In a Congressional debate on the house floor this week looking at medical marijuana and veterans care, one Tea Party favorite Congressman just couldn’t join the party. Representative John Fleming (R-LA) warned colleagues that allowing veterans to smoke pot could turn them psychotic or schizophrenic.
“As a practicing physician and a veteran myself,” Fleming stated during the April 29 legislative proceedings, “the way we approach health care is not to just allow any healthcare provider to do whatever he or she wants to do at the time. That is simply not the way health care works.”
Before we get to the bogusness of Rep. Fleming’s claims let us look at what he just said up there. He had a problem with physicians making decisions about what is best for their patient. Aren’t Republicans supposed to want the government out of health care decisions? Remember the death panels?
Oh yeah, they do want to get involved when it concerns a woman’s naughty bits. And now I guess you can add to that “if a doctor wants to recommend medical marijuana, the government needs to stop that!” Why? I’m sure the answer has to be freedom, liberty or “that’s how the founders wanted it.”
But back to the point. The claims the “doctor” (yes, Rep Fleming is a physician) make haven’t been proven at all. In fact some of the best studies say no link between marijuana and the mental health or inconclusive. Even The latest Veteran’s look at the subject says the following:
There are several ways to explain the link between cannabis use and psychosis, and a causal relationship has not yet been firmly established. Current evidence supports that cannabis is a ‘component cause’ of chronic psychosis, meaning although neither necessary nor sufficient, cannabis use at a young age increases the likelihood of developing schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders. The overall magnitude of risk appears to be modest, and cannabis use is only 1 of myriad factors that increase the risk of psychosis. Furthermore, most cannabis users do not develop psychosis. However, the risk associated with cannabis occurs during a vulnerable time of development and is modifiable.
In short, what the Veteran’s study says it’s not a cause that anyone has shown to be true.
But Rep Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), concerned that VA health care providers are prohibited by law “from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a veteran’s participation in a State medical marijuana program,” took a different approach and just fired back at Fleming with some actual facts.
“Medical marijuana is nowhere near as addictive as what is happening to our veterans right now,” Blumenauer said, “Veterans seen by agency doctors are dying from prescription drug overdoses nearly twice the national average.”
“Nobody dies from an overdose of marijuana,” Blumenauer continued, “and the VA doctors prescribe significantly more opiates, which are highly addictive, to patients with PTSD and depression than other veterans, even though those people suffering those conditions are more at risk of overdose and suicide. Get your facts straight.”
See the powerful exchange HERE: