Pub­lic ‘lied’ to about weed

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - NINA HINDMARSH

The New Zealand govern­ment should stop ‘‘ly­ing’’ to its people over medic­i­nal cannabis, a vis­it­ing doc­tor says.

United States physi­cian Dr David Bear­man, who spe­cialises in medic­i­nal cannabis ef­fects and pain re­lief, said As­so­ciate Health Min­is­ter Peter Dunne needed some re­me­dial ed­u­ca­tion on cannabis.

‘‘And he needs to stop talk­ing out of both sides of his mouth. I don’t see how on the one hand, he can say there’s no ev­i­dence that cannabis is medicine and then on the other hand ap­prove Sa­tivex, which is tinc­ture of cannabis — it’s liq­uid cannabis.’’

How­ever, Dunne said Bear­man’s com­ments were inac- cu­rate, ig­no­rant, abu­sive and illinformed.

‘‘As such they are nei­ther worth com­ment­ing upon fur­ther, nor tak­ing in any way se­ri­ously.’’

Bear­man said the people of New Zealand ‘‘need to un­der­stand that its govern­ment has been ly­ing to them’’. ‘‘Much the same as the US govern­ment has lied to the Amer­i­cans. But for­tu­nately for us, since 1997 we have been able to get more physi­cians to un­der­stand cannabis and the en­do­cannabi­noid sys­tem and help mil­lions of people with a broad spec­trum of dis­eases.’’

Bear­man was in Nel­son on Satur­day and Golden Bay on Mon­day with his talk, ‘‘Medic­i­nal Use of Cannabis, What can New Zealand Learn?’’ Over 300 people in to­tal at­tended the events in the Boathouse and Golden Bay Com­mu­nity Cen­tre. He also made a pre­sen­ta­tion in Welling­ton and Christchurch, and at the Christchurch hos­pi­tal’s grand rounds. The ex­pert speaker and au­thor has treated thou­sands of people with medic­i­nal cannabis in Cal­i­for­nia for a wide-range of con­di­tions.

He has also made hun­dreds of pre­sen­ta­tions to pro­fes­sional and lay au­di­ences on med­i­cal mar­i­juana, drug abuse treat­ment and preven­tion, and the ori­gins of Amer­i­can drug pol­icy.

It was crit­i­cal New Zealand med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers were ed­u­cated on the the body’s largest neu­ro­trans­mit­ter sys­tem — the en­do­cannabi­noid sys­tem.

‘‘In the States, only 13 per cent of med­i­cal schools teach about the en­do­cannabi­noid sys­tem. I would like to see all the med­i­cal schools in New Zealand in­sti­tute a course on it.‘‘

The en­do­cannabi­noid sys­tem was im­por­tant in terms of home­osta­sis, reg­u­lat­ing our bod­ies and keep­ing us healthy.

Cannabis has been used as a medicine for more than 4000 years.

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