Dear people who believe that Big Pharma is keeping marijuana illegal because they are afraid of its panaceic majesty:
Marijuana seems like it has a lot of health benefits and potential for treatment for lots of things, but it’s hardly a replacement for pharmaceutical research. For one thing, if you like having things like studies to back up the medical treatments you use before you use them, universities aren’t the only people doing those.
Pharmaceutical companies are no less in need of a critical eye than any other company, but the problem is not the drugs they produce (which go through a lot more testing and refinement to prove relative safety and efficacy than any drug I can buy on the street from someone who grew it in their yard or made it in their house). The problem is having medicine be a for-profit industry at all.
I mean, it’s not like “alternative” medicine companies are any less excited to squeeze money out of desperate sick people. At least companies whose claims are regularly evaluated by the FDA have some supervision to curb their more callous and ruthless impulses (which is not to say that they don’t have them, because they certainly do–otherwise we’d never have needed the FDA to tell them to do things like stop using antifreeze as sweetener in childrens’ medicine).
I just worry more about the companies the ones who want sick people’s money just as badly as pharmaceutical companies but don’t have to jump through ANY of the regulatory hoops that actual medicine needs to be put through.
I know this is sort of a tangent, but just because pharmaceutical companies are run by brutal and callous assholes who think that other people’s sickness should be an opportunity for profit doesn’t mean that people selling alternatives to medicine are being hocked by people who are terribly different. Those people just aren’t required to prove anything about their drugs, because as long as they don’t actually make real claims to safety or efficacy they can sell whatever they want and imply that it’s safe and effective.
So it’s more than big pharma. It’s the entire for-profit medical industry. The naturopaths and the homeopaths and the people who want to twist your spine to cure your diabetes and the people who think you can treat cancer by holding a crystal and standing with one foot in a patch of clover while you rub garlic into the sole of the other foot or whatever the heck are all playing the same game, and it’s the game that screws people over.
And yet we have people (probably on both sides of the political divide, but I’ve encountered them most on the left) who are more suspicious of the people who are legally required to disclose the limitations and side-effects of what they sell than the people who can sell whatever they want as long as they do it in entirely-unregulated supplement circles.
But again. Focusing on “big pharma” as though they’re some kind of uniquely evil cabal of kitten-eating reptilians from outer space seems short-sighted to me. As the kids these days put it (or perhaps as they used to put it like twenty years ago, I dunno): Don’t hate the player, hate the game. I would add that you can hate the player if you want, but at least try and give the side-eye to the other players, too. It’s never just one.
A person who treats her illnesses with science, not conspiracy theories or magic.