This is the translation of an answer made by the Professor Costentin (*) to a letter published by a Deputy of the Loiret (French Department) about the therapeutic cannabis (October 2022).
Professor Jean Costentin
President of CNPERT
(National Center for Prevention, Studies and Research on Drug Addiction)
I have just taken note of your disappointed statements on the delay that the new Minister of Health is allowing himself to draw conclusions from the pseudo study (“experimentation”) of the so-called “therapeutic” cannabis that you helped to set up.
Along with some of your cannabinophile colleagues in the National Assembly, you declared, a priori, that this cannabis would be “therapeutic”. In order to demonstrate what your project required, you sent a compliant substitute, a medical doctor of psychiatry, a professor recently devoted to pharmacology.
The study he has put in place is not admissible under the rules in force to soften a molecule as a medicine; especially since in this case it is a mixture of many different molecules, in varying proportions. These rules of good practice have been developed at length and the National Agency for the Safety of Medicinal Products (ANSM) has adopted them. Also, cannabis cannot justify their aggiornamento, associating in the circumstances: the absence of placebo group; the absence of a double-blind practice; a limited number of patients despite the five different indications explored, the use of different forms of galenics and different doses; the near real-time disclosure of intermediate results, likely to influence patients included in the study or who would agree to take part in the study; the media coverage of the entire operation; plus your recent statements…
Your impatience has already been expressed in the setting up of a national production chain for Indian hemp, while its potentially therapeutic use has not been validated; this was intended to install a situation of irreversibility.
While the number of patients who were to participate in this “experimentation” is far from being reached, you would like nevertheless that the conclusions are drawn from it now.
As an apostille, allow me to ask you if you are well informed of the major reservations expressed on this experimentation by the National Academies of Medicine and Pharmacy? Let me ask you again about your knowledge of the epigenetic effects of cannabis, which not only affect its users but also cause them to pass it on to their offspring if they reproduce? Finally, do you remember the wish expressed by the President of the Republic: that by 2032 France will have the first generation of adults without tobacco? If your efforts to promote cannabis were to succeed, they would annihilate this great project, because cannabis rides on the shoulders of tobacco.
(*) Professor Jean Costentin
Doctor of Medicine, Pharmacist, Doctor ès Sciences
Emeritus Professor of the Faculty of Health of Rouen
Full member of the National Academy of Medicine
Full member of the National Academy of Pharmacy
Member of the College of the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD)
President of the National Center for Prevention, Study and Research on Drug Addiction (CNPERT)
Honorary director of the Neuropsychopharmacology unit of the CNRS (1984-2008)
Honorary director of the Clinical neurobiology unit of the Rouen University Hospital (1999-2011)