The Christian Institute

News Release

BMA naive to ignore wider debate

Following the BMA report on The Therapeutic Uses of Cannabis the Christian Institute today welcomed the review of the medical evidence, conducted by Professor Heather Ashton of Newcastle University. However the Institute sharply disagreed with two of the BMA recommendations.

Speaking today Colin Hart, said

“I welcome the report’s acknowledgement that cannabis is unsuitable for medical use. (page 77)

New scientific studies are demonstrating that the drug can act on the brain just like harder drugs. The gateway theory that cannabis use leads to use of harder drugs is gaining scientific support.

It has long been known that certain cannabinoids have some limited medical uses. But highly restricted medical use is no argument for general legalisation. Rat poison and mustard gas have established medical uses, but no one argues that they should be taken for fun.

Two cannabinoids Dronabinol and Nabilone are already available to Doctors in limited circumstances. We are not against further research, but we see no reason to change the existing mechanisms for licencing from the Home Office as the BMA propose (recommendation 5).

Even with cannabinoids there can be no short circuiting of clinical trials.

In essence the BMA are seeking technical changes to ease the research framework. But it is completely wrong of the BMA to advise that the police, the courts and the prosecuting authorities should be told of ‘medicinal reasons for the unlawful use of cannabis by those suffering from certain medical conditions’ (recommendation 8). All should be equal under the law, but this recommendation hands an alibi to one category of citizens. Moreover the advice contradicts the BMA’s own evidence of the harm caused by smoking cannabis.

It is naive of the BMA to claim that this report has no relevance to the wider debate on cannabis legalisation. I wish this was true but the BMA have failed to understand how their research is being manipulated by groups whose real aim is full legalisation of drugs.

Legalisation would be an unmitigated disaster. It would be good to hear the BMA echoing such sentiments.”