I had the privilege of interviewing him on the topic of ACUPUNCTURE, as part of my documentary series on scientific skepticism in healthcare called Les Aventures du Pharmachien on Radio-Canada(the show’s in French, hence the subtitles).
Here’s the interview in English (note : you can press the “CC” button to get English subtitles for my short intro) :
Obviously I can’t post the full episode, but here’s the trailer (note : you can press the “CC” button to get English subtitles) :
Still, I find myself annoyed by the two types of comments I hear most often, namely :
I do think it’s important to speak openly about cannabis. Unfortunately, I hear a lot of sketchy claims going around… so let’s assess their scientific accuracy!
Note #1 : For the sake of transparency, I should admit that I’ve never consumed cannabis in my life, not even a single toke. In general, I don’t really enjoy psychotropic substances (i.e. substances that produce an altered state of consciousness), including alcohol. I assume this doesn’t disqualify me from discussing the topic, considering that I haven’t consumed 99.999% of the medication I work with on a daily basis…
Note #2 : There are certain points that I don’t cover in the comic: driving under the influence of pot; the lack of a legal limit on the amount of THC in products containing marijuana; children or animals becoming intoxicated by accidentally consuming cannabis products; microdosing…This comic is pretty long as it is, so if need be, I’ll revisit the topic another time!
Have you heard about the petition in Quebec that gained nearly 120,000 signatures, asking the government to “approve and reimburse”vitamin C injections for people with cancer?
And about how it almost succeeded through political lobbying?
I spent several months working on this case, trying at first to help people understand the issues and pitfalls with this petition, and then addressing politicians directly, and trying to rally scientific associations. I did this becausethe petition was moving forward rapidly and very few people were raising doubts about it.
As a result, a group of vitamin C supporters tried to make me lose my job. I was doxed. A smear campaign was organized against me. My family was harassed and threatened.
Eventually, after months of cyberbullying, I came forward publicly with what was going on behind the scenes. The result was a massive outcry from the scientific community, which could not be ignored by the government this time.
Ultimately, the petition did not go forward into parliamentary proceedings.
But more importantly, these events had positive consequences for the future: a government task force was created in order to protect scientists who speak publicly about sensitive topics (I am fortunate enough to be involved in it). Also, an inter-professional advisory committee was created to help healthcare professionals, such as myself, speak publicly without fear of disciplinary action.
This case received little attention in the English-Canadian press, so here are translations of a few articles on what happened.
(Please note that these were translated automatically by the Google Translate URL tool with no revision, so some of the text is weird and possibly funny-sounding)
A summary of the events in March 2019 by Radio-Canada (CBC) :
Another one, focusing on the challenges and personal risks of doing science communication:
But there’s something worse out there: the plethora of esoteric remedies to allegedly prevent and cure the common cold, like…
Rubbing Vicks on your feet
Sticking your face above a bowl of hot, scented water
A swig of gin and/or cayenne and/or oregano oil
Sweating out the virus
The mustard plaster
Putting something in your bum (like suppositories)
Chicken noodle soup
Being a pharmacist, I get asked about those all the time. And really, I don’t care if people wanna use medication, natural health products or home remedies… as long as what they do is safe, effective, evidence-based and science-based.
Would you like to know what works and what doesn’t? Here are the TOP 10 useless remedies for the common cold. Please laugh at each of them. They deserve it.
You think that the arguments brought forward in this comic are too good to be true, overly simplified and unproven? Well done! You should do the same with most of what you read on the Internet.
I created this comic in order to provide something more entertaining than all the propaganda articles found on the web about milk. Really, I believe it’s better to read the above-written crap than anything found elsewhere, because at least my crap doesn’t take itself seriously.
A few things to consider about milk:
Milk is not unhealthy. But you don’t “need” to drink milk to be healthy. Dairy is an excellent source of protein, calcium and vitamin D, but if you can find those nutrients elsewhere, go for it.
Milk does not have positive, negative or otherworldly properties. It’s a food… and you shouldn’t choose foods according to whether they allegedly have special benefits (because they don’t).
Milk does not make your bones weaker. What studies actually say is that milk is not enough to prevent fractures, which comes to no surprise.
No, there is no pus, blood or bacteria in milk… if it’s pasteurized. As for antibiotics, the industry is (fortunately) under a lot of public pressure to stop using them routinely in livestock.
9 to 23% of Caucasians are lactose intolerant, compared to 60 to 100% of African-Americans and Asians, so we’re very far from the “epidemic” that some people speak about; it has more to do with genetics. Also, lactose intolerant people can still consume dairy moderately.
Some large-scale, well-built studies suggest that people who drink a lot of milk have a higher mortality rate and a higher risk of developing some types of cancer, but these studies cannot conclude that milk is the cause. People who drink more drink may have other risk factors, such as having more sugar or fat in their diet. People who consume a moderate amount of dairy don’t seem affected by this.
In the end, my impression is that the anti-milk panic exploding online right now comes from activists trying to stop the exploitation of livestock. I am 100% with them regarding the need for ethical treatment of animals, but if this requires demonizing milk, telling outright lies and making me feel guilty to drink it… no thanks.