NSAID, They Said

If I told you that I have a new drug coming to market and it was a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) but it doesn’t have any of the typical negative characteristics of NSAIDs, you would invest in my company in an instant. NSAIDs have quite a number of negatives associated with them: they increase heart-attack and stroke risk, they can cause acute renal failure, they can thin the blood and also cause gastrointestinal bleeds. It is even possible they lower sperm counts, which have dropped more than 50% over the last half-century.

My new NSAID has none of these problems. However, once I tell you that the new class of NSAIDs is a phytocannabinoid, suddenly people aren’t so interested- but they should be. Medical cannabis’ use in treating pain and its use in reducing inflammation are well-documented and, as we medical cannabis pharmacists have discovered, it is quite useful in treating patients with inflammatory diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease. So, why should we as a society ignore this incredible benefit and listen to those who disregard medical cannabis with barely a thought? Medical cannabis may need more study, but its usefulness can no longer be denied.

Who is “they” anyways? “They” are the medical community at large who stoically remain under-educated about endocannabinoid physiology and phytocannabinoid pharmacology. Although medical professionals are wont to be insulted by such a statement, they shouldn’t be. Every medical professional is under-educated in some specialty. General practitioners are under-educated on cancer relative to an Oncologist or any other specialty and no one can be a specialist in every field. However, given that the endocannabinoid system is the main homeostatic switch that governs most of mammalian physiology, all practitioners should invest in educating themselves in understanding it, especially since no major medical school, pharmacy school, or nursing school contains it in their curricula.

Medical professionals should be incredibly interested in the endocannabinoid system and its use in medicine. Cannabinoid pharmacology represents some of the only remaining unbroken ground in medicine and studying it will launch a revolution in medicine. To repeat: the endocannabinoid system is the main homeostatic switch governing nearly every aspect of mammalian physiology.

“They” are also the government that is ignoring the evidence and waging an ineffective war on drugs that has cost the lives, livelihoods, and freedom for millions. The US government is also ignoring the will of the people who are vastly in favor of medical cannabis and getting rid of the laws restricting its use.

It is time for “them”, the US Government and medical professionals in the US to realize that cannabis has medicinal use and relatively little risk of abuse and needs to be removed from schedule I so that it can be studied more freely.

Ethan Carruthers