[Discussion] Medical Quackery

This is a follow up to the thread "Medical quackery in the US upsets me very, very much". The aim of this current thread is to take up the discussion on medical quackery (widening the scope since the US isn't the only country concerned), discuss news item pertaining to it and the potential responses to address it.
The definition of medical quackery is not up for debate and includes, among others, homeopathy, vaccine skepticism, naturopathy, crystal healing, psychic healing.

RawkGWJ wrote:
ruhk wrote:

I take CBD occasionally to help with sleep and occasional back pain from an old injury, but apparently I’m sensitive to THC or something- anything more than a few mg makes feel congested and headachey. It’s not pleasant.

There is an episode of Science Vs that does a great job of demystifying CDB oil. Spoiler: Since CDB oil is unregulated, your CDB oil probably has THC in it.

Science vs CDB Oil

I know. My two favorite items are an oil/herb infusion I like that clocks at 0.25 mgs THC per serving and a mint edible that sits at 1 mg. I’m sure that no CBD product is ENTIRELY 100% THC free but the legal weed industry is pretty varied at this point despite being only a few years old. My personal breaking point at which I start having adverse symptoms seems to be between 5-10 mgs.

I've used CBD oil and some CBD candies here and there and have had some success in terms of treating some of my milder episodes of anxiety. I don't really care if it's because there is a low dose of THC in there or not and if that's what's causing the effect. It doesn't get me stoned and calms my intrusive thoughts a little.

Like so many unregulated substances, CBD probably has some beneficial effects, but due to the "everything good is from nature" nuts those effects are wildly generalized and the effective dose is likely much greater than one will find in many off-the-shelf products.

Formally, that's the Appeal to Nature logical fallacy. Both the Grocery store and the pharmacy are rife with it. See GMO fear-mongering, organic food proliferation and labeling, and herbal 'remedies' for everything

I’m pretty skeptical of CBD especially since people are touting it as the fix for all kinds of different things that I wouldn’t think share any pathological mechanism (eg acne, gout, heart disease).

That said, there is significant research evidence for it working for certain seizures even in the failure of all other approved seizure meds. It clearly has some kind of neurological effect which makes me less skeptical than with most other supplements at least in terms of helping things like mental health issues or chronic nerve pain.

gewy wrote:

I’m pretty skeptical of CBD especially since people are touting it as the fix for all kinds of different things that I wouldn’t think share any pathological mechanism (eg acne, gout, heart disease).

Hell, the guy at the farmers market here says it kills cancer.

I think this is the perfect time to advertise the very awesome Sawbones episode on CBD oil.

Delbin wrote:
gewy wrote:

I’m pretty skeptical of CBD especially since people are touting it as the fix for all kinds of different things that I wouldn’t think share any pathological mechanism (eg acne, gout, heart disease).

Hell, the guy at the farmers market here says it kills cancer.

Well, if you surgically remove the cancer tissue then douse it in CBD oil, the cancer cells die. QED, suckers!

Delbin wrote:
gewy wrote:

I’m pretty skeptical of CBD especially since people are touting it as the fix for all kinds of different things that I wouldn’t think share any pathological mechanism (eg acne, gout, heart disease).

Hell, the guy at the farmers market here says it kills cancer.

I have had several patients who chose CBD oil over proven therapies for their cancer. It has not ended well.

The problem is while there is some initial evidence that marijuana has some medicinal effects (some reports show it has good influence in getting people on chemotherapy to eat) spammers and pyramid schemes abound now that it is legal in Canada (and elsewhere) pushing the idea that "the medical institutions don't want you to find out this one trick!!" not realizing that if marijuana was a miracle drug, it would have been made legal a LONG, LONG time ago. It has the whole "well, it's natural, so it is real healthy and safe" thing people push.

There's a long history of any shiny new scientific thing being seized on as a miracle cure--including electricity, radium, cocaine, and heroin--and don't stop until people's jaws fall off and the FDA steps in. Marijuana has the additional allure of being illegal for long enough that there's already a cult of secrecy around it and hippie legends of its powers.

Like most things, it has some useful purposes, some side effects, and won't cure cancer, AIDS, or autism. Which are the three things that it seems to me that people are the most afraid of when they're searching for miracle cures, despite heart disease killing more people. (And autism doesn't kill anyone.)

And, as I say any time that someone tells me that something is natural: hemlock is natural too, and I'm not going to be eating that, thank you very much.

If only the FDA were proactive. Why can companies sell products with unproven claims on them at all? Why can they sell a product that has not been proven safe (vape-anything)? (Talking about a hypothetical reasonable society, not reality)

polypusher wrote:

If only the FDA were proactive. Why can companies sell products with unproven claims on them at all? Why can they sell a product that has not been proven safe (vape-anything)? (Talking about a hypothetical reasonable society, not reality)

Short version: They tried.

Less-short version: The FDA classified e-cigs as "drug delivery devices" and started regulating them as such, including seizing shipments that came in from overseas. The companies manufacturing the devices sued the FDA in court, and won. The judge told the FDA that they have to regulate them the same way they regulate all other tobacco products.

Here's an article from the NYT from when the judge made his decision - in January 2010.

The distributors say the vapor contains virtually none of the cancer-causing chemicals of traditional cigarettes, but the F.D.A. says it has not been proved safe.

“This case appears to be yet another example of F.D.A.’s aggressive efforts to regulate recreational tobacco products as drugs or devices,” Judge Leon wrote.

With the passage of landmark tobacco legislation last year, he added, the Food and Drug Administration’s new tobacco division will be able to regulate the contents and marketing claims of e-cigarettes in the same way it is about to begin regulating traditional tobacco products. But the agency’s drug division cannot ban the devices, the judge ruled.

...

Judge Leon argued that the devices should be regulated in the same way as cigarettes. The judge also agreed with the distributors that e-cigarettes were not marketed as medical devices to help smokers quit, as the Food and Drug Administration had argued, but rather as safer substitutes to give users “the nicotine hit that smokers crave.”

Yeah, I don't agree with the decision either, but it held up on appeal (3-0, no less, and then the full court declined to hear it).

polypusher wrote:

If only the FDA were proactive. Why can companies sell products with unproven claims on them at all? Why can they sell a product that has not been proven safe (vape-anything)? (Talking about a hypothetical reasonable society, not reality)

What keldar is describing is one facet of the regulatory capture that is a big problem in most regulatory agencies. Keldar nails the effect on ecigs, but it applied to CBD cancer treatment too in that it is what achieved an efficacy exception for 'nutritional supplements' and the extremely lax definition of what constitutes a nutritional supplement that allows those kinds of snake oil to still thrive.

Wow Fast Company is giving homeopathy quackery an alarming amount of love:

Are “clean meds” the next big wellness frontier?

Genexa is the cleaner, healthier, and homeopathic alternative for over-the-counter medication. Can it win over consumers who demand better ingredients? Pharmacists are torn.

Found out this week that our anti-vax family friend had each of their 4 children contract measles.

My response was, "At least none of the kids have autism." (At least two of the four are on the spectrum)

I feel awful for the kids (they're all fine), but it definitely validates our decision not to allow them around our children before they were vaccinated.

thrawn82 wrote:
polypusher wrote:

If only the FDA were proactive. Why can companies sell products with unproven claims on them at all? Why can they sell a product that has not been proven safe (vape-anything)? (Talking about a hypothetical reasonable society, not reality)

What keldar is describing is one facet of the regulatory capture that is a big problem in most regulatory agencies. Keldar nails the effect on ecigs, but it applied to CBD cancer treatment too in that it is what achieved an efficacy exception for 'nutritional supplements' and the extremely lax definition of what constitutes a nutritional supplement that allows those kinds of snake oil to still thrive.

The nutritional supplement lobby is one of the most powerful and well funded. They petition and sponsor laws that enable the industry to keep operating with impunity.

I use to deliver COD shipments of “supplements” to an “integrated wellness center”. I would collect checks from them for OUTLANDISH amounts of money for just a few medium sized boxes of supplements. Their COD amounts were among the largest I’d ever collected in my twenty years of delivering packages for UPS.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

Wow Fast Company is giving homeopathy quackery an alarming amount of love:

Are “clean meds” the next big wellness frontier?

Genexa is the cleaner, healthier, and homeopathic alternative for over-the-counter medication. Can it win over consumers who demand better ingredients? Pharmacists are torn.

I feel like i really need to know exactly which pharmacists feel town about homeopathic medicine, so i know which pharmacists aren't actually pharmacists and not to use them.

kaostheory wrote:

Found out this week that our anti-vax family friend had each of their 4 children contract measles.

My response was, "At least none of the kids have autism." (At least two of the four are on the spectrum)

I feel awful for the kids (they're all fine), but it definitely validates our decision not to allow them around our children before they were vaccinated.

Well i'm glad to hear the kids came through fine, but wow is that horrifying. I don't have the number on hand, but I feel like 4/4 surviving measles without lasting damage or complications is beating the odds.

Anti-vax moms sue NYC as US heads toward record measles spread

Five unnamed mothers in New York City filed a lawsuit Monday, April 15, seeking to block the city's mandatory vaccination order in areas hit by a massive measles outbreak that has raged since last October.
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City health officials announced the order earlier this month as they declared a public health emergency over the outbreak, which has sickened 329 people so far—mostly children. According to the city's order, all unvaccinated people in affected ZIP codes must receive the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, prove immunity, or have a valid medical exemption. Violators could face a fine of $1,000.