CannaBook Review: Fisher (2019) Medical Cannabis Primer

CannaLytica
ConnecTomes
Published in
3 min readJan 24, 2020

--

Available directly from the vendor, Amazon.com, and Amazon.co.uk

*****/*****

Fisher has produced a wonderful, full colour “coffee table” Medicinal Cannabis text that joins a growing literature aiming to provide a full coverage of the complex and sadly controversial world of Medical Cannabis. Well referenced and researched, across topics including “the controversy,” basic Cannabis botany, cannabinoid pharmacology, Medical Cannabis indications and counter-indications, consumer awareness of the often less than ethical CannaBusiness, and, what makes this text worth the price alone, a fantastic chapter dealing with “The Evidence.”

Not just a listing of studies, but a discussion of scope on the methodological and ideological issues underneath contemporary “Evidence Based Medicine” paradigms. Many reviews point to this or that use having “poor” or “low quality” evidence, but this often masks the complex methodological conditions studies must meet to count as “quality evidence” that can be used in the meta-analyses used to justify the claims that Cannabis doesn’t work for X, even with huge numbers of “anecdotes” — patients, doctors, case reports, open label studies, and many other sources well considered as useful clinical evidence by practitioners. Even if a study of 10,000 users for pain reports that 6000 experience pain relief, this would not be “evidence” of a high quality as the patients know they are using the drug. Most primary physicians, even specialists, are not familiar with just how restrictive are the criteria of “Good Evidence” for organisations like the Cochrane Collaboration. The book discusses the skewing of research into harm-hunting caused by the US NIDA and DEA selectively funding only research looking for negatives.

Aside from this crucial issue at the heart of medicine, the text gives plenty of discussion to the cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system, how this may explain numerous disparate conditions, and includes detailed literature sources dealing with basic research exploring not only THC, CBD, and even just the lesser studied cannabinoids, but also on the growing awareness of the uses of various of the terpenes, and flavanoids, and how the panoply of Cannabis chemovars containing various ratios of these compounds may be of differential utility to various conditions.

Combined with good information on how to check your vendor knows what they are providing, the significance of analytical testing and toxicological screening, and the need for solid, clear regulations over safety, the book also deals at length with the dazzling array of Cannabis products, and methods of consumption. Beautifully designed and laid out by her brother, himself a Medical User — possibly her motivation for putting together this single volume reference text, this text makes a worthy addition to any patient’s self-education, and could well be a useful point of first information for clinicians. With the stymied nature of the pure research literature still crawling out from decades of prohibition, but catching up prodigiously, Ruth Fisher’s book is certainly an essential addition to any researcher looking for a useful one-stop compendium of the various highways and byways of Cannabis.

I add my agreement to Angela Hardy Pharm.D’s dust-cover comments that “this provides an unbiased, clear, concise overview of all the key information and supporting evidence for medical Cannabis. This is precisely what every patient and healthcare provider needs to start making informed and rational decisions about the use of medical Cannabis.” When the Internet is rife with biased and unreliable “information” from Drug Prohibitionists AND hundreds of ProCanna ‘news sites’ and company websites masquerading as information sources, a really unbiased and reliable source is of incalculable value to those navigating such a controversial and vast topic.

--

--

CannaLytica
ConnecTomes

A Natural Philosophy of Drugs: neuroscience, medicine, pharmacology, politics, culture, history, and ethics of humanity’s interrelationships with molecules