Medical cannabis: Be informed and challenge the myths Medical cannabis is a treatment option with a low risk of dependence, minimal side effects, and few detrimental health effects, that has the potential to help hundreds of thousands of people suffering from various debilitating symptoms. Medical cannabis has gotten a bad rap over the past several decades in the United States due to laws put into place in the early-mid ...

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Colorado and Washington are the first states to legalize recreational marijuana.  In my state of Colorado, Amendment 64 was passed by 55 percent of voters by ballot referendum last year and took effect on January 1 of this year.  State government officials are giddy with the prospects of increased revenue from marijuana sales.  Marijuana tourism is booming in Colorado, giving new meaning to “Rocky Mountain High.”  Now, four months into this new experiment, it may be worth looking ...

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In the contest to get a creative name, few pathogens have done worse than hepatitis C. In the 1970s there were two known viruses that caused hepatitis: liver inflammation. You might have already guessed that these two viruses were called hepatitis A and hepatitis B. It was known at that time that people sometimes developed hepatitis after blood transfusions and that the majority of those patients tested negative for hepatitis ...

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How crazy is it to drug babies? It was shocking enough to discover that 20% of teenage boys get labelled as having ADHD, and 10% are on stimulant medications for it.  That 11% of all kids aged 4-18 get the diagnosis of ADHD, and 6% the drugs.  That stimulant prescriptions and pharma profits are skyrocketing all around the world.  And that ADHD guidelines encourage making the diagnosis and starting the drugs ...

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The United States of America is addicted to narcotics.  I do not mean the millions of individuals who are hooked.  I mean the whole nation is jonesing for the stuff.  I also do not mean the junk that slips into our nation in coffee cans or across midnight borders.  I mean the billions of pills pouring off assembly lines.  I could blame pharma or the FDA, but the truth is ...

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I was recently on the Katie Couric Show to discuss integrative medicine. Somewhat ironically, I returned from Manhattan that same day to a waiting email from a colleague, forwarding me a rather excoriating critique of integrative medicine and asking me for my opinion. The juxtaposition, it turns out, was something other than happenstance. The Cleveland Clinic has recently introduced the use of herbal medicines as an option for its patients, generating considerable media ...

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I give what could be lethal injections for a living. That’s right. Nearly every day I give someone an injection of midazolam, vecuronium, and an IV solution containing potassium chloride–the three drugs in the “cocktail” that was supposed to kill convicted murderer Clayton Lockett quickly and humanely in Oklahoma. Here’s the difference between an executioner and me. I use those medications as they are intended to be used, giving anesthesia to my ...

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I get asked a lot about essential oils.  I answer very little. Why? The answer is simply that we don’t know much about how or if they work.  Except from stories about how they have helped certain people in certain situations, no one has done a large studies to truly evaluate their effectiveness or safety. The main explanation for why they are used is that people (parents) are simply looking for something that’s an alternative to ...

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The debate over e-cigarettes has been heating up. Are the smokeless, battery-powered, nicotine-dispensing devices a gateway to smoking for young people or a helpful way for smokers to quit? Public health experts can be found on both sides of the debate. An article in the New York Times cited two leading figures, Dr. Michael Siegler from Boston University and Dr. Stanton A. Glantz from the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. ...

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A recent ProPublica expose co-published with the Boston Globe typifies a growing gotcha genre of health journalism that portrays doctors as the enemy in a struggle for honesty and openness in medicine. These reports make unfounded leaps in their efforts to subject doctors to levels of skepticism once reserved for politicians and lawyers. They’re going to end up doing patients a disservice. For this particular hunting expedition ProPublica set its sights on ...

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