Monday, June 16, 2008

A Declaration of Reason

It is a fact that between 70% - 90% of all pharmaceutical drugs are derived directly or indirectly through plants and plant metabolites, depending on how one defines the terms. Before humans had modern science, humans obtained medicines from plants. Plants are the basis of the entire food chain, and how they are used by humans influences the evolution of both humans and plants. Yet, there are still many more question than there are answers. For example, why do botanical metabolites like THC, DMT, LSA, Psylocibine, Mescaline, and Opiates bind to pre-existing neuro-receptors in the central nervous system? Why is the human central nervous system genetically equipped to accommodate plant metabolites? Why do plants produce metabolites that function as neurotransmitters in the central nervous system?

I am seeking answers to these questions. I find it offensive that the 1970 U.S. Controlled Substances Act and the 1989 Texas Controlled Substances Act prohibit the scientific investigation of these cannabinoid metabolites in America. I find it even more offensive that this poorly written, poorly informed, and grossly destructive act of legislation acts to censor science, medicine, and the economy in America. But what I find most offensive is that both my Grandmothers, and my maternal grandfather died of diseases that were treatable with cannabis based medicines. Right now, my father-in-law has Multiple Sclerosis. My wife has eczema. These diseases are also treatable with cannabis sativa and cannabis indica. It utterly disgusts me that my nation would lie to its citizens about a plant that has been beneficially used as a medicine in human society since humans first cultivated these plants many thousands of years ago.

The 1989 Texas Controlled Substances Act is a misinformed, piece of legislation that requires reform. Section 481.002, line 26, defines “Marihuana” as Cannabis sativa L. The superior medical cannabis plant is not Cannabis sativa L, but rather, Cannabis indica, which is not defined in the Texas Controlled Substances Act. Cannabis indica is a genetically distinct species different from Cannabis sativa L. Cannabis indica is native to central Asia, while Cannabis sativa L is native to Europe. Yet, due to the alarming rate of marijuana arrests, law enforcement is not equipped to distinguish between Cannabis sativa L and Cannabis indica. Furthermore, line 26 states that “all parts” of the Cannabis sativa L plant are illegal. However, across the state of Texas, organic food stores sell HEMP SEED OIL as a nutritional food supplement. One tablespoon of Hemp seed oil contains 2.5 grams of Omega three fatty acids. This essential fatty acid can not be manufactured in the human body, yet the human body requires this protein complex to heal scarred or wounded tissue and to produce and regenerate healthy tissue cells. According to Section 481.002 line 26C, “oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant” are illegal in Texas. The reality is that this law is flawed. Hemp seed oil from the Cannabis sativa L plant is distributed, sold, and consumed in Texas. One can find hemp seed oil at Whole Foods and other supermarkets that provide natural, organic dietary supplements. The distribution, possession, and consumption of Hemp seed oil is protected under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Section 481.033 states that, “A nonnarcotic substance is excluded from Schedules I through V if the substance may lawfully be sold over the counter without a prescription, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. Section 301 et seq.). The Texas Controlled Substances Act fails to define both Cannabis sativa L and Cannabis indica as a narcotic substance under Section 4881.002 line 29.

There is much debate concerning whether or not Hemp Seed Oil contains THC. The oil itself contains many cannabinoids, with trace levels of THC present. During oil extraction, external shell husks may occasionally contaminate the seed oil with higher levels of THC. Hemp seed oil manufacturers on the West Coast and in Canada have taken precautionary washing steps to minimize the presence of THC in the oil. However, consumers of hemp seed products have occasionally tested positive for THC in drug tests. In 1998, a military court-martial jury aquitted U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Kevin Boyd of testing positive for marijuana on a drug test. The Marine had been supplementing his diet with hemp seed-based supplements.

One does not need to look hard to find state and federally supported medical and dietary uses of cannabis-based products. The Texas Controlled Substances Act, Section 481.002 line(16) states, “"Drug" means a substance, other than a device or a component, part, or accessory of a device, that is: (A) recognized as a drug in the official United States Pharmacopoeia, official Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States, official National Formulary, or a supplement to either pharmacopoeia or the formulary; (B) intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or animals; (C) intended to affect the structure or function of the body of man or animals but is not food; or (D) intended for use as a component of a substance described by Paragraph (A), (B), or (C).” Under the Texas and U.S. Controlled Substances Acts, “marihuana”, i.e. Cannabis sativa L., is defined and scheduled as an addictive substances with a propensity for abuse and containing no medicinal attributes (Texas C.S.A Section 481.035). The historical, scientific, ethnographic, and ethnobotanical facts suggest the opposite. “Marihuana” is considered by many historians, patients, doctors, and scientists to be one of humanity’s oldest cultivated medicinal plants. Cannabis sativa L, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis have all been cultivated by humans and used by human culture as medicine and fiber for many thousands of years.

Section 481.035 (FINDINGS) states, “(a) The commissioner shall place a substance in Schedule I if the commissioner finds that the substance: (1) has a high potential for abuse; and(2) has no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or lacks accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision.” However, California, Oregon, Washinton, and nine other states have sanctioned the use medical cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Clear legal precedents do exist for the medical attributes of cannabis. How can our government deny this history and civil establishment to define “marihuana” as a non-medical plant with a propensity for abuse? To do so is a logically flawed exercise beyond reason. This ultimately threatens to undermine the ideals of our state and federal constitutions.

Section 481.034 line (d) states, “In making a determination regarding a substance, the commissioner shall consider:(1) the actual or relative potential for its abuse;(2) the scientific evidence of its pharmacological effect, if known;(3) the state of current scientific knowledge regarding the substance; (4) the history and current pattern of its abuse;(5) the scope, duration, and significance of its abuse;(6) the risk to the public health;(7) the potential of the substance to produce psychological or physiological dependence liability; and (8) whether the substance is a controlled substance analogue, chemical precursor, or an immediate precursor of a substance controlled under this chapter.” It is clear that the “commissioner’s” position on “marihuana” stands contrary to the scientific, historical, and cultural heritage of cannabis use among human populations.

Section 481.106 (CLASSIFICATION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE
ANALOGUE) states, “For the purposes of the prosecution of an offense under this subchapter involving the manufacture, delivery, or possession of a controlled substance, Penalty Groups 1, 1-A, and 2 include a controlled substance analogue that: (1) has a chemical structure substantially similar to the chemical structure of a controlled substance listed in the applicable penalty group; or (2) is specifically designed to produce an effect substantially similar to, or greater than, a controlled substance listed in the applicable penalty group.” This section of the Texas Controlled Substances Act criminalizes all human citizens. It is a fact of human physiology that the central nervous system produces Anandmide, a close molecular analogue of Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabidinol. Anandamide is an endogenous cannabinoid in the human body. The human Endo-Cannabinoid system is major regulatory system in the human body. Does this section of legislation exclude endogenous cannabinoids? This is unclear. What is clear is that the human nervous system produces molecular analogues of DMT, Lysergic acid amide, morphine, phenylethamines, and amphetamines. By making the analogues of plant metabolites illegal, Congress has made every central nervous system illegal as well.

THC binds to specific cannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system. Anandamide binds to these same receptors and exhibits similar neurological effects. The human central nervous system does NOT distinguish between THC (the external metabolic cannabinoid) and Anandamide (the endogenous metabolic cannabinoid). If the central nervous system can not distinguish between these molecules, how can a drug test?

U.S. Representative from Texas, Ron Paul, states “As a medical doctor, I have a particular interest in this issue. Please be assured, I will oppose any and all attempts to use federal power to prevent the people of any state from adopting laws legalizing the use of medical marijuana. I also oppose the use of federal funds to finance the "drug war," and particularly the outrageous attacks on those who use marijuana for medical reasons. I think it is important to emphasize that the federal government has no constitutional authority to intervene in or regulate the medical or drug industries. Moreover, the federal government is prohibited by the Constitution (via the ninth and tenth amendments) from meddling in doctor/patient relationships. With that understanding, I can certainly agree that medical marijuana researchers and drug companies alike should receive "equal and fair treatment" from the federal government. Additionally, I would agree that there should be no federal ban on medical studies. This is why I am an original cosponsor of the States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act, which restores the ability to make decisions about medical marijuana to the states. In recent years, our federal government has abandoned individual liberty and states' rights in the name of a federal "war on drugs." However, constitutionally, there are only three federal crimes. These are treason against the United States, piracy on the high seas, and counterfeiting. The federal government's role in law enforcement must be limited to these constitutionally federal crimes and should certainly not extend to the doctor's office. I will continue my attempts to educate my colleagues that ours is a federal government of limited powers, restricted by the United States Constitution and the too-often-forgotten Bill of Rights.” (please see attached letter).

Cannabis as an herbal medicine has a four thousand year history of recorded medicinal use. Cannabis has been used for medicinal and spiritual purposes in the ancient cultures of Europe, China, India, Africa, Egypt, and the Middle East. It is considered to be a divine sacrament according to Hindus and Buddhists, and a blessing from God according to Coptic Christians, Rastafarians, and Sufi Muslims.

The government of the United States has already investigated any negative side effects of cannabis use and found little evidence to justify the classification of marijuana as a schedule 1 substance. A 1925 tribunal by the U.S. Army Medical Corps in Panama concluded that marijuana posed no “appreciable deleterious influence on the person using it”. The 1944 New York City Mayors Committee on Marihuana found that cannabis was not chemically addicting, that its smoke does not constitute a social hazard, and that its use is not detrimental to the health of the user, even over long periods of time. The 1973 Shafer Commission came to a similar conclusion, and suggested the decriminalization of the possession of marijuana. In 1988, after viewing hundreds of government documents related to marijuana substance abuse, DEA judge Francis Young stated that, “marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substance known to man”.

In 1975, anthropologist Vera Rubin, under the funding of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, published a report entitled “Ganja in Jamaica” that investigated the potential dangers of the frequent short-term or long-term use of marijuana among the people of Jamaica. The study concluded that marijuana use was responsible for the decrease in alcohol consumption within the population, that the long-term use of marijuana had no hazardous effects on mental or physical health, that there was no link between marijuana and crime or harsher drug use, and that the open-environment of marijuana use among Jamaican communities created cultural control mechanisms that governed the drug’s use. These taxpayer-funded investigations resonate with the conclusions of scientific investigations spanning decades of research with good reason.

Medicinally, Cannabis is very healthy. Cannabis seed oil is high in essential fatty acids like Omega-3 and Omega-6, and protein, all of which are necessary to the human body for building strong cells, and more importantly, healthy nervous and brain tissue. Cannabis oil and resin can be used topically to treat bruises, small infections, eczema, arthritis, body aches, and many kinds of pain. Cannabis oil and resin has a very low toxicity and can be used internally to alleviate or treat glaucoma, stress and anxiety, depression, insomnia, epilepsy, and post traumatic stress disorder, as well as to treat many of the symptoms of debilitating disorders like AIDS, and Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s Disease. Furthermore, the cannabinoids of marijuana seem to have anti-cancer properties. Recent research from scientists in the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy suggests that THC molecules produced in the resin of cannabis species actively “switch off” the growth of cancer cells in laboratory tests. If this holds true of human cancer cells, then humanity can add cancer to the long list of diseases and disorders treatable by cannabis sativa. Unfortunately, American scientists are impeded in their medical research on cannabis sativa. The War on Drugs has made legal access to this age-old medicinal plant difficult at best. (please see THE RESTORATION OF HUMAN HERITAGE ACT for all references).

The historical, scientific, and medicinal definitions of Cannabis sativa L, Cannabis indica, Cannabis ruderalis, and all parts of these plants including their oils, seeds, flowers, and leaves stands in contradiction to the government’s definition in the state of Texas and in the Federal government. As a citizen of Texas, and of the U.S., with civil liberties protected by the Constitutions of these states, I demand an account of the facts that removes the flawed prohibition of cannabis and places the practical and beneficial use of this plant back in the hands of We the People.

I offer this letter as a testimony to the court concerning the practical and reasonable application of Cannabis sativa L, Cannabis indica and all other natural Cannabis-related medicines. I implore the court to recognize the medicinal attributes of cannabis; to do otherwise would be unreasonable and detrimental to the ideals of reason and logic as it applies to civil justice and civil liberty.

Cannabis prohibition actively censors medicine, science, history, and the religious expression of shamanic practitioners that use plant medicines to heal. Cannabis prohibition is a denial of the facts of human heritage. Cannabis prohibition is an attack on the constitutional ideals of our state and nation. Cannabis prohibition must end if we are to continue to value reason, logic, facts, and human dignity within our Social Contract.

I am a decent, productive, intelligent, and compassionate citizen of Texas and of the United States of America. I want only the best for my family, my people and my government. It is unfortunate that a flawed and poorly informed act of legislation may potentially incriminate myself and other researchers, doctors, and patients. However, I stand on the side of the truth. If this places me in contradiction to the policies of my government, then it is my government that must conform. This is the America way. This is the rights expressed to me via the 1st Amendment of the Texas Constitution, and of the American Bill of Rights.
This is the truth as I know it.