US crackdown on medical marijuana threatens a dad's search to halt son's epilepsy

In the Los Angeles Times, a really great feature about how the Obama administration's assault on medical marijuana dispensaries threatens one father's search for cannabidiol, which has helped reduce the severity and frequency of his 6-year-old son's seizures from Dravet syndrome.


  1. The fact that cannabidiol is criminalized proves drug prohibition is not about someone getting high, it’s about the medical profession maintaining a monopoly on healing.

    If David has not yet tried a super-high-fat diet for his son, he should.

    1. There are two major problems with that reasoning. First off, whether or not cannabidiol is illegal is very difficult to say. It is certainly difficult to obtain due to the criminalization of cannabis, but it is not itself scheduled by the DEA. Whether or not it qualifies as an analogue has, as far as I can tell, not been tested.

      Secondly, “cannabidiol is criminalized [because it is considered an analogue of THC]” is terribly weak evidence for “blah blah medical profession blah blah monopoly”, and isn’t remotely “proof”. The fact is that the Analogue Act is simply one of those dumb laws designed to make law enforcement easier at the expense of criminalizing benign activity. There’s no need to postulate a conspiracy; it happens all the time. When you have a situation where a law is easy to circumvent (e.g. tacking something onto a molecule to make it a “different drug”), legislators are all too happy to wield a blunt weapon, unintended consequences be damned.

      The reality is that there are many reasons for the continuation of drug prohibition, almost none of which are noble. Probably more than anything, it continues because an enemy that can be fought valiantly and never beaten is a politician’s best friend (see every other “War on [abstract concept]”).

      As for the high fat diet thing; could work, but the evidence is sparse. A handful of small longitudinal studies don’t tell us much more than “we should probably fund some more research in this area”.

      1.  Your critique of my use of the word “proves” is quite valid, as is your political criticism.  It’s really the whole fabric, not one thread, that makes the tapestry.  But it’s equally valid to characterize the AMA as a job protection racket, that cynically manipulates people’s fear of malpractice and childish reverence for physicians to fleece the public.  Every year I am forced to pay off members of a government chartered gang (whose monopoly is violently enforced using my tax dollars) before I am allowed to purchase the medicine I require, which is artificially kept at a high price by drug prohibition and violent aggression against free lancers.  I am far more educated than my doctor, and far more familiar with my unique medical needs, but I have to have her written permission before I may legally buy the materials I need in order to live without crippling illnesses.

        I strongly disagree with your characterization of my high fat diet suggestion.  It is not appropriate for a parent to wait patiently for approval while their child suffers.  My daughter would be dead or blind today if I took the advice “we should probably fund more research in this area!”  Science is not waiting for papers to be published, or taxing people to build a larger medical research racket; science is guessing (hypothesis), trying stuff (experimentation) and seeing what happens (observation).  There is no need to force our families to suffer while we wait for an overprivileged priesthood to take action, and Mr. David seems perfectly competent to experiment with a high fat diet for his son.

    2.  He could try intermittent fasting. My husband hasn’t had a seizure in the four weeks he’s been fasting one day a week. I don’t know how you’d go about forcing a six year old to fast though.

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