There is an insidious movement at the moment to have cannabis legalised for medicinal purposes. Proponents see this as a means of ultimately legalising cannabis for recreational purposes.
I support the decriminalisation of cannabis; indeed it should be taxed like tobacco.
But it is outrageous to put the ‘medicinal’ label on cannabis use. There is no study – see the Cochrane Library – that has demonstrated using the scientific method (double blinded randomised controlled trials) that shows a therapeutic benefit from cannabis use beyond a placebo.
Yet the Greens are campaigning to ‘Make it Medicine’.
Ironically the Greens are ever more dogmatic about tobacco use, even though there is strong medical evidence that the use of vaping would save many lives.
In an article published in 1958 (Silvette H, Larson PS, Haag HB. Medical uses of tobacco: past and present. Virginia Med Monthly 1958;85: 472-84) there was a survey of purported medicinal uses of tobacco between 1785 and 1860. These purported medicinal uses of tobacco included:
Tobacco administered externally
Bites of poisonous reptiles and insects; hysteria; pain, neuralgia; laryngeal spasm; gout; growth of hair; tetanus; ringworm ; rodent ulcer; ulcers; wounds; respiratory stimulant
Tobacco administered by rectum
Constipation; haemorrhoidal bleeding
Tobacco administered by mouth
Strangulated hernia (smoke by mouth); malaria or intermittent fever; dislodging obstructive material from oesophagus by inducing vomiting
Tobacco administered by inhalation
No doctor today would recommend a patient take tobacco. Yet we do have doctors urging patients to use cannabis for purposes such as epilepsy. Yet, again, there is no scientific evidence supporting such usage.
Cannabis is likely to be more dangerous than tobacco. It has many of the same compounds (and can thus cause lung cancer, throat cancer etc when inhaled). It is addictive. But it also causes problems in the brain such as memory loss, depression, paranoia, social isolation, hallucinations and so forth.
Why is it that those so strongly in favour of cannabis use are so against the use of tobacco? That is quite puzzling – both are harmful and should be avoided.
I have never used cannabis and never will. Yet I would be happy for it to be legalised, controlled and taxed much as tobacco is.
But please don’t pretend it has some medical use. Today’s medicinal cannabis is like yesterday’s medicinal tobacco.