Cognition & Reality

Friday, 3 December 2010

Lester Grinspoon

Filed under: Cannabis,Medical Morality,Propaganda,Psychomyths — drtone @ 4:21 pm

I’m reading a book that I got mainly because I loved its title, Cannabis Philosophy for Everyone: What Were We Just Talking About?. It would appear to be a philosophy textbook, for use in what course not being entirely clear. Like many academic books, it’s an edited volume, with many precincts heard from. The first chapter is by Lester Grinspoon, long the leading academic exponent of marijuana use and the liberalization of marijuana laws. The chapter is a personal account of his experience first studying and then, after becoming the author of an influential book on the subject, first using cannabis. It is an endearing self-portrait that includes his request for accounts of positive marijuana use to be sent to his website. The opportunity to read this one chapter easily repaid the cost of the book.

Although it was of interest for me as a scholar and as a cannabis user, perhaps the most important aspect of Grinspoon’s account is his description of the prejudice that existed against marijuana when he wrote his first book about it. I remember the way things were in the 60s, of course, but it had not occurred to me that the prohibition against cannabis had been bolstered by medical opinion, opinion so uniformed and distorted, as Grinspoon suggests, that it could only be considered pseudo-science. It is a perfect example of how “medical science” colludes in the production of propaganda that supports and perpetuates  distortions of fact, distortions that can have disastrous consequences.

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