Friday, December 28, 2012

UPC Weekly Blog 12-28-12:Medical Marijuana

I'm going to spend a few weeks exploring medical marijuana. This is a hotly debated topic, so I'd like to explore the pros and cons with you, looking at what has happened in states with medical marijuana initiatives as well as social, legal and employment issues. 

The following information comes from David Evans of the Drug Free Schools Coalition:
In the next legislative session there will be a bill to approve crude marijuana as a “medicine.” The advocates of crude marijuana that is smoked or eaten as a “medicine” claim that physicians should decide if patients get "medical" marijuana. However, physicians have decided that "medical" marijuana is bad medicine. Several national organizations have diagnosed “medical” marijuana and they prescribe against it.
The physicians' groups opposed to crude “medical” marijuana include:
The American Medical Association
The American Cancer Society
The American Academy of Pediatrics
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society
American Academy of Opthamology
American Glaucoma Society
National Eye Institute
National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Recently, the Federal Institute of Medicine also conducted research on this issue and they see “little future in smoked marijuana as a medicine.”

Use of crude marijuana as a medicine bypasses the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) medicine approval process. There is no reason why marijuana should be exempt from the FDA process. Vulnerable patients need protection from unsafe medications. It is dangerous to by-pass our medicine approval process that has protected us for 100 years. 
The “medical” marijuana advocates claim that marijuana is good for many medical conditions. Before these claims are upheld, they must answer some fundamental questions:
1. What peer-reviewed FDA quality scientific research exists on marijuana use for those conditions that shows:
a. the effectiveness and safe use of marijuana use for the condition
b. the risks of marijuana use for that condition
c. the dosage of marijuana for adults and children for that condition
d. the interactions with other drugs and marijuana for that condition
f. the impact of marijuana use on other pre-existing conditions
g. the alternatives to marijuana use for that condition
2. What studies exist for all these medical conditions that show:
a. the frequency of administration
b. the duration of administration
c. the time of administration in relation to: meals, onset of symptoms, or other time factors
d. the route or method of administration of marijuana
These questions must be answered before a drug can be used for medicine. 
Cheryl DePaolo
Director of the Ulster Prevention Council

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