The Debate Over Medical Marijuana Continues

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Cannabis, the drug commonly known as Marijuana, has many slang names. It is harvested from the Cannabis sativa plant, specifically its leaves and flowers. Marijuana possession is a crime in the United States and many other nations because of the drug’s unlawful status. Marijuana has been placed in the FDA’s Schedule I, reserved for drugs with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medicinal value. What do you consider about GOLD COAST CLEAR.

However, several studies have suggested that certain cannabinoids in Marijuana have therapeutic value, notably in treating terminal illnesses like cancer and AIDS. This sparked a heated discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of using Marijuana for medical purposes. To end this discussion, the Institute of Medicine produced the now-famous Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base study in 1999.

The report covered much ground but didn’t settle the question with a simple yes or no. Advocates frequently cite parts of the paper for both sides of the medicinal marijuana issue. The report did shed light on several issues, but it did not put an end to the debate.

Let’s examine the arguments in favor of legalizing Marijuana for medical use.

(1) Marijuana is a naturally occurring weed utilized as a herbal medicine from South America to Asia for thousands of years. A naturally occurring herb like Marijuana may be more enticing and safer for consumers than manufactured medications today when all-natural and organic are major health buzzwords.

(2) Medical Marijuana offers great promise as a treatment option. Several studies have found that cannabis can be used as an analgesic, for example, to alleviate pain, and these findings are reported in the IOM report. THC, a component of Marijuana, has been shown in a few trials to help relieve the chronic pain experienced by cancer patients.

However, studies on acute pain, such as those felt during surgery or trauma, have yielded conflicting results. Common side effects of cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy include nausea and vomiting. A small number of studies reviewed in the IOM report have shown that specific components of Marijuana have antiemetic characteristics and are beneficial against these symptoms.

Multiple sclerosis and other neurological disorders have been studied, and some experts believe cannabis may have medicinal promise. Certain cannabinoids isolated from Marijuana show great promise as therapeutic agents. Cannabidiol (CBD), a key ingredient in Marijuana, has been demonstrated to fight cancer, reduce inflammation, and reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia. Anti-glaucoma effects of other cannabinoids, including suppression of high intraocular pressure (IOP), have been demonstrated.

The US Food and Drug Administration has blessed synthetic cannabinoids that mimic the effects of Marijuana. Antiemetics like Marinol are used to treat the nausea and vomiting that often accompany cancer chemotherapy. Dronabinol, or synthetic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is the active component.

(3) The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is a prominent US-based group that advocates for legalizing medical Marijuana. There has been widespread backing from medical groups and associations. For instance, in a 2008 position paper, the American College of Physicians called for a review of the Schedule I status of Marijuana. Physicians who follow state law and prescribe or administer medical Marijuana are free from federal criminal prosecution, civil liability, and professional punishment, and the American College of Physicians (ACP) strongly supports this. Likewise, patients who use medical Marijuana by state law should be shielded from criminal and civil prosecution.

Many industrialized nations now permit the use of Marijuana for medical purposes. Again, it’s the “if they can do it, why can’t we?” argument. Adds another point of strength. Canada, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain, Israel, and Finland are among the countries that have legalized medical Marijuana, but only for use with a doctor’s prescription. There are exceptions in specific US states as well.

Here are the counterarguments to using Marijuana for medical purposes.

(1) There is insufficient information regarding the product’s potential risks and benefits. The primary concern of drug regulators is patient safety. Marijuana and its constituents have not yet had their safety verified. Results come second. To be evaluated for medicinal use, Marijuana’s benefits must outweigh its hazards, even if it does have some positive health effects. It may be unlikely that Marijuana will be approved for medicinal usage until it is shown to be superior (safer and more effective) to medications now on the market. Having access to a drug or medical treatment without knowing how to use it or even if it is beneficial does not help anyone, as Robert J. Meyer of the Department of Health and Human Services testified. Patients won’t benefit from access alone because they won’t know if it’s safe, effective, or how to use it properly.

(2) Unidentified chemical compounds. Only in its herbal form is medical Marijuana practical and inexpensive for widespread distribution. Marijuana, like other herbs, is considered a natural product. However, there are many issues with unpurified botanical medicines, such as inconsistency across batches, difficulty in determining appropriate dosage, lack of efficacy, short shelf life, and even toxicity. If Marijuana is going to make it as a medication, the IOM report says to look to its separated cannabinoids and their synthetic counterparts. The cost of thoroughly characterizing the many components in Marijuana would be prohibitive, raising the price of any resulting pharmaceuticals. There doesn’t appear to be any pharmaceutical business willing to spend on the research necessary to separate different medicinal components from Marijuana.

(3) Abuse is a possibility. The use of Marijuana (also known as cannabis) can become habit-forming. Although Marijuana’s potential for abuse cannot be ignored, it is not as addictive as more complex substances like cocaine. A few studies, as summed up in the IOM report, have shown this to be the case.

(4) Not having a reliable distribution mechanism. Smoking is the most popular method of ingesting Marijuana. Health officials will never authorize this method of administration because of the rising tide of anti-smoking laws. Vaporizers, nebulizers, and inhalers that reliably and safely deliver the drug are being tested.

(5) Symptom relief, not a cure. Even if Marijuana can help treat medical conditions, it would only do so by relieving the distressing symptoms. It is not a remedy for these conditions. Despite its efficacy against these symptoms, there are now accessible drugs that are just as effective, if not more so, without the adverse side effects or potential for abuse that come with marijuana use.

With the information at its disposal at the time, the IOM report from 1999 could not resolve the controversy surrounding medical Marijuana definitively. However, the report strongly warned against inhaling marijuana smoke but seemed to approve of using a vaporizer or medicinal inhaler for the drug. The committee also suggested using Marijuana for compassionate purposes under close medical supervision. In addition, it called for increased financing to study the benefits and risks of cannabis.

What prevents these issues from being resolved so that the IOM report’s concerns may be addressed? First, the health authorities do not appear interested in conducting another review. Second, data on the adverse effects of smoking Marijuana are scarce, and, what there is, is heavily weighted toward safety concerns. Third, studies on synthetic cannabinoids (like THC) provide the bulk of the existing data on efficacy. Because of this information gap, it is challenging to do a proper risk-benefit analysis.

Due to restricted financing and stringent laws, clinical studies on Marijuana are rare and challenging to do. Few pharmaceutical companies devote resources to cannabis research due to the high risk of legal repercussions. Various groups are for and against medicinal Marijuana, and it is not always apparent what constitutes “medical marijuana.” To what extent does this term apply to synthetic cannabinoid components (such as THC and derivatives), or does it just apply to using the botanical product marijuana? The high cost of commercially accessible synthetic cannabinoids like Marinol drives consumers toward Marijuana as a less expensive alternative. Conspiracy theories about the pharmaceutical business and drug regulators confuse the situation further.

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