When prejudices dominate rights

Date: 01.03.2019

''At the same time, by pushing the head into the sand and deterring the view from the potentials of using the plant for medical purposes, we also discourage the possibility of research and new discoveries, methods and approaches for treatment.''

Amra Šabić

Amra Šabić, Ph.D. Assist.
University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Work, Assist. in the field of addiction and youth

The word cannabis raises the pressure in many experts, but when we add to the term treatment the issue escalates. The debate is redirected to referring to criminal act and ethical course of actions, creating a place for criminalization of as well users as patients. In the field of cannabinoid use, the views and the discussions are mainly diverted from the positive effects and potentials of the plant, to the negative prevailing social beliefs, prejudices, stereotypes, myths and delusions about addiction and abuse. The rhetoric used, reflects fear and ignorance and becomes the basis for a professional argumentation of the unacceptability of legalization or regulation. If anyone chooses to use the plant for medical purposes, at once he/she is subjected to moral accusations. The alleged "unethical behaviour" prevents the treatment of children and adolescent, and criminal prosecution threatens parents or adults who opt for this kind of help for their loved ones. In the muddle of these professional disagreements, patients remain whose voice is not heard and whose destiny is shaped by others. People's rights to decide on their own life and treatment are overlooked. After all, life preservation is a leading value, not just for doctors, but also of our society. But on the contrary, the one who accepts this, not easy, path of treatment, can be easily identified by society and individuals as a drug addict, drug dealer or provider of drugs that forces other people into drug addiction. Despite numerous studies proving the data on beneficial effects of cannabinoids, they still remain a matter of prohibition or partial legalization, which consequently means that people with a specific clinical picture, are still looking for medicine on the black market and use without medical supervision. Regardless of that fact that the legalization of the use of certain cannabinoids for medical purposes has taken place and despite good practices from abroad, a handful of individuals still oppose and, with the help of their own channels of power they are preventing the proper regulation of this area. As a consequence, the black market is expanding, this kind of rhetoric serves the incensement for earnings and mildly put enables accumulation of riches at the expense of the diseased, but this does not represent ethical and moral dilemmas, since the person decided for a criminal act on their own. At the same time, in this confusion there are a number of providers who non-critical offer cannabis extracts as a miraculous medicine. The market is flooded with products of doubtful quality, and this is causing additional damage to professional and fact-supported use of this plant for medical purposes. In other words, the right to choose is enabled to an individual, but is limited by the right of accessibility and legality. One can enjoy and exercise his right to chosen treatment and health only to the extent that was determined by a relevant expert and which also reflects knowledge or ignorance of the effects of cannabis on health. In this way, despite the fact that some prescribed drugs have worse effects and cause serious side-effects, the cannabinoid products will not be prescribed. Even more, even when the tools and knowledge of official medicine fail, and even when the situation is inevitable, the individual is not allowed the right to search for alternatives and hence the use of cannabinoids. At the same time, by pushing the head into the sand and deterring the view from the potentials of using the plant for medical purposes, we also discourage the possibility of research and new discoveries, methods and approaches for treatment. Medical ethics become a letter on a piece of paper that does not exhaust (not accept) all possible forms of treatment and knowledge, last but not least, doctors are committed to respecting the law and official doctrines... In this way, in health, like in social work, experts are also pushed among the helpless, namely the ones that are torn between the ethical principles of the profession and the legislation that prevents the realization of these principles. And the life of an individual loses his value, because "it is not in accordance with the existing legislation".


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