Columns

Open Letter to Kevin Sabet, Official Opposed to CBD Medical Marijuana

By: Seth Hyman | Posted: March 7, 2014 3:55 AM
Seth Hyman

Seth Hyman

Are you a father, Mr. Sabet? I suspect not, because if you had a child like my little girl Becca, you would understand the gut-wrenching suffering she experiences every day. It is the most painful experience a parent can endure -- and it's why I'm fighting for medical marijuana reform in Florida.

I reference Nancy Smith's March 5 commentary, "Anti-Legalization Advocate Trying to Snuff Out Medical Marijuana Bill," to remind other readers about the subject of this letter.

Mr. Sabet, you suggest that instead of my elected representatives in Tallahassee taking action to bring my daughter and tens of thousands of other kids relief, that they should apply for clinical trials. What you are asking is that families like mine pray and pray that they'll be accepted into a trial that may or may not even exist in Florida -- which the vast majority of people will not have access to.

I know you are the director of the University of Florida's Drug Policy Institute, but I hate to break the news to you: Your qualifications on this issue are questionable. A couple of years working for the Obama administration doesn't carry much weight here in Tallahassee.

Legislators and patient families like mine are wondering why you decided to interject yourself in this legislation on the eve of its first committee vote? And why haven't you registered to lobby the Legislature on this issue?

Are you lobbying on behalf of your employer, the University of Florida? Is someone else paying your fees? Or are you just trying to scuttle this important legislation out of the goodness of your heart?

Ultimately, this is not about you. It’s about allowing desperate parents like me to have the choice, to work with our physicians to administer potentially life-saving alternatives to our children.

Mr. Sabet, I hope you never have to experience what I go through every day with my child. But if you did, I promise you would be right here with me, working with our legislators to bring relief to kids like Becca. 

I’ll leave you with this: If a world-class neurosurgeon like CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta can change his mind on medical marijuana, maybe you can as well. He's certainly a heck of a lot smarter than I am.



Seth Hyman and his family -- wife 
Danielle and 8-year-old Rebecca -- live in Weston.


Comments (30)

Austin
10:18AM MAR 10TH 2014
Do not expect Kevin Sabet to write back, unless you mailed him a check or give him some other support.

Hes in it to make money off others suffering. All of his supporters (Drug rehabs, police unions, and the NIDA) show this.
scott
11:52PM MAR 9TH 2014
I hope politicians look at these comments and realize what aligning themselves with Sabet will cost them in terms fo voter support. They should see his endorsements as a liability.
Fire
2:09PM MAR 9TH 2014
Any elected in office or trying to get elected into office in the state of Florida should be questioned on where they stand on legalizing medical marijuana. If they refuse to give the citizens there answer then give them the no vote while giving amendment #2 the yes vote. Time for the citizens to tell these public servants we are the government.
CriticalReader7
12:54PM MAR 9TH 2014
You are missing the point, marijuana is a psychoactive drug that needs to be filtered and made into real medicine for people that genuinely need it, such as your daughter. Marijuana isn't a miracle drug, there's simply no guarantee it will get rid of your daughter's affliction completely anyways. Scientific testing and proper procedure is always necessary. We need to make this a discussion about science, not just clinging on to the 'magic' of weed.
KathyD
6:09PM MAR 10TH 2014
What makes cannabis such a marvel of healling is how all the cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenoids work together. Nature has created the perfect chemical blend that no pharmaceutical chemist has ever been able to duplicate. Until they begin to understand that and work towards which combinations and ratios work better for which ailments we as patients are left to figure it out ourselves. Much work as been done on the collection of information and patients have a variety of sources for such information. When science catches up to patients with testing devices (to measure all cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenoids of all crops, and levels of patients) we will advance like lightening.
Austin
10:20AM MAR 10TH 2014
Actually weed is quite magical as of right now, current science does not fully understand the cannabis plant. Luckily all studies have shown amazing results for patients. And nearly nothing negative.

There is alot more to be learned of Cannabis.
scott
11:48PM MAR 9TH 2014
so what? coffee is psychoactive. studies have shown it doesn't increase the risk for driving. its not dangerous. you can't overdose on it. we live in a free country.

the THC is actually shown to increase immune function in HIV patients. THC inhibits hiv viral replication. There is as much research for THC as CBD if not more. Even from the early 80's we've known THC stopped seizures. I could cite a bazillion studies. Learn something and stop repeating propaganda.
Sabet,IsThatYou?
11:34PM MAR 9TH 2014
No, YOU are missing the point. The plant has many medical compounds. Heck, even different STRAINS of the plant have different medical qualities. Research? YES, so reschedule the plant so proper medical research CAN be done. Give it a rest for the sake of humanity, Kevin Sabet.
Kevin Hunt
9:10AM MAR 9TH 2014
Sabet = world class liar. He is even opposed to industrial hemp which does not get anyone 'high'.
Crystal Primus
9:02AM MAR 9TH 2014
In Iowa, our ridiculous governor who has been allowed to sit in office for far far too many terms, created the position of director of drug control policy and appointed a 33 year old with a mere bachelor's degree and absolutely ZERO qualifications for the role. These individuals receive these appointments because they are good little robots who will continue spewing the lies and propaganda of prohibition. It is 100% motivated by money and power money. Cruel, irresponsible, unamerican and we need to do something about it.
Mike Parent
7:20AM MAR 9TH 2014
Sabet does not car about anything other than maintaining Prohibition 's status quo. He's a life long career Prohibitionist parasite whose only expertise is in Proaganda.
Gaila Glass
2:46PM MAR 8TH 2014
If you knew the heart wrenching decisions that parents with children with ailments face daily - I dont think you would be so opposed to the medical marijuana bill. Get out and meet some of these people they are your constituents too! I traveled all the way from Illinois to meet and give support to these parents.
Deacon Green
12:03PM MAR 8TH 2014
Sabet is the devil incarnate. Who else would take money while torturing the children.
Mark H
7:19AM MAR 8TH 2014
Kevin "Super Silver Haze" Sabet cannot even hold a point/counterpoint discussion on the issue. His main objection at the debate was nobody has ever smoked medicine. Of course he must be very ignorant by innocence on ancient civilizations or he would know that statement is inaccurate, however, just like most prohibitionists, Sabet's speech was full of doom and gloom and extremely short on verifiable facts, but then again, verifiable facts have never been that important to prohibitionists or they would do some research by reading a few of the thousands of reports on studies done on Cannabis available via PubMed.com

Speeches like Sabet's signal the death rattle of a prohibition that is long overdue for repeal. His babblings actually help our cause. He is just to obtuse to realize it.
Keith Sommer
2:24AM MAR 8TH 2014
In 1839 O'Shaughnessy conducted clinical trials of cannabis preparations by giving extracts and tinctures to some of his patients. He presented concise case studies of patients suffering from rheumatism, hydrophobia, cholera, and tetanus, as well as a 40-day-old baby with convulsions, who responded well to cannabis therapy, leaping from near death to "the enjoyment of robust health" in a few days. O'Shaughnessy concludes that these clinical studies have "led me to the belief that in Hemp the profession has gained an anti-convulsive remedy of the greatest value." There are many scientific studies supporting the medical benefits of cannabis. The ignorance of science has to stop, and the empathy for patients has to start. We need medical marijuana for many conditions that should be decided by doctors and not legislators. Legislators need to provide the ability for doctors to help their patients. Please stop sweating the details and let the Dept. of Health decide on how the process is going to be implemented. Support the majority now or come November it will be decided by the voters and we will know whether you were for us or not and vote accordingly on your fate.
amy c
10:04PM MAR 7TH 2014
Interestingly Kevin Sabet is not a medical doctor-yet he has been given a position that gives many the impression he is medically qualified to make the statements he makes. It is also interesting to me that while our nation struggles with some very serious drug problems-he continues to place undue focus on cannabis. I do not mind people opposing changing the cannabis rules in Florida-but I do when they base their decision on inaccurate information
Dean
11:54PM MAR 7TH 2014
Sabet. Anti-medical marijuana. A shrill for big pharma. Dr Sonjay Gupta, a reknowned physician, pro medical marijuana. Who would you trust? I go with someone who deals with sickness rather than someone who deals with lies. Please vote YES ON AMENDMENT 2 in November. The only way ALL of the patients will be able to get the medicine they ned legally. Thanx
Neal Feldman
2:57AM MAR 9TH 2014
"shrill"... love it!! So accurate!
KathyD
7:21PM MAR 7TH 2014
Patients and others are thrilled the legislature is waking up to the health benefits of cannabis. We regret they seem to only be looking at one strain for one ailment when well over a million other patients in Florida would benefit as miraculously with their ailments. We all hope when it comes to HB 859 - Medical Use Of Cannabis, the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act, the legislature has the same compassion, understanding and support for those that need a higher THC level like the cancer patients and so many others that suffer health ailments cannabis has shown to be so effective in helping improve their quality of life, or body's ability to function. Please let your representative know you support legalizing all the medicine for all the patients and would like them to pass HB 859 in the Florida House and SB962 in the Florida Senate.
KathyD
7:13PM MAR 7TH 2014
Science discovered the endocannabinoid system back in 1987. As Raphael Mechoulem, the man who originally discovered THC in 1964 and has been studying cannabis ever since, whose team discovered the endocannabinoid system in 1987, states, "There is barely a biological or physiological system in our bodies in which the endocannabinoids do not participate". The ECS (endocannabinoid system) is a modulator of physiological functions in the central nervous system, the autonomic nervous system, the endocrine network, the immune system, the gastrointestinal tract, the reproductive system, in microcirculation, and most important the cytokine network, which is the source of inflammation, the cause of nearly if not all disease. By keeping cannabis, illegal the government is denying citizens an essential nutrient for health, causing health problems for many people, and it is unacceptable by any government. On speaking of raw fresh cannabis, Dr William L. Courtney states, "It (cannabis) has captures these molecules that help our bodies regulatory system be more effective. The bottom line is it's a dietary essential that helps all 210 cell types function more effectively. I don't even refer to it as medicine anymore, strictly as a dietary essential." No one should have a gun in their face from law enforcement, be arrested, humiliated, degraded or treated as a subculture for their choice of medicine and/or health needs.

Kevin Sabet, the National Institute of Health's Library is loaded with medical studies proving cannabis is a safe effective medicine and how it helps our own endocannabinoid system when it does not function properly. I have read every one of them. Have you read any of them? Are you aware the endocannabinoid system not producing enough cannabinoids is the direct cause and reason for motion sickness? Cannabis has been studied more than any substance known to mankind. Want to know the truth about cannabis and it's effect on any ailment? Simply type marijuana and the ailment, for example, marijuana Arthritis, or marijuana Crohns, in a Google search. Pick an ailment, you will be amazed at what you find, medical studies explaining it all - the truth. Google "endocannabinoid system homeostasis" I bet you won't be able to stop talking about what you learn. I know I can't.

Cannabis is such an awesome antibiotic it can kill methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and disrupt the progression of prion diseases such as Mad Cow and Creutzfeld-Jakob disease. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, currently there is "No FDA-approved treatment for a prion disease.”

Thousands of deaths each year in the U.S. are caused by MRSA. A recent study shows hemp fabric stops the spread of Staph and MRSA. In light of that, with the Staph and MRSA epidemic in most U.S. Hospitals wouldn't it be wise to use hemp fabric for all hospital bedding, towels, clothing and curtains?

Kevin Sabet, since smoking is your major concern let me start there. The absolute best purpose for smoking cannabis is as an expectorant. For those who are allergic to guaifenesin, the expectorant used in most cough and cold medications, it can be a life saver. It can be the difference between suffocating on ones own mucus and coughing it out and opening the breathing airways. It can prevent pneumonia by allowing the mucus to be coughed out.

The other main reasons for smoking are almost instant relief and titration. If one is vomiting, eating is not always possible. Waiting 40 minutes to an hour or longer for something eaten to work doesn’t usually work when vomiting is involved because what was eaten usually gets thrown up, so a few puffs to stop the vomiting can be the best solution for the patient at the time.

For many patients a small amount is all they need. Parkinson’s patients report it takes 1 - 4 puffs generally to stop the tremors. By smoking it provides the relief almost instantly. They can titrate, use what they need, 1 puff at a time. You can’t do that so easily when eating something that takes 40 minutes to over an hour to work. Why should an elderly Parkinson’s patient or anyone with ailment that cause tremors or spasms, or vomiting have to wait for relief when it could be instantly?
merry ann frisby
2:55PM MAR 7TH 2014
I have held my daughter in my arms while she had seizures. We should help the parents of children who have these brain storms. Anything that will help parents avoid this horrid task , is what the Florida Legislature should do.
l. b. lebin
12:30PM MAR 7TH 2014
kevin sabet has been supported by the semblers. mel and betty. they are connected to the notorious rehab company STRAIGHT INC. deeply involved in child abuse. mel sembler is a ver big jeb bush supporter, a fact jeb will have to defend when he runs for POTUS in 2016. sembler money has supported most if not all the prohibition lobby from CALM to SAM. sabet, among the crreepiest of the creepy has been one of the main witnesses in house committees regarding cannabis legalization. committees are so arranged that there is no representation from legalization experts.
Kevin Hunt
9:12AM MAR 9TH 2014
Mel Sembler’s name is most likely to strike fear into the hearts of anyone involved in teen drug rehabs. Sembler and his wife, Betty, founded a chain of such institutions under the name Straight, Inc., which at its peak in the ‘80s had 12 clinics in nine states and a track record of extreme abuse.

In one of many stories from Straight that have been exposed, a teenage girl testified to being compelled into the program after being caught with an airline bottle of liquor given to her by a friend, and then beaten, raped, locked in a janitor’s closet in pants soiled by urine, feces, and menstrual blood..
Richard Steeb
11:21AM MAR 7TH 2014
Google: "anti-convulsive remedy of the greatest value"
This was written 170 YEARS ago. Can "Doctor" Sabet prove otherwise?
B-Rad
10:24AM MAR 7TH 2014
Sabet's PhD is in SOCIAL POLICY, his UG is POLITICAL SCIENCE; that clown is qualified enough to manage a McDonald's......
B-Rad
12:01PM MAR 7TH 2014
*Isn't
Dianne McKee RRT
9:31AM MAR 7TH 2014
To the Hyman family, my heart goes out to you and to all the other families who struggle daily with a health issue in which medical cannabis is able to alleviate even the smallest amount of pain and suffering experienced by a sick loved one.
It is ludicrous for anyone to suggest a cannabis trial study at this point in time. It takes years and hundreds of thousands of dollars for trial studies.
The facts are already on the table. Based on current outcomes that have been communicated to the public, how can the government deny this relief to the people? There has been ample time over the last twenty years for the government to initiate and conclude any cannabis study they may have wanted.
The time has come for the people to be able to have access to this “cheap” natural alternative drug if they choose.
To anyone who questions the use of medical cannabis I echo Mr. Hyman's words, “If a world-class neurosurgeon like CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta can change his mind on medical marijuana, maybe you can as well. He's certainly a heck of a lot smarter than I am.”
Dean
9:14AM MAR 7TH 2014
One of the faces of the anti-medical marijuana movement. Do not be fooled, most of the current crop of politicians in Tally wear the same face. There is a hurry up and do something to block Amendment 2. The current bill does not legalize, but allows for a medical defense, which already exists. No legal growing, producing or delivery. Thus parents would have to grow and produce their own medicine, thus risking arrest at every step. The solution? Vote YES on Amendment 2. Then everybody will be able to get the LEGAL medicine they need. Thanx
Warreb
8:07AM MAR 7TH 2014
Thank you for writing this open letter to Mr.Sabet, he is a failure and a parasite that needs to get off the issue entirely of marijuana, its sickening and disgusting to see a man trying to deny access to family's who need help, I think the public should disown this parasite and let him know he is unwelcome especially when 80 percent of the people support medical marijuana. he is against the public and he is also forgetting we will vote in the candidates in favor of this legislation as well
scott
5:27AM MAR 7TH 2014
Kevin sabet is a huckster. Look at his twitter feed for months upon months of activists confronting him. He engages briefly, until people start citing studies and then he tucks his tail and runs.

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