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July 16, 2006

Listening to cannabis

The title was chosen to highlight one of the first things I learned about cannabis and its users after agreeing to screen candidates for 'pot recommendations' at an Oakland  Buyers' Club (not the OCBC) in late 2001. I had seen several references to Kramer's book after it was published in 1993 and may have even read a review or two, but had no more than passing interest in Prozac or any of the other SSRIs at the time because I was then a chest surgeon, who had yet to discover drug policy issues and hadn't ever been actively involved with treatment of  "depression." Besides, I'd gone semi retired in '94 and wasn't writing many prescriptions.

Today, when I read a review of Kramer's book by someone even more committed to regressive psychoanalysis than he apparently was, I quickly caught a sense of both his (and Kramer's) disapproval of Prozac's potential for obviating so much of what Psychiatry is/was all about. Yet, Kramer had obviously been so impressed with Prozac's therapeutic benefits that the reviewer faithfully reported that fact before adding a note of disapproval so mild that it would be easily missed by a casual reader.

That review made me eager to read the book, but I was completely frustrated by the impenetrability of my old sources at Amazon.com; thus I started Googling 'cannabis, Prozac' and soon found an item by Phillip Dawdy which had appeared both in the Seattle weekly and on the Alternet in August 2004.

Dawdy's article was enlightening in a number of ways:

1) A lot of what I had been somewhat surprised to learn from and about patients had already been suspected in 2004. Nevertheless, my work goes a lot further than those suspicions because it's based on longitudinal data supplied by real people who now are organized as a registry.

2) The drug policy reform 'movement' which claims to speak for medical users has missed the most important way in which pot is being used as 'medicine.' That includes Lester Grinspoon whose quoted complaint about IRBs is very weak tea; compared to the stir that would be caused by endorsement/replication of my work by those (relatively few) California physicians in a position to do so. So far, that hasn't happened; for reasons neither they nor reform will discuss with me.

3) The links supplied by the Alternet Drug Reporter are contemporary; in other words, the people who wrote articles on behalf of DPA, MPP, and ASA are clearly way behind where Phil Dawdy was in 2004.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at July 16, 2006 02:45 AM


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