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As Vice President Joe Biden prepares to host the “National Cancer Moonshot Summit” this week, and the deadline to invite researchers and the general public to submit their best ideas for accelerating cancer research draws near (July 1), we at United Patients Group want to ensure that medical cannabis is given a seat at the table via supported research and inclusion within formal clinical trials to more fully explore its potential as a viable and multi-faceted cancer treatment. With that, United Patients Group, which represents thousands of patients, families, healthcare providers, mental health professionals, nurse practitioners and others in the medical cannabis field, has penned an open letter to VP Biden, and the distinguished members of the Blue Ribbon Panel, which we submit with the hope that you will look past the stigma that has unfairly and unreasonably overshadowed medical cannabis in the United States, and break through the barriers that have kept this viable, powerful medicine from being formally examined for its healing potential, and consider medical cannabis as a natural and effective medicine that deserves to be properly researched, and therefore included, in the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative.
Dear Vice President Biden,
It is with great honor that we, the patients, families, healthcare professionals and others who make up United Patients Group, write to you today in response to your CALL FOR PUBLIC INPUT for the “National Cancer Moonshot Summit” and formation of the Blue Ribbon Panel for further cancer action and outreach.
We are energized. We are hopeful. And we enthusiastically commend your efforts to provide a national forum with the NCI in which all who are involved can come together in the spirit of collaboration and determination behind one goal: accelerating the effort behind the cure of cancer.
With this in mind, we would like you to strongly consider including cannabis research, especially in the form of evidence-based, formally sanctioned and financially supported clinical trials, in the on-going recommendations and research efforts by the Blue Ribbon Panel that will be funded by the initiative, now and in the coming years.
Citizens and Healthcare Professionals Alike Are Standing Behind Medical Cannabis as a Viable Treatment and Potential Cure for Cancer
As daily headlines and rapid state-level policy changes are now demonstrating, views about cannabis are undergoing a profound, and long overdue metamorphosis in our country. Marijuana is quickly emerging from the long-standing and wrongly-labeled cloak of being an illicit and harmful drug to its rightful place as a legal, natural, and effective medicine for the healing and prevention of a variety of disease conditions. This paradigm shift is not by accident. Indeed, it is being propelled by a collective voice of both patients and cutting-edge researchers around the globe.
Firstly, there are the thousands of individuals whose personal health stories tell of the benefits of medical cannabis use for themselves and their families. For conditions that run the gamut from fibromyalgia and PTSD to seizures and cancer, there is a growing patient voice in support of medical cannabis. In fact, a 2013 survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine and written about in the Washington Post found that 8 out of 10 doctors were in favor of medical marijuana use. In addition, a survey conducted in California, where cannabis use for medical purposes has been legal for the last 20 years, found that 92 percent of patients stated that medical marijuana alleviated the symptoms of their serious medical conditions, including chronic pain, arthritis, migraine, and cancer.
What is Needed Now: Government-Sanctioned, and Federally Funded Clinical Trials for Cannabis and Cancer
The medical cannabis wave is rolling, however, all the patient testimony and anecdotal evidence in the world is worthless without the knowledge that hard science can provide in the form of evidence-based laboratory studies and particularly government-sanctioned and federally funded clinical trials that can further pin-point how cannabinoid therapy aids in cancer treatment, healing and possibly prevention.
Unfortunately, only a handful of clinical trials have been conducted, as funding and the maneuvering of various legal hoops due to the continued classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level, continue to thwart intelligent and timely efforts concerning cannabis research to date.
Never before in the history of the world have the petty and often-misguided efforts of the few, had such a profound and damaging impact on the masses. Cannabis as a potentially powerful and transformative instrument for healing is not a frivolous and eccentric proposition. If the United States is truly interested in seizing the moment and accelerating our efforts towards turning cancer into a manageable, and potentially curable or even preventable, disease – then cannabis absolutely must be a part of that research strategy.
We couldn’t feel more passionate and emboldened when we proclaim that #CancerNEEDSCannabis. We respectfully submit our plea to you, Vice President Biden, that cannabis not be cast aside, but that it be given its rightful place in your noble and dedicated efforts to meet this tragic disease head on. We stand with you and your dedication to this cause, and our country.
Yours in health,
United Patients Group