Marijuana can also be called 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 recognized as an illegal substance in the US and many countries and possession of marijuana is an offense punishable by law. The FDA classifies marijuana as Schedule I, substances which possess a high prospect of abuse and don’t have any proven medical use. Over the years several studies declare that some substances present in marijuana have medicinal use, especially in terminal diseases such as for example cancer and AIDS. This started a fierce debate over the good qualities and cons of the utilization of medical marijuana. To stay 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 offer a clear cut yes or no answer. The contrary camps of the medical marijuana issue often cite area of the report inside their advocacy arguments. However, even though the report clarified a lot of things, it never settled the controversy once and for all.
Let’s consider the problems that support why medical marijuana should be legalized.
(1) Marijuana is just a naturally occurring herb and has been used from South America to Asia as an herbal medicine for millennia. In today and age when the all natural and organic are important health buzzwords, a naturally occurring herb like marijuana may be more inviting 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 utilized as analgesic, e.g. to take care of pain. A few studies indicated that THC, a marijuana component is effective in treating chronic pain experienced by cancer patients. However, studies on acute pain such as for example 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 normal unwanted effects of cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Some researchers are convinced that cannabis has some therapeutic potential against neurological diseases such as for example multiple sclerosis. Specific compounds extracted from marijuana have strong therapeutic potential. Cannobidiol (CBD), an important element of marijuana, has been shown to possess antipsychotic, anticancer and antioxidant properties. Other cannabinoids have already been shown to stop high intraocular pressure (IOP), an important risk factor for glaucoma. Drugs that have active ingredients present in marijuana but have already been synthetically stated in the laboratory have already been approved by the US FDA. An example is Marinol, an antiemetic agent indicated for nausea and vomiting related to cancer chemotherapy. Its active component is dronabinol, a synthetic delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
(3) Among the major proponents of medical marijuana may be 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 inside their 2008 position paper. ACP also expresses its strong support for research into the therapeutic role of marijuana in addition to exemption from federal criminal prosecution; civil liability; or professional sanctioning for physicians who prescribe or dispense medical marijuana in respect 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 are able to take action, 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 utilization of marijuana under strict prescription control. Some states in the US will also be allowing exemptions.
Now here are the arguments against medical marijuana.
(1) Not enough data on safety and efficacy. Drug regulation is based on safety first. The safety of marijuana and its components really has to first be established. Efficacy only comes second. Even when marijuana has some beneficial health effects, the benefits should outweigh the risks for this to be viewed for medical use. Unless marijuana is shown to be better (safer and more effective) than drugs currently available in the market, its approval for medical use may be a long shot. In line with the testimony of Robert J. Meyer of the Department of Health and Human Services having access to a drug or medical treatment, without knowing how exactly to utilize it as well as if it is effective, does not benefit anyone. Simply having access, with no safety, efficacy, and adequate use information does not help patients.
(2) Unknown chemical components. Medical marijuana can just only be readily available and affordable in herbal form. Like other herbs, marijuana falls beneath the sounding botanical products. Unpurified botanical products, however, face many problems including lot-to-lot consistency, dosage determination, potency, shelf-life, and toxicity. In line with the IOM report if you have any future of marijuana as a medication, it lies in its isolated components, the cannabinoids and their synthetic derivatives. To fully characterize different the different parts of marijuana would cost so much time and money that the expenses of the medications that may come out of it would be too high. Currently, no pharmaceutical company seems thinking about investing money to isolate more therapeutic components from marijuana beyond what’s already obtainable in the market.
(3) Potential for abuse. Marijuana or cannabis is addictive. It may not be as addictive as hard drugs such as for example cocaine; nevertheless it can’t be denied that there surely is a possibility of substance abuse related to marijuana. It’s been demonstrated by way of a few studies as summarized in the IOM report.
(4) Not enough a secure delivery system. The most frequent form of delivery of marijuana is through smoking. Considering the existing trends in anti-smoking legislations, this form of delivery will never be approved by health authorities. Reliable and safe delivery systems in the shape of vaporizers, nebulizers, or inhalers remain at the testing stage.
(5) Symptom alleviation, not cure. Even when marijuana has therapeutic effects, it’s only addressing the outward indications of certain diseases. It does not treat or cure these illnesses. Given that it is effective against these symptoms, you can find already medications available which work equally well as well as better, without the side effects and threat of abuse related to marijuana.
The 1999 IOM report couldn’t settle the debate about medical marijuana with scientific evidence offered by that time. The report definitely discouraged the utilization of smoked marijuana but gave a nod towards marijuana use via a medical inhaler or vaporizer. In addition, the report also recommended the compassionate utilization of marijuana under strict medical supervision. Furthermore, it urged more funding in the study of the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids.
Just what exactly stands in how of clarifying the questions raised by the IOM report? The authorities don’t appear to be thinking about having another review. amsterdam weed online There is limited data available and whatever can be acquired is biased towards safety issues on the undesireable effects of smoked marijuana. Data on efficacy mainly originate from studies on synthetic cannabinoids (e.g. THC). This disparity in data makes an objective risk-benefit assessment difficult.
Clinical studies on marijuana are few and difficult to conduct due to limited funding and strict regulations. Due to the complicated legalities involved, very few pharmaceutical companies are purchasing cannabinoid research. In many cases, it’s not clear how exactly to define medical marijuana as advocated and opposed by many groups. Does it only reference the utilization of the botanical product marijuana or does it include synthetic cannabinoid components (e.g. THC and derivatives) as well? Synthetic cannabinoids (e.g. Marinol) available in the market are extremely expensive, pushing people towards the less expensive cannabinoid in the shape of marijuana. Needless to say, the problem is further clouded by conspiracy theories relating to the pharmaceutical industry and drug regulators.