medicalmarijuanaprocon.org/bin/procon/procon.cgi?database=5-B-Subs-1.db&command=viewone&op=t&id=1&rnd=414.848519162785)." March 1, 2007 Lester Grinspoon
One of the more controversial uses of marijuana is the fact that it is believed to alleviate inflammation which opens the doors for arguments with regard to disorders including fibromyalgia which doctors still debate the existence of. However, as long as the patient is suffering and can match the set criteria for the disorder, who is society to argue that it does not exist and it should not be treated?
Medical marijuana has far less abuse and damaging potential than some of the current drugs being prescribed to combat such illnesses and disorders. The legalization and use of medical marijuana will provide the ability for doctors and patients to choose which treatment option will reduce symptoms with the least amount of damaging side affects that can be caused by such treatments.
The majority of physicians surveyed support the used of medical marijuana with the following conditions and recommendations (PRO (YES) (http://www.medicalmarijuanaprocon.org/bin/procon/procon.cgi?database=5-B-Subs-1.db&command=viewone&op=t&id=1&rnd=414.848519162785).
A failure of all approved medications to provide relief has been documented, the symptoms can reasonably be expected to be relieved by rapid-onset cannabinoid drugs, such treatment is administered under medical supervision in a manner that allows for assessment of treatment effectiveness, and involves an oversight strategy comparable to an institutional review board process that could provide guidance within 24 hours of a submission by a physician to provide marijuana to a patient for a specified use (PRO (YES) (http://www.medicalmarijuanaprocon.org/bin/procon/procon.cgi?database=5-B-Subs-1.db&command=viewone&op=t&id=1&rnd=414.848519162785)."
The benefit of legalizing medical marijuana use outside of the currently available THC pill includes the fact that research has shown that the rapid onset of its delivery when smoked is more beneficial to the patient than a pill that must be digested and distributed throughout the body.
Until a non-smoked rapid-onset cannabinoid drug delivery system becomes available, we acknowledge that there is no clear alternative for people suffering from chronic conditions that might be relieved by smoking marijuana, such as pain or AIDS wasting in those patients who have not responded to standard approved therapy (PRO (YES) (http://www.medicalmarijuanaprocon.org/bin/procon/procon.cgi?database=5-B-Subs-1.db&command=viewone&op=t&id=1&rnd=414.848519162785)."
The editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Jerome Kassirer, wrote in 1997 his belief that prohibiting doctors from certifying patients to use marijuana for medical conditions actually prohibits the doctors from upholding their medical vows to heal and do no harm.
I believe that a federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane. Marijuana may have long-term adverse effects and its use may presage serious addictions, but neither long-term side effects nor addiction is a relevant issue in such patients (PRO (YES) (http://www.medicalmarijuanaprocon.org/bin/procon/procon.cgi?database=5-B-Subs-1.db&command=viewone&op=t&id=1&rnd=414.848519162785)."
It is hypocritical for the government to provide a method for doctors to prescribe morphine and methadone and other extremely addicting and potent medications while refusing doctors the ability to suggest that a patient smoke marijuana to relieve symptoms.
The pros of medical marijuana use include the rapid delivery, the documented relief of psychical symptoms through its use, the fact that it is less dangerous than many medications currently being prescribed for those symptoms and the ability of marijuana to produce appetite while reducing nausea for chemo and AIDS patients (PRO (YES) (http://www.medicalmarijuanaprocon.org/bin/procon/procon.cgi?database=5-B-Subs-1.db&command=viewone&op=t&id=1&rnd=414.848519162785).
Arguments Against the Bill
The arguments against the bill include several factors.
The most prominent argument against the use of marijuana for medical purposes is the belief that THC pills can produce the same benefits and affects without the mental impairment (Flynn, 2000).
In addition the bill to legalize marijuana use does not include the ability to sell or buy it legally. This will in effect place patients who are already vulnerable at further risk by having them go into the street to locate and purchase their supply from drug dealers who may not be known for their morals or credibility (Flynn, 2000).
Research shows that smoking marijuana can be addictive and has other damaging health effects on users, such as pneumonia, cancers, and lower birth weights. The effects of smoking marijuana may be worse than those of smoking tobacco. There is no requirement for a prescription, no quality control or testing standards, and no control over strength, dosage, or frequency of use, such as those for prescription drugs. Patients have no control over the dosage received through smoked marijuana because potency can vary from plant to plant (Flynn, 2000)."
U.S. Senator Bill Frist, M.D. argues against the belief that it is the most effective drug available for "Although I understand many believe marijuana is the most effective drug in combating their medical ailments, I would caution against this assumption due to the lack of consistent, repeatable scientific data available to prove marijuana's medical benefits (CON (NO) (http://www.medicalmarijuanaprocon.org/bin/procon/procon.cgi?database=5-B-Subs-1.db&command=viewone&op=t&id=1&rnd=414.848519162785)."
There are also arguments that marijuana serves as a gateway drug to pave the way for more serious and addictive drug use in the future.
Those who are against medical marijuana use believe that it paves the path to later use of stronger illegal drugs which further creates issues of addiction.
Personal Views of the Writer
It is the opinion of the writer that medical marijuana use should be legal for those who have documented disorders or illnesses in which the use of marijuana can alleviate symptoms. It is my opinion that it should be treated in the same manner as prescription pain pills in that recreational use, over use and use for pleasure should be against the law (it should be legal (http://www.medicalmarijuanaprocon.org/bin/procon/procon.cgi?database=5-I-Subs-2.db&command=viewone&op=t&id=4&rnd=842.3596748213727).
In the same way that opiates are prescribed for pain there is always the chance for abuse or for it being sold on the street and used by those who have no medical need for it, however, the use of medical marijuana for documented and measurable conditions should not be opposed based on the fact that it can be abused. If this were a valid argument then the government needs to remove all opiate pain pills from use as well.
Doctors are currently able to prescribe drugs for these symptoms and the drugs prescribed are more deadly, more addictive and more damaging than marijuana. The use of medical marijuana for chronic pain may actually reduce the number or opiate addicts that America currently has.
For those with life threatening and life altering conditions the threat of addiction to medical marijuana is small compared to the quality of life that such use would give back to them.
Kreit, Alex (2003) the future of medical marijuana: should the states grow their own?
Dahl, Dick (2006) Medical marijuana laws go up in smoke
Flynn, Kevin (2000) MARIJUANA for MEDICAL USE HAS STRONG SUPPORT in POLLS Denver Rocky Mountain News