actual evidence for therapeutic potential is weak. Meanwhile the real and very wellestablished risks with regard to mental health seem to be forgotten. If cannabis is to be made moreavailable it needs to be with health warnings and better public heath messages.”

Last updated: 07 Oct 2015 3:49pm

Related Links

Medical cannabis should be an informed choice (https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/medical-cannabis-should-be-aninformed-choice)

Medical marijuana not a ‘gateway’ for teen users (https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/medical-marijuana-not-a-gatewayfor-teen-users)

Which families get involved in cancer care? (https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/families-help-decide-during-cancer)

Why do cancer patients turn to complementary medicine? (https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/why-do-cancer-patientsturn-to-complementary-medicine)

Social factors impact young leukemia patients’ chances (https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/social-factors-impactingyoung-leukemia-patients-survival)

Male doctors more likely to face legal action than females (https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/male-doctors-more-likelyto-get-sued-than-females)

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