O’Shaughnessy’s online featured an article by Fred Gardner taking an in-depth look at a rollback effort planned between government and the pharmaceutical industry since voters opted for legalized medical marijuana in 1996.
The situation becomes heated as the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) is pushing guidelines to investigate cannabis clinicians. The number of patients being approved and the number of plants authorized are being looked into.
This might lead to physicians who medicate with cannabis losing their licenses based on an assumption of impairment.
There are rumors that some state medical boards and departments of public health have restricting cannabis approval policies already in place. Four Colorado physicians’ licenses were recently suspended for authorizing too many patients to grow too many plants.
Steve Robinson, MD who drafted a letter to the FSMB on behalf of the 270-member Society of Cannabis Clinicians reckons the Medical Board of California will adopt the FSMB’s “Model Guidelines for the Recommendation of Marijuana in Patient Care” in the very near future.
Epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose
The FSMB has been the mouthpiece of big Pharma since the 90’s. Funded by opioid manufacturers, they pushed for less restrictive prescribing guidelines contributing to the current epidemic of addiction and overdose.
Synthetic opioids were only prescribed for cancer pain and short-term pain in the past. Since the 90’s, studies downplayed the risk of addiction and were funded by manufacturers. This led to the widespread prescription of opioids for any pain such as back and neck pain
The FSMB was pushing guidelines which encouraged a more lenient approach to opioid prescription since 2004. . An estimated 2.1 million people in the US suffered opioid addiction related disorders in 2012 and numbers kept rising. In 2012 John Fauber blew the whistle on the FSMB in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MedPage.
He wrote that the FSMB often develop guidelines that serve as model policies to improve medical practice. The guideline for treating chronic pain was adopted as a model policy, and Purdue Pharmaceuticals paid $100,000 for printing and distributing the new policy to 700,000 practicing doctors.
The $100,000 was a small down payment on the $3.1 million that followed to get word to medical practitioners about the “safe” use of opioids to treat chronic pain.
There are two major concerns regarding current conflicts of interest in the guidelines to cannabis doctors. The first is a clause that states that physicians should “not be associated in any way” with a dispensary or cultivation center. This wording is more restrictive than the original recommendation of the FSMB and would impede collaboration between physicians, dispensaries and cultivators to study the specific cannabinoid/terpenoid ratio most beneficial to patients. In absence of much-needed clinical trials this data collection could prove most valuable.
The second worrying recommendation reads, “State medical and osteopathic boards advise their licensees to abstain from the use of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes while actively engaged in the practice of medicine.” This does not appear in the model guidelines developed by the FSMB adopted as policy earlier this year.
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No more surprises, please
Don’t be surprised if we learn more of past relationships between the FSMB and Big Pharma as the Senate Finance Committee releases its report on “an investigation into financial ties between drug manufacturers and medical organizations that were setting guidelines for opioid use.” Says Thacker, aide to Senator Grassley.
Cannabis doctors can recommend CBD without any prescription.
The reason why non-psychoactive hemp became criminalized might also become apparent soon as the plot thickens and the storm around cannabis doctors gains momentum. Sit tight and let’s see if the truth will out.