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Medical Marijuana - Where Would One Find a Doctor?
Marijuana is also known as pot, grass and weed but its formal name is actually cannabis. It comes from the leaves and flowers of the plant Cannabis sativa. It is considered an illegal substance in the US and many countries and possession of marijuana is a crime punishable by law. The FDA classifies marijuana as Schedule I, substances which have a very high potential for abuse and have no proven medical use. Over the years several studies claim that some substances found in marijuana have medicinal use, especially in terminal diseases such as cancer and AIDS. This started a fierce debate over the pros and cons of the use of medical marijuana. To settle this debate, the Institute of Medicine published the famous 1999 IOM report entitled Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. The report was comprehensive but did not give a clear cut yes or no answer. The opposite camps of the medical marijuana issue often cite part of the report in their advocacy arguments. However, although the report clarified many things, it never settled the controversy once and for all.
Let's look at the issues that support why medical marijuana should be legalized.
(1) Marijuana is a naturally occurring herb and has been used from South America to Asia as an herbal medicine for millennia. In this day and age when the all natural and organic are important health buzzwords, a naturally occurring herb like marijuana might be more appealing to and safer for consumers than synthetic drugs.
(2) Marijuana has strong therapeutic potential. Several studies, as summarized in the IOM report, have observed that cannabis can be used as analgesic, e.g. to treat pain. A few studies showed that THC, a marijuana component is effective in treating chronic pain experienced by cancer patients. However, studies on acute pain such as those experienced during surgery and trauma have inconclusive reports. A few studies, also summarized in the IOM report, have demonstrated that some marijuana components have antiemetic properties and are, therefore, effective against nausea and vomiting, which are common side effects of cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Some researchers are convinced that cannabis has some therapeutic potential against neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Specific compounds extracted from marijuana have strong therapeutic potential. Cannobidiol (CBD), a major component of marijuana, has been shown to have antipsychotic, anticancer and antioxidant properties. Other cannabinoids have been shown to prevent high intraocular pressure (IOP), a major risk factor for glaucoma. Drugs that contain active ingredients present in marijuana but have been synthetically produced in the laboratory have been approved by the US FDA. One example is Marinol, an antiemetic agent indicated for nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. Its active ingredient is dronabinol, a synthetic delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
(3) One of the major proponents of medical marijuana is the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a US-based organization. Many medical professional societies and organizations have expressed their support. As an example, The American College of Physicians, recommended a re-evaluation of the Schedule I classification of marijuana in their 2008 position paper. ACP also expresses its strong support for research into the therapeutic role of marijuana as well as exemption from federal criminal prosecution; civil liability; or professional sanctioning for physicians who prescribe or dispense medical marijuana in accordance with state law. Similarly, protection from criminal or civil penalties for patients who use medical marijuana as permitted under state laws.
(4) Medical marijuana is legally used in many developed countries The argument of if they can do it, why not us? is another strong point. Some countries, including Canada, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain, Israel, and Finland have legalized the therapeutic use of marijuana under strict prescription control. Some states in the US are also allowing exemptions.
Huge Increase in Requests For Medical Wacky Weed
CARSON CITY — Weighing in on how Nevada should test people for stoned driving, lawmakers advanced a measure on Friday to eliminate urine samples as a viable measure for police to show a driver to be impaired by marijuana. Under the bipartisan proposal, law enforcement officers would continue using blood tests to prove a person was illegally operating a passenger car, commercial truck or boat while high. The bill would retain specific legal limits set in 1999 for drivers’ blood content of THC, the psychoactive chemical in pot. Anyone with a blood-THC level at or above 5 nanograms per milliliter is considered too high to drive. ADVERTISING “There’s still no proof that those standards mean anything, but at least we’re moving to something which is scientifically provable,” said Sen. Tick Segerblom, a Las Vegas Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Researchers at the Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine are among experts who say marijuana’s cognitive impairment cannot practically be detected in urine. Marijuana can be identified in urine but not accurately measured, the Touro study shows, making it a less-expensive option to blood tests for checking on simple prior use but improper to measure impairment. Others question the blood-THC measure. The automobile federation AAA commissioned a study last year that found no scientific basis reliably linking THC measures to whether a person is impaired. Traces of marijuana can remain in a person’s blood for weeks — and at high levels in frequent users. In 2016, Nevada was one of six states that had set exact THC blood thresholds for drivers. Courts and juries in several of the 26 states that allow some form of marijuana use have upheld the rights of marijuana users to rebut the blood tests or decided in individual cases that blood testing is inaccurate. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved Assembly Bill 135, sending it to the full Senate for consideration. Members of the Assembly voted 34-4 to approve it last month.