Hosted by Dean Becker

Engineered by Philip Guffy

Transcript by Diana Hajer

 Guest:  Dr. Todd Mikuriya


(Audio Track) Intro – My name is Dean Becker; Steve Nolin is our engineer.  We invite you to join us as we examine the unvarnished truth about the drug war. 


Dean:   Good evening.  Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage.  We will have with us in a little while Dr. Todd Mikuriya, noted expert on medical cannabis out of California; and we hope to have Diane Monson on.  She and Angel Raich yesterday appeared in the Supreme Court in regards to medical marijuana, and we hope to have her with us.  A quick program note – our engineer tonight is Philip Guffy.  Steve was unable to make it.  Let’s go ahead and just run that Poppygate report.            Poppygate, bizzare news about the U.S. policy on controlling heroin, featuring Glenn Greenway. 


Greenway:  “The U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that Afghan opium production has nearly doubled over the last year.  The Bush administration has asked Congress for an additional $780 million to fund its new offensive against Afghanistan’s opium trade.  The U.S. plan is to be modeled after similar efforts in Colombia.  Last week, President Bush visited Colombia to celebrate the success of its counter-narcotics efforts.  The Washington Post has announced its support for exporting Plan Colombia to Afghanistan.  U.S. drug czar, John Walters, writes in a Washington Times op-ed about Colombia’s “dramatic progress against a pervasive narcotics trade.”  However, on August 6, 2004, the U.S. drug czar admitted that despite billions of dollars in investment over many years, U.S.-led anti-drug efforts in Latin America had so far failed to reduce availability at home.  The U.S. has allegedly begun aerial spraying in remote eastern Afghanistan, destroying crops and causing illness among farmers.  The U.S. denies involvement.  This is Glenn Greenway reporting for the Drug Truth Network.”


Dean:   Okay, you are listening to Cultural Baggage on Pacifica Radio on the Drug Truth Network.  In just one moment, we are going to have Dr. Todd Mikuriya with us, but first, thanks to our friend Winston Francis, we were able to encapsulate the medical marijuana beliefs of the “compassionate conservatives” in a 40-second sound bite from Republican party doll Ann Coulter.


            Coulter:  “There are no serious studies of the long-term effects of daily marijuana use, but we know marijuana smoke is much worse for the respiratory system than cigarette smoke.  The only reason you never hear about people dying from marijuana is that people don’t smoke pot the way they smoke cigarettes.  One reason for that is, marijuana is illegal.  If people smoked pot as much as they drink and smoke, we undoubtedly would have a much better sense of the health consequences of sustained marijuana use, but by then it would be too late.  Even John Stuart Mills said there were some things that people could not be permitted to choose to do with their own bodies in a free society.  The principle of freedom cannot require that he should be free not to be free.  Drugs enslave people.”


Dean:   Okay, and with that I do want to welcome with us tonight on Cultural Baggage, Dr. Todd Mikuriya.


Mikuriya:  Fascinating that Ann “Slanders” would misquote John Stuart Mills’ take on drugs.  As a matter of fact, John Stuart Mills studied cannabis and recommended it for recovering forgotten memories, which was quoted by the lobbyist for the American Medical Association, Dr. William C. Woodward, in the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act hearings.


Dean:   That was quite a scandal, wasn’t it, sir?  Those proceedings before the tax act was passed.


Mikuriya:  Yes, I think that the deception of Congress by Harry Anslinger needs to be seriously revisited.  And until we do this and reverse this thicket of lies that put the enforcers into the health policy business, we are going to continue to have significant problems.


Dean:   Indeed we are, sir.  As I recall, the gentleman from the American Medical Association actually asked them what they were doing taking away this medicine that had been viable for so many years.


Mikuriya:  That’s right.  And it just happens to be functional evidence of the lies that Ann Slanders just emitted.


Dean:   It was nothing but lies.  I try to be fair and balanced and let them have their two cents in this discussion, because they are unwilling to come on the show and talk about it.


Mikuriya:  Well, you see, the whole issue of cannabis is very much like  “brave new world,” with rewriting of facts and history, and expunging.  And the whole problem is this memory loss, institutional memory loss, about cannabis and about how once upon a time they had at the Food and Drug Administration potency reference specimens for the industry.  And Eli Lilly was a major producer of cannabis, along with Park Davis and other pharmaceutical companies.


Dean:   Yes, sir.  I have seen – we have what we call the “hempstorian” here abouts and he gets these magazines dated 1925 that show you could buy a pound of marijuana in the United States for $1.


Mikuriya:  Well, we also had standardized potency of cannabis in the USP, but the current fiction – this is where the Orwellian process comes in, how they rewrite and say, “we’re going to treat this as a new drug, and we are going to quibble about its definition instead of accepting what is in the U.S. Pharmacopeia of two-tenths of a CC per kilogram of a sort that would cause incapacitation.


Dean:   Well, I think as recently as 3 months ago, John Walters was saying that marijuana has become so potent we can no longer call it marijuana.


Mikuriya:  Well, I think this is just a recurrence of pharmaco-hyperbole that I have heard over the years.  In 1988, Dr. Michael Aldridge and I wrote a review article of potency estimates of from when these were measured in terms of percentages,  which went back to the 1930s; and the way the police store the evidence and the way the samples are taken create a great variation.  And also, the criminal justice system entities are known to prevaricate.


Dean:   Indeed they are.  Some of the former members of law enforcement come on and talk about how they would actually pour a bag of cocaine in a bigger bag and then throw in the flour, or whatever cut was available, so they would have a good story for the press.


Mikuriya:  Well, this is the tragedy of the whole war on drugs thing.  Ever since, for example, let’s look at it globally – once upon a time, guess who controlled all the opium in the world?


Dean:   Was it Great Britain?


Mikuriya:  Yes, Great Britain.  And without that opium trafficking, they couldn’t have performed the China intervention.  So they were bankrolled by all this cannabis – I’m sorry, opium.  They also – speaking of cannabis, in the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission report – developed a very sophisticated regulatory policy that I’ve been espousing a return to.  After, there is this spasm of moralism – of global moralism led by certain kinds of missionaries in China – that turned the world community opinion against Great Britain, and this is when the British Empire was at its zenith.  From there on down, when they lost control of the world opium trade and turned it over to the underworld and the warlords, this created this giant chaos.  You see, the prohibition created this abnormal, illicit markup instead of having pretty normal, acceptable prices within the health community.


Dean:   Which funded our enemies.


Mikuriya:  Right.


Dean:   Yes, sir, but we’re doing it in reverse in Afghanistan.  We’re starting out with that situation.  I don’t know how that’s going to work.


Mikuriya:  Well, you see if they really wanted to jump on top of this, they would legalize opioids, and that would immediately eradicate the market.  If you had a big farm moving in and kicking butt, that would end the warlords.


Dean:   Right.  Perhaps it could be grown there, or it could be grown anywhere.  This stuff does not necessarily have to be grown in Afghan soil or Colombian soil, does it?


Mikuriya:  And you can’t patent it.


Dean:   If you would, tell us about your earlier work when you were working with the Federal agencies and, perhaps, a transition point.


Mikuriya:  Well, once upon a time, I was headhunted from a job that I held at the New Jersey Neuro-Psychiatric Institute as more-or-less an acolyte of Dr. Humphrey Osmond.  Dr. Osmond coined the term “psychedelic,” and administered mescaline to Aldous Huxley who wrote The Doors of Perception.  From this position where I was in charge of the drug addition treatment center, I was enlisted by the National Institute of Mental Health Center of Narcotics and Drug Addiction studies to specifically set up a research program on marijuana.  And so part of this task was to review what literature was extant and make a visit to the reference library of the National Library of Medicine, which is excellent, by the way.  And I learned all about the extensive medicinal history of its use and pharmaceutically, as well as laying eyes on the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission report.


Dean:   Every legislative body that considers medical marijuana always seems to think that there is a need for an additional study and yet we …


Mikuriya:  Well, that is just waffling and perpetuating certain kinds of distortions and myths.  If they would simply restore cannabis to the formulary and grandfather it in instead of going through these torturous exercises in junk science to attempt to find either antagonists to it or ways of detecting it or attempt to create crude phycological models.  So, it’s gone nowhere.  We have the cannabis that once was available on the market right there.  It’s this matter of this institutional denial and unwillingness to confront the actual history.  So it again, back to the 1984 model of the memory hole.  I and Dr. Philip Leveck – who is 80 years old and a former professor of pharmacology and had even more knowledge of the use of cannabis clinically than I had.  I started in 1959 and he started, I guess, in the 1940s.  What we have discovered is that the indications that were utilized before, they hold today.  The management of pain, treatment of migraine headaches, of chronic inflammatory illnesses, and compared with the other new drug categories are vastly safer and more effective.


Dean:   Dr. Mikuriya, we’re going to take just a 1-minute break, and when we come back, I want to ask you about some of the maladies for which cannabis may alleviate or mitigate the symptoms.  And we’ll be back in 1 minute.


            Like millions of Americans, during the holidays I partake in certain orgies of excess.  Last Thursday, a friend brought home a bag, a very large bag.  And I slipped up. And later that afternoon, a couple of hours after partaking, I was found by the neighbors, incapacitated and passed out.  Once again, my warning holds true.  I did not consider what was in the bag and I overdosed on … L-tryptophan.  [Sound of turkey gobbling.]


            It’s time to play “Name That Drug By Its Side Effects”:  Headaches, flushing, a runny nose, nausea, flu-like symptoms, inability to distinguish blue from green, priapism (erection that won’t go away), the inability to have further erections.  Time’s up.  The answer:  Levitra.  Another FDA-approved product.


            HBO comedian, Bill Maur:  “I mean, it is such a triumph of fear and ignorance over fact and logic that the drug that kills nobody is the illegal one.  How would you explain that to an alien who came down?”


            The Drug Truth Network programs, Cultural Baggage and the 4:20 Drug War News, try daily to restore dignity and truth to our society.  Please support our efforts.  Visit


            Okay, you are listening to Cultural Baggage.  My name is Dean Becker.  Our guest is Dr. Todd Mikuriya.  We had hoped to have Diane Monson call us from Washington, D.C., but we have been unable to make that connection.  Dr. Mikuriya, if you would pardon me for just one second, I want to go ahead and play that track with Diane and just give her a little bit of a voice in our discussion.


            Monson:  I’m Diane Monson.


            Dean:            Diane, you and Angel Raich, a couple of cannabis growers, are headed to the Supreme Court.  Tell us what that entails, please.


            Monson:  Well, it’s quite interesting and I think that Angel and myself are much stronger than we would be separate on this issue, because while Angel is very ill and requires help to grow her cannabis, I am in better shape.  I can grow my own cannabis.  I have a very bad back problem, but with the use of cannabis, I am able to get many productive hours out of my day.  And one of the things that I do with those hours is I grow my own cannabis.


            Dean:            There have been numerous Attorneys General from some of the southern states – Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana have filed on behalf of your efforts.  Do you want to talk about that?  The diversity of opinion.


            Monson:  Yes, the amicus briefs that are coming in are really amazing.  Because this makes for strange bedfellows.  Let’s say many people who have been virulently anti-drug are now coming around to the fact that, in fact, cannabis can be very efficacious and useful in many, many diseases and syndromes.  And these are facts that have been brought forward by studies that were conducted by the government itself.  So I think that many of previously, shall we say, anti-drug type people are coming around to realize that this could be an extremely useful and helpful…”


Dean:   Okay, that was Diane Monson, and we’re talking with Dr. Todd Mikuriya.  Hello, Dr. Mikuriya.


Mikuriya:  Yes, and I thoroughly agree.


Dean:   I was asking, sir, before we took our break, if you would discuss some of those maladies which are treatable with cannabis.


Mikuriya:  Well, cannabis is a potent immunomodulator.  That is to say it effects inflammatory reactions.  And it is caused by changes that take place both inside the brain that radiate down the adreno-pituitary axis and also at peripheral sites themselves where the localized inflammation is taking place.  The next thing is anti-spasmatic easement, where muscle spasm is relieved and seizure disorders are helped; although the seizure disorders can be looked upon as an inflammatory-specific localized reaction, which could be then categorized as an immunomodulator function.  But the skeletal and smooth muscle relaxation functions are perhaps some of the most important, because it controls many symptoms of the GI tract and it promotes normal peristalsis and evacuation.  It also relieves stomach muscle spasm, which paradoxically is caused by drugs like opiates and irritations by the nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs like aspirin and its patented kissing cousins.  We don’t have this kind of problem with cannabis.  Also, cannabis is used as a reliever and modulator of mood, which parallels very closely the immunomodulator function.  For example, anxiety and depression and emotional over reactivity is especially treated well with cannabis, which all plays out in insomnia, a major positive use for it.  So coupled with relieving the emotional over reactivity plus the restoration of circadian rhythm and sleep, cannabis should be the first drug of choice with patients with PTSD, depression, and certain kinds of anxiety disorders.  Compared with the side effect profile, cannabis has all the others beaten by an order of magnitude.  Interestingly, cannabis is effective in the treatment of ADD and AD/HD because certain kinds of the emotion reactivity distort cognition and distract, which cannabis controls.


Dean:   I have heard of a young gentleman by the name of Jeffrey out there in California who was afforded a great deal of relief through a certain strain of cannabis, and yet other strains did not work as well for him.  Could you talk about that aspect, please?


Mikuriya:  It’s a bell-shaped curve with regard to how people respond to strain differences.  Some people have very strange, specific reactions for their specific target symptoms.  And they are just very fortunate to be able to match up, and they are even more fortunate if they can cultivate and develop heritage strains.  And I have met some older self-medicators that have done just that.  Over the years, they would be like Gregor Mendal, picking out the ones that have the best profile of desired effects, and then save the seeds and propagate it again.


Dean:   Yes, there have been many instances where I am aware of growers in California who have worked for years, if not decades, developing seeds only to have the Federal government take them away and destroy them.


Mikuriya:  True.


Dean:   I guess what I’m – I don’t know, in that Diane isn’t here.  I kind of wanted to touch on some of the proceedings yesterday within the Supreme Court, some of the stuff that was said.  I was able to get an early transcript from some folks, and one of the things that struck my eye was they said marijuana is illegal because the Congress wants a black market.  That was said by Mr. Clements, the government attorney there.


Mikuriya:  That’s fascinating; because if they want a black market, this means that the enforcement/corrections complex is really out for their market share.


Dean:   Yes, sir, a direct quote from Mr. Clements responding to Justice Kennedy.  He said Congress is trying to increase the price for marijuana by creating a black market.


Mikuriya:  Oh, that’s smart.  I mean that like saying, “let’s make it less available and drive up the prices, and drive more money underground.”


Dean:   And that’s what they are doing, isn’t it?


Mikuriya:  Well, increase the illicit markup. 


Dean:   It’s an insane situation.  And they talk about, “isn’t marijuana fungible,” and of course, it is.  Everything on Earth is fungible to one degree or another, but it is not – were it not illegal, there would be no value to it whatsoever, really.


Mikuriya:  Well, I’ll tell you, in California we’re encountering a crime wave and the crime wave is a RICO of people under cover of authority figuring out how they can block access to cannabis by duly authorized patients.  If you would have your listeners visit, and click on “projects,” you will see a map of the state of California by county.  If you click on the county, you can see what the level of noncompliance there is.  We have this endemic administrative anarchy, courtesy of Bill Walker being held hostage by the California Narcotics Officers Association.  Visit their website,, and look at their position paper on medical marijuana.  It’s a criminal enterprise, you’ll see.  What they are advocating violates the law that passed out here 8 years ago.  But they are the ones that, behind the scenes, have collaborated with the DEA to rat out physicians to the medical board and cause us a great deal of grief.  I, personally, am on probation by the medical board and have to cough up $75,000 to them plus over $200,000 legal fees because of these illegitimate complaints.


Dean:  Yes, sir, I’m aware.  You have written recommendations for hundreds if not thousands of good, strong, legitimate marijuana patients.  And yet was there not also involvement from the prison guards union in bribing of the officials, if you will?


Mikuriya:  Well, you see it is the “thin blue line” mentality.  And we have, for example, in Dr. Molly Fry’s case, the DEA doing a home take-over invasion and holding guns at her head and that of her children and husband and confiscating 6,000 medical records and then turning them over to the medical board examiner – the medical board investigator – who then, without the patients’ permission, riffled through all these records and came up with complaints filed against Dr. Fry.  They are just doing end-runs around Conant v. McAffrey injunctive protection.


Dean:   Well, Dr. Mikuriya, we only have another 30 seconds, I guess it is.  I want to thank you for being with us.  I’d like to do this again next year sometime, perhaps after the Supreme Court makes their ruling, and talk about it again.  But I do thank you for being with us.


Mikuriya:  Well, my pleasure; and just remember, neither the composition of cannabis nor human physiology has changed since 1937.


Dean:   Very well put, sir.  Thank you.  All right, a couple of program notes before we go.  Last week we offered you a book, Under the Influence, Disinformation Guide to Drugs, edited by Preston Peet.  Cody Reynolds, of Houston, was the closest to the number I had chosen, and the book is now on its way.  I want to make note of the fact that we got our 16th station, KGLP, 91.7 FM in Gallup, New Mexico.  They will be carrying the Cultural Baggage show, and I want to say hello to my new listeners out there and welcome to the Drug Truth Network.  Next week, we’ll have a working police officer from Ontario, Canada, John Gayder.  And for the holiday season, we’ll start with a little music from Texas bluesman, Guy Swartz.  Let’s see, how much time have we got, Philip?  Okay anyway, my friends, we’ll try to get Diane Monson in here soon.  She can tell us how the Supreme Court proceedings went and what we can do to help them in California.  I want to commend all those brave souls in California for standing up to this injustice, this pack of lies put forward by the U.S. government.  And always, because of drug prohibition, I must remind you – you don’t know what’s in that bag.  Please, be careful.


            For the Drug Truth Network and on behalf of my technical producer, Steve Nolin, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage, the unvarnished truth.  This show is produced at Pacifica Studios of KPFT, Houston.  Tap dancing on the edge of an abyss.