Journal of the California Cannabis Research Medical
Dr. Leveque's Unspoken Message
Just as in California very few doctors were willing to
approve the medical use of marijuana after the voters made it legal
in 1996, so, too, in Oregon there was widespread reluctance. In fact,
only one doctor was known to have a fearless, unbegrudging attitude
back in ‘98: Phil Leveque. And so Leveque, a then-78-year-old PhD pharmacologist
and doctor of osteopathy, started seeing Oregonians whose regular doctors
wouldn’t sign their applications for state-issued medical marijuana
cards. Or who didn’t want to ask, or didn’t have regular doctors.
Leveque’s license was suspended for three months in 2002 because he hadn’t
been conducting physicals (which were not explicitly required) or keeping records
(for security reasons). The Board created “the Leveque Rule,” insisting on
physical exams, and Leveque hired a physician’s assistant to conduct them when
he resumed practice. But his license was suspended against last December, and
he is convinced that the medical board is out to get him as payback for the
dent he made in Prohibition.
This Saturday Leveque will be speaking in Fort Bragg at the Medical Marijuana
Patients’Union conference. He wrote the following speech for presentation to
the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and
Human Resources, after being invited to testify on April 1.
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee and hardworking staff;
Thank you for inviting me here today to dispel many of the myths about cannabis — which
has in fact been used as medicine for at least five thousand years.
Let me introduce myself by saying that I am a World War II veteran and survivor
of General Patton’s army; I was a scout and point man in the infantry. Today
I am taking care of more than 500 veterans of all wars, including World War
I have been a professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology for 25 years in ten
different medical schools throughout the United States, including Georgetown
University, and I have studied cannabis for more than 50 years.
Medical testing on cannabis was conducted by Lilly, Parke-Davis, Squibb, and
Merck, long before the U.S. Food & Drug Administration ever existed. Until
1937, when it became no longer legal, Cannabis had been prescribed or recommended
for more than 100 medical conditions listed in the U.S. Dispensatory, a reference
guide for pharmacists. Current medical research has affirmed those earlier
Cannabis is used medicinally by 70,000 California permit-holders today. In
Oregon, 10,000 patients have permits; their applications have been signed by
1,300 different physicians.
Ten states in our country already accept cannabis as treatment for glaucoma,
HIV/AIDS, cancer, the wasting disease of cancer and the side-effects of cancer
therapy, Alzheimer’s rage, severe nausea, epilepsy, spasmodic muscle conditions
(including those of the intestine), asthma and severe pain of any origin.
If cannabis use were harmful, that would certainly be a well-known statistic.
It is not. In fact, there has not been a single medical report of fatal overdose
of cannabis. It is less dangerous than Washington D.C. water.
In my experience, the average patient in Oregon is 47 years of age, has used
cannabis effectively for about 30 years, and has abandoned standard medications
like morphine. Patients tell me and other physicians that cannabis is more
effective for them than any of the standard pharmaceuticals that they had been
prescribed - including Marinol, the ten-dollar-a-pill synthetic form of THC.
(You will be interested to know that Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Program saves
the VA and the state millions of dollars.)
The Oregon Medical Marijuana Law requires that the doctor see the patient face-to-face
before signing the Attending Physician Statement. All of my patients were given
physical examinations, had a review of previous doctors’ records with an evaluation
of the therapy the patient had received. If the sum total of documentation
and an observation indicated patient eligibility, I would then confirm the
previous doctors’ records and sign the application for the permit. After the
eligible patients received the signed application, they would send the application
to the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program office, which issues the permit.
I do not approve, recommend, or prescribe marijuana. My role is to document
whether said patient, in my opinion, has one of the ailments that the State
of Oregon has determined may be aided by the use of cannabis under the State
of Oregon rules and guidelines. This is the procedure I follow, and to the
best of my knowledge and understanding it complies with “the Leveque Rule.” -
The Oregon Medical Marijuana Law.
I thank you for this interview for myself, my 4000 patients, my 500 veterans
and the 600,000 Oregonians who overwhelmingly voted to legalize Medical Marijuana
back in 1998.
On the eve of his trip, Leveque was talked out of going to Washington
by the Marijuana Policy Project’s “Congressional Liaison,” Steve
is the journal of the CCRMG/SCC. Our primary goals are the same
as the stated goals of any
reputable scientific publication: to bring out findings that are
accurate, duplicable, and useful to the community at large. But in
order to do this, we have to pursue parallel goals such as removing
the impediments to clinical research created by Prohibition, and
educating our colleagues, co-workers and patients as we educate ourselves
about the medical uses of cannabis.
| The Society
of Cannabis Clinicians (SCC) was formed in the Autumn of 2004 by
the member physicians of CCRMG
to aid in the promulgation of voluntary standards for clinicians
engaged in the recommendation and approval of cannabis under California
law (HSC §11362.5).
As the collaborative effort continues to move closer to issueing
guidelines, this site serves as a public venue for airing and
discussing these guidelines.
Visit the SCC Site for more information.