Marijuana is also 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 employ a high potential for abuse and have no proven medical use. Through the years several studies claim 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 pros and cons of the use of medical marijuana. To be in 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 opposite camps of the medical marijuana issue often cite the main report in their advocacy arguments. However, even though the report clarified a lot of things, it never settled the controversy once and for all.
Let’s go through the problems that support why medical marijuana must certanly 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 once the all natural and organic are essential health buzzwords, a naturally occurring herb like marijuana might be more desirable 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 may be used as analgesic, e.g. to take care of pain. Several studies indicated that THC, a marijuana component is beneficial 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. Several 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 typical 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 part of marijuana, has been shown to possess antipsychotic, anticancer and antioxidant properties. Other cannabinoids have now been shown to stop high intraocular pressure (IOP), an important risk factor for glaucoma. Drugs that contain active ingredients contained in marijuana but have now been synthetically manufactured in the laboratory have now been approved by the US FDA. One of these is Marinol, an antiemetic agent indicated for nausea and vomiting related to cancer chemotherapy. Its ingredient is dronabinol, an artificial 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 in 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 utilized in many developed countries The argument of if they can 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 usage of marijuana under strict prescription control. Some states in the US may also be allowing exemptions.
Now here would be the arguments against medical marijuana.
(1) Lack of data on safety and efficacy. Drug regulation is based on safety first. The safety of marijuana and its components still has to first be established. Efficacy only comes second. Even when marijuana has some beneficial health effects, the advantages should outweigh the risks because of it to be considered for medical use. Unless marijuana is proven to be better (safer and more effective) than drugs currently available in the market, its approval for medical use can 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 to utilize it as well as if it’s effective, does not benefit anyone. Simply having access, with out 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 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 medicine, it is based on its isolated components, the cannabinoids and their synthetic derivatives. To fully characterize different components of marijuana would cost so long and money that the expense of the medications that’ll come from it could be too high. Currently, no pharmaceutical company seems interested in investing money to isolate more therapeutic components from marijuana beyond what’s already available in the market.
(3) Prospect of abuse. Marijuana or cannabis is addictive. It may possibly not be as addictive as hard drugs such as for example cocaine; nevertheless it cannot be denied that there’s a possibility of substance abuse related to marijuana. It’s been demonstrated by a few studies as summarized in the IOM report.
(4) Lack of a safe delivery system. The most frequent kind of delivery of marijuana is through smoking. Considering the existing trends in anti-smoking legislations, this kind of delivery will never be approved by health authorities. Reliable and safe delivery systems in the shape of vaporizers, nebulizers, or inhalers continue to be 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 doesn’t treat or cure these illnesses. Given it is effective against these symptoms, there are already medications available which work just as well as well as better, without the side effects and risk of abuse related to marijuana.
The 1999 IOM report could not settle the debate about medical marijuana with scientific evidence offered at that time. The report definitely discouraged the use of smoked marijuana but gave a nod towards marijuana use via a medical inhaler or vaporizer. Furthermore, the report also recommended the compassionate usage of marijuana under strict medical supervision. Furthermore, it urged more funding in the investigation of the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids.
So what stands in the way of clarifying the questions raised by the IOM report? The authorities do not seem to be interested in having another review. marijuana online kaufen There is limited data available and whatever can be obtained is biased towards safety issues on the undesireable effects of smoked marijuana. Data available 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 as a result of limited funding and strict regulations. Due to the complicated legalities involved, hardly any pharmaceutical companies are buying cannabinoid research. In many cases, it’s not clear how to define medical marijuana as advocated and opposed by many groups. Does it only refer to the use 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 really expensive, pushing people towards the more affordable cannabinoid in the shape of marijuana. Needless to say, the issue is further clouded by conspiracy theories relating to the pharmaceutical industry and drug regulators.