26 | David Nathan, M.D., Doctors for Cannabis Regulation

As cannabis science unfolds, the medical profession is catching up to the healing and protective powers of the plant, thanks in large part to organizations like Doctors for Cannabis Regulation. Founder David Nathan, M.D. joins us to talk about how DFCG helps shape cannabis policy, the non-profit's involvement with NFL players, and much more.

Kannaboomers: (00:00)

Hey, it's Tom. Welcome back to the Kannaboomers podcast. This is episode 26. You know we talk a lot about wellness and the ways in which cannabis can help you live a better life, and I don't know about you, but anytime I've brought it up to a doctor, I've been disappointed in the response. A lot of times they don't even know the difference between CBD and THC. They aren't advocates for it, in my experience. So we went looking for somebody who represents the opposite point of view and we found Dr. David Nathan, a psychiatrist in Princeton, New Jersey, also founder and board president of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation and he talks about a partnership with the NFL that they have about what you and I can do to help move the movement forward and lots of other things in this episode. I think you'll enjoy it. As always, come by and see us at kannaboomers.com and as always, thanks to Danny and Milwaukee for helping us put this episode together. Hope you enjoy it. Here is Dr. David Nathan.

Kannaboomers: (00:54)

This is Let's Talk About Weed, the Kannaboomers podcast, CBD micro-dosing, and all things related to medical cannabis for baby boomers from San Diego. Here's your host, Thomas J.

Kannaboomers: (01:06)

Dr Nathan, I want to thank you for taking the time. I know you're a busy guy. You have lots going on there in Princeton, New Jersey.

Nathan: (01:11)

Hi. Thank you so much for having me. Tom.

Kannaboomers: (01:14)

So, you're in private practice and three years ago you started Doctors for Cannabis Regulation.

Nathan: (01:19)

That's right. Doctors for Cannabis Regulation is the first and leading national physicians’ association dedicated to the legalization, taxation and, above all, the effective regulation of cannabis in the United States.

Kannaboomers: (01:33)

Well, that's a big mission. We're at a point in time where there's more and more people realizing that the old prohibition was not a great idea. It was an unjust prohibition and a lot of that can be refuted now and your organization walks a fine line between being a pure advocate for usage and just stepping back from prohibition. Is that accurate?

Nathan: (01:57)

Yeah. I think if you had to categorize one aspect of our work or to boil it down to one particular direction, we're not so much pro-cannabis as we are anti prohibition. It's not enough to simply say, “Well, the drug shouldn't be prohibited.” What we really need is effective regulation that serves the interest of both public health and social justice. And social justice is highly relevant for two reasons. One is that the war on drugs and specifically the war on cannabis has had devastating effects on communities of color and inner cities. Um, it has also been one of the biggest factors to a worsen than the poverty of the impoverished in this country. And by doing so, it has limited access to healthcare because there is no demographic feature of an individual will limit his or her access to health care nearly as much as poverty does. So, we're really fighting against prohibition. We're fighting against the foolishness of trying to prohibit a drug that is less harmful for adults than alcohol and tobacco. We're also fighting against poverty when we're doing what we're doing. I think that's why we've met with so much success among doctors is that, regardless of your opinion on the affirmative medical uses of cannabis, it is essential that it be regulated well, and I think doctors are coming to understand that more and more.

Kannaboomers: (03:37)

When you talk about, um, regulation, is there a model for it? Are we talking about how we regulate alcohol or tobacco or pharmaceuticals, or is there a different thing that you have in mind?

Nathan: (03:48)

I would say it's different. People ask me, “Do you think that we should regulate cannabis like alcohol and tobacco?” And my answer is no. I think we need to do a better job because we really haven't, as a nation done a great job of making sure that our, our laws and regulations around tobacco and alcohol reflecting the needs of public health in this country. I think with cannabis being a legal industry built from the ground up and essentially starting from scratch as far as regulations go, we can really do a much better job. And that's why Doctors for Cannabis Regulation has a Platform of Regulations that you can find on our website, which is dfcr.org, or doctorsforcannabisregulation.org and this is a set of seven principles that really outline what essential features any cannabis legal framework and regulatory framework should have. The first three are public health issues regarding government oversight, proper labeling and prevention of underage use. The last four of them are about social justice, proper taxation of adult use cannabis to fund equity programs in the communities hardest hit by the drug war, and those are, of course, mostly communities of color. We actually recommend that states institute limited home cultivation to allow limited home cultivation by private individuals. We also favor, of course, expungement of cannabis arrests, charges and convictions from all criminal records. And then to the degree to which people are still stuck in the system where they are still either on probation or incarcerated, we believe that there should be re sentencing because expungement is a little bit different than re-sentencing. So, we need to do that as well. Finally, as a matter of social justice and also just as a matter of practicality in this country, we need to bring the communities of color into this new industry to give them a chance to bring jobs into their communities that have been so devastated by the prohibition of drugs.

Kannaboomers: (06:06)

Well those are some big goals, and I've heard you mentioned several times already, social justice and that's a big component of this and I noticed you wrote the Declaration of Principles, right?

Nathan: (06:16)

I would say about 90% of it was mine.

Kannaboomers: (06:18)

And the first one was, “We believe cannabis prohibition is harmful.” And I guess that dovetails nicely with every physician's first rule is first do no harm. Right?

Nathan: (06:28)

Exactly. And when you lay it out that way – you listed the first of three things and I imagine you're going to talk about the other two – but the harm of prohibition, the failure of prohibition in its most basic intent and the lack of real necessity of prohibition against adult use a, those are really the three core issues that doctors connect most with. When thinking about the merits of our cannabis policy, I'll take a second just to back up and say that we all drew, I dunno about you, but myself and the people around me, we all grew up as drug warriors. We grew up believing that drugs were bad, that the people who use them were bad, and that the people who had anything to do with the distribution of these drugs were unworthy of their freedom. It's hard when you've been indoctrinated in that point of view to think differently, even when presented with evidence showing that the prohibition, particularly the prohibition of cannabis – which I think more doctors regarding as kind of a no-brainer, when you get the evidence about the harms of prohibition relative to the potential health harms of cannabis – it's not a close call. It took me a little while in medical school to start understanding this. I think that there are many doctors who still haven't gotten there yet, and that's part of our mission at DFCR. You might think with us discussing regulations and trying to spread our message, that it's a very big lift. But when you think about where we're coming from, it's not a very heavy lift when the facts, are so clearly aligned on the side of regulation over prohibition or even regulation over decriminalization.

Kannaboomers: (08:18)

Couple of things you noted there, the long standing narrative that we all grew up with, it's not an overnight thing to overturn all the subtle things that, that stay in people's minds about this substance. Even though as you say that the evidence now is overwhelming and I guess on the Internet you can spread the word faster than, than you could during those 70 to 100 years of prohibition. But the cat's out of the bag now there's more and more studies. There's just more evidence that no one has ever died from this plant and it has a lot of efficacy as a medicine for a number of conditions.

Nathan: (08:50)

Sure. No, I, I completely agree with that.

Kannaboomers: (08:53)

Yeah. The, the first principle is, “we believe cannabis prohibition is harmful.? Second one is “we believe cannabis prohibition is ineffective.” And then, “we believe cannabis prohibition is unnecessary.” Have you gotten traction? How big is Doctors for Cannabis Regulation now?

Nathan: (09:08)

But we've actually never really done a recruiting campaign and that's on our strategic plan for this year. But we already have hundreds of doctors who signed up just by word of mouth and many of those doctors are actually spokespeople. So we have a very active membership. We also have an incredibly active board of physicians and one of the leading pharmacists on cannabis as medicine and several nonprofit experts in the field of social justice, and people are really working well together to promote the message. We've done so on an almost completely volunteer basis. It’s really heartening to know that doctors whose schedules are so busy find this important enough to put in the time to go to their state legislature and testify to write opinion articles for local newspapers as well as national publications and to be interviewed and to take speaking opportunities both in front of their fellow physicians and healthcare providers, but also before the general public, because I think the case needs to be made to both groups. You talk about the Internet as being a major factor, I do see a certain parallel between the change in the public's attitude toward cannabis legalization, which as I'm sure your listeners know, is now supported by a majority of both Democrats and Republicans in this country. So it's, it's one of those few true bipartisan issues. I think the reason a public opinion has changed so radically is because of the availability of good information and not just this sort of fear mongering cherry picked data that that has often characterized our nation's approach to drug policy. That's somewhat akin to the change that we saw with marriage equality. People had clearly changed their minds about marriage equality from 10 years prior to when the Supreme Court ruled on it up until that point because people understood that this really isn't a threat to our society. The idea of doing this is not hurting anyone. And the idea of making changes in how our government treats these things is actually good for everybody.

Kannaboomers: (11:24)

You mentioned, um, taxation once or twice. That's another avenue to go down in terms of policy and why it makes sense to make this change and it's happening state by state. None of us have a crystal ball, but are you hopeful for a federal de-schedulization and an eventual legalization?

Nathan: (11:44)

of course I'm hopeful because the majority of Americans are behind it and the numbers just keep going up. so I think even the opposition, this as mostly a matter of time, and my real disappointment in the opposition is not so much that they have concerns because their concerns can be legitimate. It's that they're not really helping in coming up with actual solutions. They say they favor decriminalization, which would reduce penalties on users, but would still prosecute the supply chain and we can talk about why that's a terrible idea. Better than prohibition, but not a lot better. The regulation is really where the changes can be made that best bring cannabis under control. Taxation is an interesting issue because on the one hand you want to generate revenue that is good for the government, and that would suggest that we want to have higher taxes on cannabis. Another reason to have higher taxes is that when you look at potentially harmful behaviors, whether it's gambling or alcohol consumption or tobacco use, we may not feel particularly enthusiastic about the government profiting from these industries. But one of the few things that's known to reduce tobacco use for example, is the cost of the tobacco. So, taxes actually have been effective in bringing down the costs of tobacco. And before your listeners start writing their emails, I will now give the other point of view, which is that you can't tax the market too high for a few reasons. One is that it's simply not proper because taxes on things like tobacco, as on other kinds of products that are taxed, those taxes are often regressive in the sense that they tend to tax mostly people of more modest means. So that's one issue with making taxes too high, making taxes higher than they should be. The other argument is that if you have a tax rate that's too high, then people will continue buying cannabis on the ill in the illegal market, which really defeats the purpose of trying to control the market, trying to ensure that people are getting a product that it's properly labeled and tested and it's depriving the government of revenue that it really needs, and I've heard it said many times by advocates that it's not for the revenue that we need to legalize cannabis. It's not as though the taxation is going to solve a lot of problems because here in the state of New Jersey where our deficit and debt is in the billions of dollars cannabis, which would be taxed to the tune of perhaps $3 million of overall revenue generated going from prohibition to regulation. That's not going to solve our problems. So that's not the reason to do it. It's important nonetheless, the taxes be at the right level high enough that it will help control excessive use, but low enough that it is fair for the public and that it is able to keep the illegal market to a minimum.

Kannaboomers: (15:07)

You know, I'm in California and the taxes out here amount to almost 35% when you go to the dispensary, which is for some people a disincentive. I mean, there is a, a pretty healthy illicit market here.

Nathan: (15:20)

Absolutely. And if you don't mind me commenting on that specific number, that number's too high. So when I talk about whether it should be higher or lower, a number like 35% is too high for exactly the reason that you cite, which is that it leaves a thriving illegal market, which is not good for the public. Imagine if bootlegged alcohol, which can actually be dangerous, was a viable alternative to alcohol that's purchased in store for the most part. People don't do that because it is inexpensive enough that they'll stay in the legal market. So when I say there's a sweet spot, I would say it's somewhere in the neighborhood of say 14 to 15%. Overall what I suggest and unfortunately what a lot of states are not doing, including my home state of New Jersey, what I think is, is really the best approach to taxation of cannabis in newly regulated markets is to start with a low taxation rate, maybe even as low as 5% something that is really modest to help encourage the legal industry and to encourage individuals to purchase from the legal industry with time. I think a graduated tax rate makes a lot of sense. What the exact numbers should be is hard to say, and I'm not an economist who would really know that, but I could tell you that as you've said, California's rate is 35% that's too high. That is going to maintain the vitality of the illegal market and we really want both sellers and purchasers to move into the light of day and to have a safe product that's regulated and where the, where the revenue goes, where it's needed.

Kannaboomers: (17:03)

Yeah. Well and from a consumer's perspective then you know that their product has been tested for pesticides and heavy metals. You know the percentage of THC in it. You can have a confidence that you're not going to have when you're buying it from some other source.

Nathan: (17:17)

That's right. You will sometimes see messages from the opposition in social media or in articles where they'll note that there was a recall of cannabis either because of a pesticide that was used or because the label wasn't accurate, and they cite that as being evidence of why it is the cannabis should not be legal. To me, this is actually quite the opposite. This is evidence of why cannabis should be legal because we can test the product, we can enforce recalls when needed. We can make sure that there aren't any dangerous pesticides and we can make sure that the label is accurate. So when we see something happen in enforcement around the legal cannabis industry, it's by no means an indication that the system's not working. It's an indication that the system is working. It's not to say that all regulation is good regulation, there can be regulation that's just not strong enough to ensure proper labeling. We need to make sure that products are properly tested and that regulations are sufficiently strong. We also want to make sure that they are sufficiently modest that the legal market can remain competitive with illegal sources that operate outside the law.

Kannaboomers: (18:38)

Absolutely. So we've been talking about policy and I want to shift a little bit too. You're a psychiatrist and a trained medical professional and I've had several family doctors over the years and and spoken to my father's physicians and I have run into a lot of resistance about cannabis. I mean I talked to an oncologist who equated CBD with THC. He didn't seem to know there was a difference between those two. And the attitude was, “Yeah, you want to take it, go ahead, whatever you want to do it, it could be any supplement.” Do you perceive a need for education, and how does that progress? I mean I've talked to some people who say 15% of medical schools even touch on CBD or THC. Does that sound accurate?

Nathan: (19:18)

That sounds about right. I mean, I would say there is no medical student who spends four years in medical school and doesn't hear anything about cannabis. At the same time, the education may be really perfunctory. So in my case, when I was at the University of Pennsylvania, which I think is a great medical school and did a really good job in education overall back then in the early 1990s the degree of didactic training of formal training we had on cannabis was limited to, it's a potential for harm, which because physicians who actually understand the data understand the cannabis, isn't that harmful, means it didn't even get a lot of discussion in the context of substance misuse. So what I basically learned was that cannabis is not the worst of drugs. Some people think it's a gateway, but others don't. And it by itself doesn't tend to create a great deal of problems and that there might even be some use of it for cancer patients and nausea. And they like to use it even though it's not legal. That's how it was back then. I like to think it's better now, but I don't think it's a lot better from everything I hear from medical students around the country and it's not rocket science. If I can kind of mix educational metaphors there to teach people about the basics of cannabis science. The endocannabinoid system is something else that got very little mention in my medical school, in fairness to our teachers, we didn't have a lot of practical application of any medicines in the endocannabinoid system because very little research had been done into the affirmative uses of cannabis or cannabinoids. Now we understand much more about the endocannabinoid system, its regulatory functions and the ways in which cannabinoids do and in the future will more so hold potential for various kinds of therapeutics. Both in my field of psychiatry and in the related field of neurology but also in other fields as well. of course, including pain management.

Kannaboomers: (21:34)

So I hear you saying, um, there is more instruction now than there was more people are aware of the endocannabinoid system, but as people look to their doctors, do the doctors, know what they're talking about or how are we going to educate this whole healthcare system on the efficacy of cannabis?

Nathan: (21:51)

It's a great question and it actually is a question that just came up a couple of days ago in d FCRs monthly board of directors meeting. Though we remain a, an organization that is very much focused on ending prohibition in establishing good policies and good regulation. We have an obligation to make sure that physicians are not only educated about what good cannabis policy looks like, but also what the medicinal properties of the plant and of cannabinoids are. And that's because physicians, in order to understand the basis for good policy, they have to have at least a basic education on the science of the plant and the medical properties of the plant. And that's something that Doctors for Cannabis Regulation is working on. I'll be in Chicago next week speaking at a physicians’ meeting about the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program. And, of course, we're going to talk about cannabis as medicine as well as what the regulatory framework look like.

Kannaboomers: (22:53)

Another thing that I noticed on your website is your involvement with the NFL. And that's certainly a high profile case and the kind of thing that could sway the public. I think as you, as you gained some traction with your initiative with the NFL.

Nathan: (23:07)

Absolutely. We were approached three years ago by some NFL players including the first NFL player to actively support legalization while he was inactive player. And that was Eugene Monroe who had recently retired but as an active player, had advocated for legalization and his friends and NFL colleague Derek Morgan, the two of them asked whether Doctors for Cannabis Regulation would be willing to join them in advocacy. And I think they really had a great idea, which is that anything related to athletics and professional sports and especially the NFL is able to capture the interest and attention of the public. And they could do that. It was the physicians like us who could then present the facts very objectively not over or underestimating the health effects of cannabis to persuade people about why the NFL is policy needs to change. So as your listeners may know, the NFL policy that bans cannabis for any purpose has led to the suspension of many players. And because most of the NFL players are African American, likewise, most of the players who have been suspended for their cannabis use have been African Americans, same is true in the NBA. And contrast those two leagues, which again are primarily played by people of color, with hockey, the NHL and baseball, the MLB major league baseball. Those two leagues do not suspend their players for cannabis use. And I think that although we're only talking about a few thousand athletes in professional sports in these different leagues, that's simply a microcosm for what's going on in society and just as individuals are being improperly punished for an activity that should never have been against the law and should never have been against NFL policy. Likewise, Americans all around the country are similarly suffering. And I think if we can affect change in the NFL, then I think that also will give us a more momentum for the national effort for all Americans.

Kannaboomers: (25:25)

You know, one of our earlier guests was Linea Miron who is married to Ricky Williams who has his own line of CBD. One played the game at a higher level than Ricky Williams, but he understood before the rest of us that this was a medicine that helped him andhe paid the price. He was suspended a number of times.

Nathan: (25:43)

Very much so. And I know that football fans, especially if they were from The Saints, or one of the teams he played on might have mixed feelings about him taking the stand that he did. But both Linea and Ricky are friends of mine and they are people of great personal conviction. And Ricky is just one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. He is a guy who stands on principle and he stood up for what he thought was an unjust ban. And you're right, he paid a heavy price for that. I think he also helped pave the way for players like Eugene Monroe and Derek Morgan and many of the other former players who are a part of our NFL campaign, like Jim McMahon and Boo Williams. And there are actually some other active players who are thinking about going public with their support, though it's been a dangerous thing for them to do. It's really Ricky Williams and other folks from his generation have made it possible for us to be where we are now in terms of the advocacy the NFL, which three years ago when we launched the campaign was saying, we will defer to our doctors on this and we have no plans to change the policy while the doctor is upon which they say they're relying are doctors who are paid by the NFL and they're not going to contradict what the Commissioner's office wants. We've talked to some of those doctors privately and they've made that real clear. Now we've gotten from that point where there was a great deal of intransigence to the NFL saying, look, this is an issue we might be able to come to an agreement with in the collective bargaining agreement next year in 2020. Well, the collective bargaining agreement is about salaries and responsibilities of the players. I believe that player health has absolutely no place in the collective bargaining agreement player's health. Should not be negotiable. And if cannabis use is a reasonable alternative for the use of opioids, for the pain control of players, or even if they just make the adult choice to use it, they shouldn't be punished for that player health should not be subject to negotiation.

Kannaboomers: (27:57)

That's a huge point. We've talked about the NFL and the kind of promise of social change there and everything that you've been doing with your organization for the last three years. Do you sense that we're nearing an inflection point and what excites you most about the state of cannabis right now?

Nathan: (28:11)

I think what excites me the most is the degree to which this is a bipartisan issue in a political era that is not known for bipartisanship. Andthat actually very closely relates to the other part of your question, which is that point of inflection where the momentum shifts. I think that's already happened because what you're seeing is that for example, there is a congressional cannabis caucus that was started by both Republicans and Democrats and you're finding there are Republicans as well as Democrats who are very outspoken about their support for full legalization of cannabis for adults and not just limiting it to the medical use. As physicians you would think that our main concern would be legalizing cannabis for medical purposes, but that's only part of the answer. We need full legalization. And now that you see that a majority of both Democrats and Republicans favor legalization, that's the point of no return. When most states have legalization of medical marijuana and now I believe it's 10 states plus the District of Columbia and Guam have legalized cannabis for adult use, New Jersey. My home state is likely to change soon. I know that New York and Pennsylvania are close and Doctors for Cannabis Regulation has listed a number of priority states, which also includes Illinois for full legalization, and Texas for both decriminalization and for medical legalization. Both of those things are likely to happen this year. So the momentum has already shifted. And if I could have one wish, it would be that the opposition to legalization, much as they might not be happy with the changes that they're seeing, they really need to join with us in coming up with good regulation and make sure that their concerns are heard, not just as arguing against everything that we want to do, but rather cooperating with us in making sure that cannabis legalization and regulation optimize public health and the needs of social justice.

Kannaboomers: (30:25)

Right. So they have their concerns heard. And we've talked about the NFL and not to be a conspiracy theorist, but there, there are vested interests, right? There are alcohol companies, beer brewers who maybe have marketing deals and are resistant to sharing that pie with cannabis. How do you resolve some of those issues? There's limited dollars everywhere and here's a new, a new player.

Nathan: (30:48)

As my friends know, I tend to be bitter than anti conspiracy theorist. I often think there's less than meets the eye with a lot of things that look nefarious. It's often said that we overestimate people's maliciousness and underestimate their ineptitude. And in this case, I think a lot of the resistance that you see, whether it's from other industries or the NFL commissioner's office or the public at large, what you're seeing is basically an ignorance of what the pros and cons of a prohibition of any drug like cannabis really is. Weighing the pros and cons. It's not a close call. Cannabis should never have been against the law. It was made against the law because there was the claims made that it was a gateway to the later use of hard drugs. And we now know that there's no evidence supporting a causal effect of people using cannabis then going on to use other drugs. It was said to make users violent, and we know that's not true. These kinds of myths die hard. And in many people, including physicians who you would think would be willing to take a more objective look at the evidence they haven't gotten out of this drug warrior mentality. And I think little by little we're chipping away at that. Andone of the things that helps is when you see community leaders like professional athletes taking a position on this like government leaders and, of course, like physicians in Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, law enforcement action partnership where they favor cannabis legalization and clergy in an organization started by Reverend Al Sharp in Chicago called clergy for a new drug policy. We're out there saying, look, we care about public health, we care about justice. And we're telling you that when you really look at this evidence in a broad way, you will see that the harms of prohibition in virtually every measure eclipse the harms of the drug itself.

Kannaboomers: (32:57)

Well, and that's a powerful message and the authority of your organization behind you and the veracity of your status as a psychiatrist and a medical doctor. For the rest of our listeners who are not not doctors. How do we help support this message anddo you have any practical suggestions for our listeners on how to help move this movement forward?

Nathan: (33:16)

Well, the first thing is to talk to your government leaders, talk to your legislators. That's the big push that we have here in New Jersey right now because we've got a good bill for legalization that really does advance the dual causes of public health and social justice and all that's left to do is to convince the few holdout legislators who with the best of intentions are concerned about what will happen when cannabis is legalized. They need to hear from the public who recognize that what will happen is that we're going to be incarcerating fewer people were going to be making fewer arrests of otherwise law abiding citizens. We're going to be regulating a drug that until now has been sold illegally in the streets without any checking of Id to make sure that underage users aren't obtaining it. Those same dealers may be dealing in harder drugs. That then does kind of put those two drugs together. That's a bad idea. When we talk to our legislators and make clear to them that their constituents are unequivocal in their support of legalization and unequivocal in their supportive good regulation, that's going to be the biggest factor making change from the grassroots on up. It's the same for physicians, so patients need to talk to their doctors and say I hear what you're saying about your concerns about adult use of cannabis, but it really doesn't seem to match with what the evidence says and there's plenty of information out there including on DFCR's website that is fully annotated and reference telling you what studies demonstrate the advantages of legalization and regulation over prohibition. Share that with your doctor. If you're a doctor, share it with your colleagues. Doctors collectively should be talking to their state medical organizations is we are and little by little we're going to make sure that our cannabis policy for the first time in 82 years, will finally reflect the science and not the hyperbolic claims of people who have a misguided moralistic approach to cannabis prohibition. That's really not science based, but rather based in ideology. An ideology makes for terrible health policy.

Kannaboomers: (35:47)

Absolutely true. Well, and a lot of what you said there assumes the stigma has faded enough that people can step forward and talk about this freely. And I think that's true in a lot of places. And in some places there may still be lingering ignorance, but yeah, be more vocal. Talk to your elected representatives, email people, write letters, get involved.

Nathan: (36:08)

Absolutely. My father recently started medical cannabis because he has Parkinson's disease and it's helped a great deal with his abnormal movements. It's also helped with his neck and back cause he's had almost lifelong orthopedic issues with his neck and back. I asked him, “Would it be okay if I talked about this publicly?” And he said, “Absolutely.” He is of the opinion that there is nothing to be ashamed of and that for people to be willing to come forward and be public about their personal use can be a very valuable thing. I think it's difficult for doctors to be public about their use, whether medical or recreational because of the potential jeopardy to their license. Individual citizens out there really can make a difference in undoing the stigma of cannabis use by being willing to say, look, I do it and I don't think that there's anything that I need to be ashamed of. And I'm very proud of my father for having been willing to be public about his.

Kannaboomers: (37:11)

Yeah. That's great. So we can find who we know. We can find you a dfcr.org. Where else can we find you online?

Nathan: (37:18)

You can find us on Twitter. We are @dfcrorg. There's no doubt in there. My personal Twitter handle is @DavidNathanMD and my website is NathanMD.com and you can google Doctors for Cannabis Regulation to see what we're doing in the news. You will hopefully be hearing a lot more from us as we go forward and make the changes that this country needs so badly.

Kannaboomers: (37:46)

Well, I hope so. Um, I look forward to seeing headlines about your progress with the NFL and elsewhere, and I know you're super busy. Thanks for taking the time to share your expertise with our listeners. I know they're going to love this episode.

Nathan: (37:58)

Oh, it's been an absolute pleasure. Tom. Thank you so much for the insightful questions. I hope this is helpful for your listeners.

Kannaboomers: (38:05)

Thank you Dr. Nathan.

Kannaboomers: (38:07)

You've been listening to, let's talk about weed the Kannaboomers podcast from Thomas for more on medicinal cannabis for baby boomers. Visit us at kannaboomers.com

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