06/09/17 David Bearman

Dr. David Bearman, author of "Drugs are not the Devils Tools", Alec Dixon Dir of SC Labs & Valerie Corral Dir of Wamm.org

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Friday, June 9, 2017
David Bearman



JUNE 9, 2017


DEAN BECKER: I am Dean Becker, your host. Our goal for this program is to expose the fraud, misdirection, and the liars whose support for drug war empowers our terrorist enemies, enriches barbarous cartels, and gives reason for existence to tens of thousands of violent US gangs who profit by selling contaminated drugs to our children. This is Cultural Baggage.

Hi, this is Dean Becker, thank you for joining us for this edition of Cultural Baggage. We've got one more draw from the recent Patients Out of Time cannabis conference in Berkeley, California.

I'm proud to be speaking with Doctor David Bearman, he's been a frequent guest on the Cultural Baggage program, and he's got much to share. Let's just get started. Good morning, David.

DAVID BEARMAN, MD: Good morning to you, how are you doing today?

DEAN BECKER: I'm well, sir. What have you been doing, you've been staying busy, right?

DAVID BEARMAN, MD: I have been staying very busy, I mean, it's amazing what's happening with medicinal cannabis. More and more people are willing to try it, older people are seeing that this is nothing to be afraid of, and I'm getting contacts from all over the world, by email, I've been invited to speak in Australia and New Zealand, I'm just back from there, and that was a very exciting trip.

DEAN BECKER: Well, sir, you have your new book, which I think is catching a lot of people's attention. The name of that book, sir?

DAVID BEARMAN, MD: The name of the book is Drugs Are Not the Devil's Tools, and that has a lengthy subtitle: Drug History, Greed, Discrimination, and Drug Horror: Medical Marijuana Can Fuel Change.

DEAN BECKER: Yes, sir, and that's true. We, I think I was one of the first people to interview you, once you began publishing that book, but tell us about New Zealand, Australia, what went on down there, what's their perception of this situation?

DAVID BEARMAN, MD: Well, you know, it's interesting. We see governments get in the way, even when they allegedly are legalizing or making access easier. I was kind of disappointed at Australia, because when I was there two years ago, it was very exciting, they seemed on the verge of really making a great breakthrough, and now they've made some steps backwards.

One of the radio personalities who was a strong proponent is no longer on the air, one of the governors, or premiers of state as they call them, resigned because of health problems in his family. And I was talking to the mother of the only legal marijuana patient in Australia, her son has -- he has brain cancer responsive to cannabis. I mean, this boy will die unless he gets cannabis. Of course, fortunately you don't need to have government cannabis in order for it to work. But the state government is blocking his access to medicinal cannabis even though the federal government has approved it.

In New Zealand, the response was really exciting there. I had an opportunity to spend an hour with a member of the Green Party, and then she organized a roundtable and we had not only members of the Green Party, but the National Party to discuss this. We put a lot of it on video. I was able to speak to Grand Rounds at the medical school in Christchurch, and went to a couple of lovely small towns called Nelson and Golden Bay.

We had over 300 people total, I mean, and these were relatively small towns, and the interest and excitement was palpable, and there's some very strong people there that are involved in reform, Victoria Davis is an activist there who fought the government and won. Tori Catherwood is a fifth-year medical student, and she was the one who arranged the speaking at the medical school, and there's some doctors there who are interested and seem willing to learn more.

I did find that the assistant or associate director of the Ministry of Health was not too well informed, and rather than engage in discussion in the media regarding the science, he took the refuge of most frightened, afraid people, and changed the topic to attacking me personally as being uninformed, when of course he was the uninformed person. He, you know, he doesn't have 15 years of medical experience with medicinal cannabis, nor has he written a five-hundred page book, like Drugs Are Not The Devil's Tools.

So I'm going to write a letter back to him, to the media, and suggest that he take a look, not change the topic from the science and the medical usefulness of the drug to whether or not I know what I'm talking about.

DEAN BECKER: Doctor Bearman, I've got to back up the discussion a little bit. You're talking about the national government of Australia approved this gentleman with brain cancer.

DAVID BEARMAN, MD: That's correct.

DEAN BECKER: But his state government wants to deny him, and I want to just interject the thought, sir, that they would prefer that he die from his brain cancer rather than risk the use of medical cannabis, what might happen were he to use it. It just seems so outlandish, preposterous, and truthfully at its heart evil. Your thought there, sir.

DAVID BEARMAN, MD: I think it's very evil, and I spent an hour listening to his mother, who is a pretty savvy person, and she is talking to her attorneys, and she's going to use the media at the appropriate time, and I just couldn't believe that the state government would want this child dead, and that they were concerned about the precedent, and that of course we have four thousand years of precedent.

Interestingly, in New Zealand, cannabis was introduced in New Zealand in the 19th century by a nun, Sister Mary Aubert, who's being considered for canonization, so, I mean, they may not be aware of it in the government but they have a very illustrious past in use of this herbal medication there, and in fact they have an awful lot of people there who not only are interested in medicinal cannabis but are willing to fight for it.

And curiously, they have a number of hemp growers who can legally grow hemp, and yet, you have this associate minister of health who is running around saying on the one hand that cannabis has no medical value, and on the other hand, his ministry has approved the medical use of Sativex. So one has to wonder what he thinks Sativex is, you know, I mean, this fellow is sort of unaware of the old adage, better to remain silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubts.

DEAN BECKER: Well, I'll tell you what, friends, we're here at the Patients Out of Time conference, me and Doctor Bearman are listening to the birds, looking out at the bay, but, Doctor Bearman, what is your take on this conference? Are we making progress, what are folks bringing, what are we going to bring away from this event?

DAVID BEARMAN, MD: Well, we are making fantastic progress. It's really very, very impressive. There were a number of people, a number of physicians that the Sacramento Bee interviewed shortly after Prop 64 passed, that was the proposition that legalized the recreational use of cannabis, and the question was, do you think that this will -- how do you think this will affect your practice? And I was rather surprised, we all said the same thing, we all said we thought that it would increase our practice.

And the reason for that is, is that I think that all the people that they interviewed are really practicing real medicine and seeing people who are really ill. I do think that it will hurt the practices of those physicians who are practicing minimalist medicine.

And by the way I want to tell your audience that they should be alert for the members of our organization, of which I"m the executive vice president, the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine, and anybody who is a member and particularly anybody who is a certified cannabinoid medicine specialist by us, is somebody that you can expect knows what they're doing and is going to spend more than the perfunctory five minutes, hello, how are you, give me the money, here's your recommendation, somebody that will, you know, be willing to go to court should that become necessary.

And even though we've legalized things, you have these district attorneys who of course never set foot inside a medical school, don't understand the science, and they're looking for excuses to go after people when they have THC in their bloodstream, and of course if you're regular user of cannabis, on a medical basis, if you stop using today, five or six days from now you'd still have THC in your bloodstream and of course your driving wouldn't be impaired. As a matter of fact, there have been a number of studies that indicate that if you're a regular user of cannabis, your driving is actually improved, not impaired.

I mean, again, the science is something that tells us that we've had a hundred years of propaganda that have almost invariably been 180 degrees out of sync with the truth.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. Doctor Bearman, I, last week I reported on a situation, I think it was the state of Georgia, where cops and highway patrol and others enroll in these courses where they reach this level of expertise, if you will, that they can stop people on the road, they can ascertain whether they are high on marijuana, they can write them a ticket, they can throw them in jail, without anything other than their quote "perceptions" that this person is high.

And in many cases, the people who have been thrown in jail, have been through scientific tests, determined to be non-users, to have zero marijuana in their system. This is bordering on inquisitional stature. Your thought there, sir.

DAVID BEARMAN, MD: Well, one of the things that the neo-prohibitionists do is promote junk science, and we know that, from studies that have been done with alcohol and the so-called "drug recognition experts" and the field sobriety tests, that all of that stuff is nonsense. There was one study that was done where they used a video, and had them, the police, look at a field sobriety test and the question was, is this person under the influence or not? And their results were the same as guessing, it's 50/50.

The gist -- I'll tell you what this is, it sounds like an opportunity for increasing Doctor Bearman's business, because I do a lot of testifying on people who've been stopped for driving under the influence, and basically this is just punishment. I mean, this is, unfortunately, as PT Barnum once said, no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. And I'm not sure what your audience thinks about the current president of the United States, but it is appalling to me that somebody who is as unfamiliar with politics, and just doesn't understand what they're doing, as Donald Trump, that we have him as president.

Now, in regards to cannabis, it's an interesting thing. One of the strongest proponents of medicinal cannabis in the House of Representatives is Dana Rohrabacher, and he is a very conservative Republican, and many of the very conservative politicians understand states' rights, and they're very supportive of cannabis or at least of the ability of people in states to make it legal, and Rohrabacher spoke last fall during the election at a conference in Long Beach called The State Of Marijuana, and at that conference he opined that his friend Donald, who we refer to now as President Trump, would be inclined to favor legalizing marijuana because according to Representative Rohrabacher, Donald Trump applied topical tincture of cannabis to the arthritic shoulder that he had, and found it to be very helpful.

So, you know, because Mister Trump is very unpredictable, and has done everything contrary to the convention wisdom, there's certainly the possibility that he might reschedule cannabis and wouldn't that be amazing?

DEAN BECKER: It certainly would. Well again, friends, we've been speaking with Doctor Bearman. Doctor Bearman, please share the name of your book, maybe a website, some closing thoughts.

DAVID BEARMAN, MD: Okeh. Well, my book is called Drugs Are Not The Devil's Tools. It has its own website, I have my own website, it's DavidBearmanMD, and Bearman is spelled just like the bears in the woods, BEARMAN. The thing I would tell your listener is, one of the things that's helpful in terms of getting physicians to appreciate the medicinal aspect of medicine, is to tell your physician about cannabis and what it's done for you, or to ask them questions about it. Also, we know that the endocannabinoid system is the largest neurotransmitter system in the human brain, and you should encourage the state legislature to require the endocannabinoid system be taught in your colleges and medical schools, and you should write to the medical schools.

I understand, you know, that you might be shined on, and, you know, the old Arlo Guthrie thing, you know, one person stands up, he might be confused, pretty soon you have hundreds of people standing up or thousands of people standing up, and you have a movement. And folks, we have a movement and our movement is progressing and moving forward.

I want to thank you so much for your many years doing this, and appreciate your efforts, and I want -- just want to wish your audience to have good health and good use of cannabis.

DEAN BECKER: It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects! Shortened attention span, hyperactivity, obesity, diabetes, diagnostic diseases, kidney failure, heart disease, hypoglycemia, tooth decay, and death. Time's up! For the answer, look in every bag of Halloween candy, and in damn near every product we buy. Yep, it's sugar.

ALEC DIXON: My name is Alec Dixon, and I'm one of the co-founders of SC Laboratories, which is a cannabis testing analytical laboratory. And what we do is test for different chemo-metric markers in cannabis, which are terpenes and cannabinoids, things that will substantiate the effect of a certain strain of cannabis over another. And then we also do a variety of quality assurance tests, to help identify, you know, the presence of -- presence or absence of certain, you know, questionable, concerning pesticide residues, different microbiological impurities, pathogens, as well as different types of residual solvents.

And so, all in all, it's helping to provide different farmers and producers and processors, and patients and consumers, to better be able to have data and understanding what they're doing and what they're creating, what they're consuming, to better, you know, empower them with knowledge and information.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Alec, you may not know, I'm a legalizer outright. I wish we could just go back to 1906, the Pure Food and Drug Act, where people were required to label exactly the contents of the product they're selling, and then let the user decide. Your thought in that regard.

ALEC DIXON: I mean, I couldn't agree more, you know, I mean, it's amazing how hijacked the whole food system has become, and how much the food we eat is the poison that ultimately makes us take all the different prescribed medicines that end up also doing harm and damage to us, and, you know, there's this ancient Ayurvedic quote I really love, that's, when diet is in order, medicine is of no need. When diet is out of order, medicine is of no use.

And so, you know, I truly think and feel and believe and see from, you know, the world I live in with cannabis in my life and those that it's affected around me, that, you know, between diet and, you know, cannabinoid therapy, as a part of your lifestyle, and approach toward wellness and healing, I think, you know, and other plant medicines that are, you know, also prohibited, you know, I think often -- you know, are the tools that we have here to be well and expand our awareness.

DEAN BECKER: You know, I'd be remiss if I didn't ask a guy who probably understands this a thousand times better than I do, but, the terpenes seem, well, for me, they're still a mystery, and what are you finding out about terpenes?

ALEC DIXON: Yeah, you know, I think terpene science really is like the new frontier with cannabis. You know, we, you know, for those that are, you know, long time, you know, passionate users of cannabis, that really pride ourselves in knowing the strains and the different smells, and you know even for your most novice, new to cannabis, you know, patient or consumer, you know, knowing what terpenes are in a certain strain of cannabis is going to substantially dictate whether or not a strain's uplifting or stimulating, or, you know, calming and sedating, you know.

And, you know, up to this point, we've used these words indica, hybrid, sativa, you know, to try to associate with affect, because, you know, so many different strains of cannabis and, you know, one makes you feel this way and one makes you feel super paranoid, you know, and so this, you know, it's always been hard for the user experience to navigate. You know, and so what we've had is just, you know, telephone passdown of indica, sativa, hybrid, this, that, but really those words are, you know, they're words to describe the growth traits, the morphological growth characteristics, whether or not, so you know, tall, skinny, broad, yeah, narrow leaf drug strain, wide leaf drug strain, you know.

But whenever it comes down to the effect, what we're talking about is chemotype, the chemotype of a strain. You know, certain phenotype, certain, you know, certain -- usually you have a bunch of seeds and you isolate this certain one because you love the way it smells. That's isolating a certain chemotype, and that chemotype is the combined makeup of terpenes and cannabinoids, and from the data we see at SC Labs, it's like, you know, 90 percent of everything that we test is all really really high THC, you know, I mean, anywhere from, you know, 12 to, you know, 30 plus percent total cannabinoids, mainly THC-A.

So what really differentiates or distinguishes the difference? And when you look at the terpenes and the certain dominant smell expressions that certain strains have, like limonene, the smell of like citrus, you know, being in certain strains, that, you know, that terpene is associated with stimulating, and being -- making a strain -- helping to make the strain more, you know, yeah, cerebral, or kind of -- also terpinolene. Terpinolene is a terpene that, that's very com -- any strain, or any head, or, you know, experienced with cannabis, smell this certain type of strain, and immediately associate it with sativa, and terpinolene is really the trademark, or the hallmark of that smell, the archetype, I guess, of that smell.

And that's like Jack, Trainwreck, Sage, Durban, you know, a lot of the Hawaiian smells, you know, that really, you know, sativa kind of smell. You -- that -- but those all, all those strains have a, they share a similarity.

DEAN BECKER: Make you think of the islands a bit.

ALEC DIXON: Yeah, exactly, that's awesome, and you know, so those strains are really high in this certain terpene, terpinolene. And that terpene's, you know, starting to be understood and associated with, you know, stimulating the artistically -- artistically creative, inspiring, you know, and so that's a really good terpene for that.

But that terpene for a veteran with post traumatic stress, I'm a veteran of the Navy, I work a lot with vets with post traumatic stress, and -- thank you, I appreciate it very much -- but, you know, a vet that's never used cannabis before, you know, choosing, you know, or getting given a strain that's really high in terpinolene, you know, get into this really stimulating, kind of, you know, kind of, you know, like racy kind of terpene, with high THC, you know, could be a recipe for disaster, you know, because if they, you know, use that and then, you know, might have -- they might have a panic attack, they might get really paranoid and anxious, socially, you know --

DEAN BECKER: Been there once.

ALEC DIXON: Yeah, and you know, and that's -- and that, for a lot of people, that puts them off from ever really wanting to try cannabis again. You know, I've heard it --

DEAN BECKER: Well, I was lucky, I knew there could be a panic attack. You know, in general, that those things happen.


DEAN BECKER: And once I realized it, it went away.

ALEC DIXON: That's awesome. You know, it happened to me, you know, this is a very common thing, I think it happens to most people. There's this really unique thing that happens to a lot of first time users, to people that, there's, that's one group of the people it happens to, then there's people that, you know, smoke and then take a break for a couple of years in between, and then, that's one group. Then there's people that are just regular users and one day it just shifts.

DEAN BECKER: I was here doing -- somewhere in California, doing an interview with Mister Jack Herer, and there was about six or eight kids passing around their best trying to impress Mister Herer, and I took a puff of this one joint, I blew out nothing but white. It was like a little cloud. A few minutes later I'm talking to Jack and, oh god, it was like I left the room, went backwards or something. You know what I'm saying? Mister Herer, I got to pause here, I'll talk to you later, you know, panicking, getting out of the room. Went down the hall a hundred feet, realized I was talking to Jack, I had a panic attack. I turned around, went back, knocked on the door, told Jack, Jack, I just had a panic attack. He said, oh that happens, and we went on with the interview.

ALEC DIXON: Wow. Awesome. Yeah, and so my point with that is, you know, oftentimes once that happens and you have that panic attack, then a lot of people, even the next time you try it, you smoke a little tiny bit of a certain strain, it has the tendency to go sour, or in, and you have to -- start having this continuous bad trip, and so whenever it happens to people they tend to -- what's happening is that your brain takes a picture of it and then every time it happens, you create a stronger bond about this paranoid, anxious, kind of --

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, paranoid.

ALEC DIXON: -- and so, and then people will say, oh it's not for me, or they'll say, you know, oh that cannabis back in the day used to be awesome, I used to love it, but now I can't touch it. You know, that specifically is this whole thing, and I've heard it described as cannabis post traumatic stress. You know?

And so what it is -- so it's really important to, and it's a service to our fellow, you know, brothers and sisters of this world, to help set them up right with their experience of cannabis, and know, you know, being able to be empowered more, and what terpenes are high in certain strains can really help us with these tools to navigate user experience, to help set up the trip right for somebody, because if, you know, with a veteran that has post traumatic stress, that example, if they instead started with a really high CBD strain, very low THC, where you, you know, doing the ritual of grinding up bud, rolling it up in a joint, calming your, you know, centering yourself, and then going and smoking it on a cliff or, you know, in, you know, in the dunes or wherever, you know, you, through the high CBD very low THC, and, you know, you frame, you start, you can frame the experience in a positive way, and the CBD can help cut some of the anxiety.

And so then somebody over time, you know, continuously over time can slowly start microdosing and titrating up their dose of THC to where eventually this THC's psychoactive effects vibes well with them. And that is the service we owe to everybody, and that's what terpene information can really help people to empower themselves to do, and dose right, develop the right type of relationship with cannabis, so that you can enjoy the effects of THC and psychoactivity, because of all the lifelong medicinal benefits that will bring you, and creative awesome inspiring stuff, you know?

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. But I want to ask you one more quick question, if I may, and that is, what we're encountering now is an advent, a massive growth of need for people doing the type of services which your SC Labs is doing. There's a reason behind that, you want to talk about that reason, for that need?

ALEC DIXON: I just had the recent honor of speaking at Stanford Medical School last week, actually, it's, you know, I'm 33, I have an associates degree in cultural anthropology, but I've been working with the cannabis plant, and for, you know, for the last about 12 years now, and SC Labs, we've been around for the last 8 years, you know, we have PhD chemists, microbiologists, you know, lots of scientific staff on our side, and it's been the most educational experience of my life.

So at this event, at Stanford, I -- one of the major points I was trying to make is how kind of the services, the data and analytics that we help to empower people with, is, almost serves as a language of meaning and understanding to further know your medicine and know what you're looking for, what you're trying to -- you know, what you're putting out into the world, you know. Many people that are using a lot of harmful, concerning pesticides aren't meaning to, if they -- especially when they know that it's, the pesticides go, you know, are systemically and residually there, and so, so the tools we provide people with help them to, you know, make more informed choices and decisions, and just better understand the plant.

DEAN BECKER: Is there a website, some closing thoughts you'd like to share?

ALEC DIXON: Yeah, our website is SCLab, www.SCLabs.com, SCLABS.com. Cannabis has been, you know, one of the most amazing and empowering tools I have had in my life, also a very big shout out to WAMM, the women's and men's alliance for medical marijuana [sic: Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana], I'm on the board of directors of WAMM, and Valerie Corral is, you know, a true Mother Theresa of this whole community, and just hope through the conversion of cannabis into a regulated community and full legalization, I truly hope that the heart of what Valerie and WAMM created of this whole community, which was, you know, that this plant produces abundance and we're in service to those that are sick and poor, I truly hope that people are inspired by WAMM's story and are able to, you know, build off of that to help do what cannabis is intended here to do, which is change the world.

VALERIE CORRAL: My name is Valerie Leveroni Corral, I'm the co-founder, with my husband Mike, and the director of WAMM, the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, and that's men and women, Wo/Men, so we're a collective of patients and caregivers who work to build hope in people's lives when they're facing serious illness and death, and we provide marijuana at no cost, and on a donation basis, that we grow in our collective garden.

And we have begun a new sister organization, and that's Raha Kudo, the Design for Dying Center. While we use marijuana medicinally in many of its different forms, for a variety of treatments, for a variety of symptoms for illness, it's really not about marijuana, it's about human beings helping each other, and a journey that we must all someday make, which is to prepare us for the moment of death, and to have a good rich life in the meantime. WAMM.org, WAMM.org.

DEAN BECKER: Just enough time to remind you that because of prohibition you don't know what's in that bag. Please be careful.

To the Drug Truth Network listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the unvarnished truth. Cultural Baggage is a production of the Pacifica Radio Network. Archives are permanently stored at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. And we are all still tap dancing on the edge of an abyss.