Dr. David Bearman – Cannabis and Cancer Interview at Nimbin MardiGrass 2017

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Dr. David Bearman, one of the leading physicians in the field of medical Cannabis in the United States was visiting Nimbin, Australia for the 25th MardiGrass event, where he shared his knowledge and experience about Cannabis and cancer.

Dr. Bearman has 40 years experience working in substance and drug abuse treatment and prevention programs and he promotes the clinical application of cannabis and cannabinoids as a physician in Goleta, CA.

He is also the author of Drugs Are NOT the Devil’s Tools: How Discrimination and Greed Created a Dysfunctional Drug Policy and How It Can Be Fixed in 2 volumes.

Dr. Bearman’s below message to Australians was shared in the Nimbin MardiGrass event publication:

“With strong support in Australia for medical cannabis from the likes of conservative radio host Alan Jones, activist Lucy Haslam, Dr. Richard Di Natale, leader of the Greens Party and the Prime Minister; it’s the time for private and government entities to sponsor first class Australian research on cannabis anti-cancer effects. This potential therapeutic benefit of cannabis cannot and should not be ignored any longer. As the U.S. heads into the Trump era, America appears to be abdicating its role as a scientific leader. There is a vacuum that you in Australia can fill.”

Dr. Bearman’s fascinating presentation attracted a large number of people to the Nimbin Town Hall and many were lining up to ask questions after his speech.

I had the privilege to sit down with him to ask a few questions myself and tried to record it for you. We were in a restaurant while the MardiGrass was going on with 10,000 people spread all across the town, so there was a considerable background noise as you can imagine.

I apologize for that and just in case you’d rather read the transcript of Dr. David Bearman’s answers to my questions, we posted that below for you.

Do you think regular Cannabis consumption could be beneficial to help prevent cancer? Considering the high doses needed to fight cancer?

The main study that I’m familiar with is Dr. Tashkin’s study. Tashkin is a pulmonologist at UCLA. And he found basically that the more Cannabis that you smoke the less likely you would get lung cancer.

Interestingly enough, a similar study that had far fewer participants was done in New Zealand and it had exactly the same outcome, except the last little box of those who were heavy users of Cannabis had too few people in it in order to be statistically significant, and so those results should not have come out.

When those results were included then, with that box that wouldn’t mean anything that would show that it was an increase.

The United States government chose to ignore the results of Tashkin’s 2100 patient study and instead emphasized the statistically not significant finding in the New Zealand study, which except for the box that wasn’t significant had exactly the same findings that Tashkin’s, except that. wasn’t as powerful since it only had 300 participants instead of 2100 participants.

I mean, this is part of the mendacity of the government and trying to marginalize these kinds of findings. And it’s been difficult to get the United States government to be involved in funding or providing Cannabis to do these kinds of studies.

Now, some of these studies are finally being done privately funded, although it is not easy to get the funding. My understanding was that Dr. Sean McAllister, who’s done research with breast cancer mice was now had the approval and I don’t know whether was the approval of the State of California, the approval of the federal government to do research with breast cancer and he is still looking for funding. I mean you’d think that the federal government would provide funding for.

Now, one of the nice things in California in regards to research and funding for research, we recently passed Proposition 64 which legalized the recreational use of Cannabis and one of the little goodies in there is that 2 million dollars of the taxes are directed will go for research. Whether it is cancer research or not really depends on the creativity and the energy and interest of the research community. But I would be very surprised if there weren’t a lot of researchers who had an interest in the use of Cannabis to treat cancer that wouldn’t try to go after that when they do trials.

How do you think the adult use legalisation in California going to affect the cause of Cannabis in the US?

Well, the Sacramento Bee contacted me and several other physicians and asked slightly different but related question, is how do you think this will affect your business as a physician that recommends medical Cannabis? And I was surprised that all of us agreed and we have never talked to each other about it. We all separately thought that it would increase our business. And the reporter was somewhat surprised. I said, look I think it will decrease the business of those doctors who are catering to beyond really just want to protect themselves from being arrested. And not that there is anything wrong with that but they don’t really have any significant medical issues. And I said I think that this is going to make it more susceptible and more acceptable to people who are in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s that it will decrease the stigma enough that they will reach out to reputable physicians to try to get recommendations.

Now, in terms of how this will affect the rest of the United States, that‘s hard to say. Because, you know California has a reputation for being a place full of fruits and nuts, right? And you know there is a joke about the tilt theory in the US that if you tilt up the US towards the west coast all the loose nuts and flakes gravitate there. And so when you have changes in Washington, Oregon and in California there is a certain amount of skepticism in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia. And I think you’ll continue to see that kind of skepticism until we have some celebrity, you know the US is enamored with celebrities.

Look at the president of United States who knows not one thing about how to be a politician.

And so one of these days a specialist, a celebrity is going to come out and we have a few celebrities, it’s not that nobody has come out but we will be going to have more and more. And when the right celebrity comes out, somebody who is seen as salt of the earth or seen as conserver and so forth….

 I think that is probably gonna have a bigger impact than the fact that we’ve legalised the recreational use of Cannabis. Because I think many places in the rest of the United States they figured, well that is just a bunch of crazies or they are just a bunch of Hillary Clinton supporters and there’s not going to pay any attention to what the people in California think is the way to go…

Do you think the United States is going to catch up to the likes of Israel, Spain, and Italy in the field of research into the medical benefits of Cannabis for cancer?

I think that the United States is running way behind Spain and Israel, and Italy. Where I think they are doing a lot more aggressive research with less interference from the government. I think there is still is this certain hesitancy out there to fully accept and integrate the use of medicinal Cannabis into mainstream medicine. But the longer we go along the more that’s happening. And I do think that people like Manuel Guzman and Raphael Mechoulam and his whole lab and also the researchers in Italy have a lot more support, and I think we are going to see the cancer agenda pushed more by European researchers than by American researchers because there are far fewer hoops for them to jump through.

Now, that’s said and having made my remark about Trump I heard a presentation at a conference in Long Beach, California called, ‘The State of Marijuana’ and one of the speakers was, one of the more conservative members of the House delegation from California, a man named Dana Rohrbacher, who’s also very supportive of marijuana. He is a surfer. And he said that he thought that Mr. Trump would legalise marijuana because and he said that Trump had used topical application of tincture Cannabis to deal with arthritis in his shoulders. Trump is extraordinarily unpredictable, he is all over the map but if Trump would come out and say hey I used Cannabis, it helped me and I’m going to reschedule to Schedule 2, you’ve got a whole new ball game. Absolutely.

Thank you, thank you so much. My pleasure, I enjoyed it. Thank you. Sorry to hold up your food.  

To find out more about David Bearman, M.D. visit davidbearmanmd.com and Drugs Are Not The Devil’s Tools for more information on his book. 

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