Medical Marijuana – A Issue Rages ForOn May 7, 2022 by Shazaib Khatri75
Marijuana can be known as pot, grass and weed but its formal name is in fact cannabis. It comes from the leaves and flowers of the plant Cannabis sativa. It is known as 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 possess a high possibility of abuse and haven’t 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 instance cancer and AIDS. This started a fierce debate over the good qualities and cons of the utilization 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 alternative camps of the medical marijuana issue often cite part of the report inside their advocacy arguments. However, even though report clarified many things, it never settled the controversy once and for all.
Let’s look at the conditions that support why medical marijuana should be legalized.
(1) Marijuana is a naturally occurring herb and has been used from South America to Asia being an herbal medicine for millennia. In today and age when the all natural and organic are very important health buzzwords, a naturally occurring herb like marijuana could 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 used as analgesic, e.g. to take care of pain. Several studies indicated that THC, a marijuana component works well in treating chronic pain experienced by cancer patients. However, studies on acute pain such as for instance those experienced during surgery and trauma have inconclusive reports. Several studies, also summarized in the IOM report, weed shop online amsterdam 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 instance multiple sclerosis. Specific compounds extracted from marijuana have strong therapeutic potential. Cannobidiol (CBD), an important part of marijuana, has been shown to own antipsychotic, anticancer and antioxidant properties. Other cannabinoids have been shown to stop high intraocular pressure (IOP), an important risk factor for glaucoma. Drugs that have active ingredients contained 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 connected with cancer chemotherapy. Its active ingredient is dronabinol, a manufactured delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
(3) Among 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. For 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 relating 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 utilized in many developed countries The argument of if they can get it done, why don’t you 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 may also be allowing exemptions.
Now here are the arguments against medical marijuana.
(1) Insufficient data on safety and efficacy. Drug regulation is dependant on safety first. The safety of marijuana and its components really has to first be established. Efficacy only comes second. Even if marijuana has some beneficial health effects, the benefits should outweigh the risks for this to be looked at for medical use. Unless marijuana is proven to be better (safer and more effective) than drugs currently available available in the market, its approval for medical use may be a long shot. Based on the testimony of Robert J. Meyer of the Department of Health and Human Services having access to a drug or medical treatment, without knowing just how to use it as well as when it is effective, does not benefit anyone. Simply having access, without having safety, efficacy, and adequate use information does not help patients.
(2) Unknown chemical components. Medical marijuana can only just be readily available and affordable in herbal form. Like other herbs, marijuana falls underneath the sounding botanical products. Unpurified botanical products, however, face many problems including lot-to-lot consistency, dosage determination, potency, shelf-life, and toxicity. Based on the IOM report when there is any future of marijuana as a medicine, it lies in its isolated components, the cannabinoids and their synthetic derivatives. To completely characterize the various aspects of marijuana would cost so much time and money that the expense of the medications that’ll come from the jawhorse will be too high. Currently, no pharmaceutical company seems interested in investing money to isolate more therapeutic components from marijuana beyond what’s already for sale in the market.
(3) Potential for abuse. Marijuana or cannabis is addictive. It might not be as addictive as hard drugs such as for instance cocaine; nevertheless it can not be denied that there surely is a possibility of substance abuse connected with marijuana. It’s been demonstrated with a few studies as summarized in the IOM report.
(4) Insufficient a safe delivery system. The most typical kind of delivery of marijuana is through smoking. Considering the existing trends in anti-smoking legislations, this kind of delivery won’t ever be approved by health authorities. Reliable and safe delivery systems in the form of vaporizers, nebulizers, or inhalers remain at the testing stage.
(5) Symptom alleviation, not cure. Even if marijuana has therapeutic effects, it is only addressing the symptoms of certain diseases. It does not treat or cure these illnesses. Given it is effective against these symptoms, you will find already medications available which work just as well as well as better, without the side effects and danger of abuse connected with marijuana.
The 1999 IOM report couldn’t settle the debate about medical marijuana with scientific evidence offered at that time. The report definitely discouraged the utilization of smoked marijuana but gave a nod towards marijuana use by way of 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 research of the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids.
Just what exactly stands in how of clarifying the questions mentioned by the IOM report? The authorities do not seem to be interested in having another review. There’s limited data available and whatever is available is biased towards safety issues on the undesireable effects of smoked marijuana. Data on efficacy mainly come 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 because of limited funding and strict regulations. Due to the complicated legalities involved, hardly any pharmaceutical companies are purchasing cannabinoid research. In many cases, it is unclear just how 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 available in the market are extremely expensive, pushing people towards the cheaper cannabinoid in the form of marijuana. Needless to say, the issue is further clouded by conspiracy theories relating to the pharmaceutical industry and drug regulators.