Here’s a trick question guaranteed to spark a rather animated conversation in any environment: should all medical decisions be based purely on science? Before you rush to answer, think about how you make your choices. Your own experience tells you the answer isn’t as black and white as it seems.
If anything, the last 14 months have demonstrated that medical science is not perfect. Just the fact that the CDC, WHO, etc. have changed their positions on coronavirus multiple times demonstrates that we really don’t know as much about this whole thing as we claim. As a result, politicians, bureaucrats, and others have made plenty of decisions rooted in everything but science.
Data Constantly Changes
Our biggest challenge with medical science is constantly changing data. Are you old enough to remember when medical science declared coffee bad for your health in the 1970s? If so, you also remember the birth of decaffeinated coffee. But less than a decade later, new data suggested the previous data was incorrect. The debate still rages today.
There are some areas of medical science for which key data is sorely lacking. The safety and efficacy of medical cannabis is but one example. Regenerative medicine is another. Where we lack scientific data, we are left to make choices based on the limited information we do have. What do we do about the science?
A Plethora of Anecdotal Evidence
A certain portion of the medical community still doesn’t accept the possibility that cannabis – both hemp and marijuana – have legitimate medicinal uses. In their defense, comprehensive studies are lacking. Yet there is plenty of anecdotal evidence. If you want to study some of it for yourself, just visit Beehive Farmacy in Salt Lake City, UT. Talk to patients and you’ll be exposed to a ton of evidence.
Anecdotal evidence should never be ignored. For certain, it doesn’t carry the same weight as evidence produced through strict scientific procedures. Yet that does not negate the experiences of patients who actually use medical cannabis. Their experiences are just as valid whether they have them at home or in a laboratory setting.
The same holds true for patients who have been successfully treated with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cell therapies. Their personal experiences are legitimate. What they have to say about regenerative medicine should be considered even as scientists are doing their studies.
Inconsistent ‘No Evidence’ Arguments
It is fascinating to listen to medical professionals rail against a particular treatment due to a lack of scientific evidence, then turn around and support another treatment suffering from the same problem. Again, this happens all the time. An expert will declare medical cannabis off-limits because it has not withstood the rigors of scientific testing. In the next breath, he will encourage everyone to go out and be vaccinated against coronavirus despite a glaring lack of scientific scrutiny.
The ‘no evidence’ arguments frequently cited by medical experts are inconsistent, at best. The fact is that all of us make medical decisions based on reasons that have nothing to do with science. And in the end, how often does it really matter?
There are rare instances in which people make dangerous decisions because they do not understand the science behind those decisions. But more often than not, people make medical choices because they know what makes them feel better. Even if a particular treatment works based only on the placebo effect, so what? If patients feel better, they feel better.
Are all of your medical decisions based purely on science? Should they be? Only you can answer these questions for yourself.