Interviewer: When people think, a lot of people think of herbal medicine,
they think of Marijuana comes to mind right away. Is there a benefit to
that now that a lot of states are using that for medicine, medical
Roy Upton, RH, DAyu: Yes, yes. Two states just voted positively on it
Interviewer: Yeah, we're shooting this the day after the election, so yeah.
Roy: I don't know, I don't know if they approved it for recreational or
just purely medically, so.
Interviewer: Recreation in Colorado and Washington.
Roy: Yeah. Unbelievable. So the answer is, the answer is yes. Is there
medical benefit from Cannabis? The bottom-line answer is yes. Now ten years
ago a lot of folks, especially, in California, would ask me to do a radio
or, you know, segment on their stations and they would say, "And we're also
going to have a medical Cannabis person on, as well." And I would say, "You
know what? No, thank you." It's not my drug of choice. You know, I did my
own smoking in high school, but I was done before I was out of high school
and then into the Army and never went back and never did drugs after that.
But I had my experience with Cannabis and I don't have... I think it should
be legal. Personal feelings is that it should be legalized in the same way
that alcohol and the cigarettes are. Both of those of which we know are
highly detrimental to health. Cannabis has a tremendous safety record with
regards to sickness and fatalities and lung cancer, things like that. So,
that's my political position on it. But we were actually hired a commission
by the Americans for Safe Access, which is one of the primary consumer
advocacy groups for medical use of Cannabis and to do a monograph on
Cannabis. And for years I would say, "No, I don't want to mix those two
And, then, finally, my medical director, who at the time was at Yale, she
comes to me and says, "Have you ever thought about doing a monograph on
Cannabis?" I said, "Well, people have kind of, you know, tried to push me
in that direction in the past and I've never gone that way because I didn't
want to cloud those two conversations." We had enough trying to deal with
the acceptance of herbal medicine, let alone wrapping it with Cannabis
And I said, "What's your interest?" She said, "Well, I just have patients
that they're not getting any benefit from the conventional drugs, even the
Cannabis derivatives like Marinol [SP] and [inaudible 00:02:32], whatever
the abinols are and but they get benefit from either smoking or from
tinctures of Cannabis, which is non-psychoactive. Most of the tinctures are
non-psychoactive because you have to decarboxilize the THC acid into active
THC for it to be psychoactive. So many of the preparations are not
psychoactive if you make them right.
And, anyways, bottom line, I said, "No, no, I don't really want to go
there." And then she kind of pushed a little bit and said, "I think you
really should." So I then went to my board of directors and said, "What do
you think? You think we should do a... " Oh, actually I remember what
softened me on it. I saw Michael Poland [SP] on, you know, Dateline or
Charlie Rose or whatever the program was and, you know, talked about
medical use of Cannabis and in the same week somebody else was talking
about the medical use of Cannabis and in very grounded ways, you know, not
the sensualistic way. And I'm thinking, "Well, maybe the societal opinion,
just like with herbal medicine, shifted from voo-doo and wives' tales and
witchcraft to, yeah, this is real. That maybe the political and social
environment has shifted toward being more acceptable of something like
Cannabis. And I went to the board of directors and said, "What do you
think?" and to a person which also included, you know, very conservative
people that used to be in NCI and, you know, leaders in the nature-pathic
community as far as trying to put that on a solid footing and they're
saying, "Yeah, we think you should do it."
Nobody could do it as well as AHP could do it and, you know, we trust that
what comes out of that will be a real critical review of the literature.
And so we're in the middle of that now. We're planning on coming out with
that in the first quarter of 2013.
Roy Upton is the executive director of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. He discusses his opinions on medical cannabis and whether or not there is a benefit. He also talks about a review his group is doing on the subject.
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