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The Tentacle


March 16, 2012

Smoking Maryjane Isnít The Solution

Joe Charlebois

Take a deep breath everyone; the State of Maryland is still trying to find a way to legalize marijuana. The House of Delegates currently has three bills being proposed for use of medical marijuana in Maryland. Two are highly restrictive and one would set up “compassion centers” throughout the state.

 

Laws concerning use of medical marijuana have softened over the years to the point where current Maryland law provides for use of “affirmative defense” if someone is arrested for possession of marijuana for medicinal use.

 

The “affirmative defense” could be applied if the accused had in his or her possession an ounce or less of marijuana. He or she would then be required to show proof of medical necessity through either live testimony from their physician, documentation from their physician, or other medical paperwork that support its use.

 

It’s understood that there are many suffering from various ailments that claim that smoking marijuana has saved them. In fact advocates of marijuana use claim that smoked marijuana has a curative effect on nearly everything. It is said to treat or treat symptoms of ADD/ADHD, anorexia, arthritis, asthma, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, etc. and that is just the “A’s.”

 

There are a handful of studies that do show reduction in pain in peer reviewed journals. But critics note the limits to these studies including the size of studies (the largest of these had 50 patients), as well as the protocol of allowing these pain studies to maintain use of the other pain medications concomitantly.

 

There is an alternative to putting one’s self in direct opposition to the law – whether federal or the State of Maryland – that is to get a prescription for Marinol®. The generic name is Dronabinol Oral.

 

The reason Marinol® was created was to bring cannabinoids into the field of medicine because there are benefits to its use. It is indicated for use in treating anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with AIDS; and nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy in patients who have failed to respond adequately to conventional antiemetic treatments.

 

Realizing that there may be positive effects from the different components of cannabis, other pharmaceutical companies have been on the vanguard of bringing through the trials and approval process drugs like Sativex®, which in several other countries is indicated for relief of muscle stiffness in people suffering from multiple sclerosis and for relief of pain caused by damage to the nerves in people with multiple sclerosis and advanced cancer.

 

There may be even more cannabinoids on the horizon for those seeking legal treatments. They have been approved for use in other countries including Canada, and may make their way into U.S. pharmacies by the end of 2013.

 

Realizing that a year’s time is not the kind of wait that many who suffer from various ailments will be pleased to hear about, there is hope and the consumer demand and outcry have been heard.

 

For now, however, the federal government holds the oversight over the use of drugs and pharmaceuticals. They are never going to approve the current delivery system of smoking marijuana. There is an inconsistent dosage. It may potentially be more harmful over the long term, and it has yet to prove significant clinical response through smoke.

 

I understand the goal of many of the proponents of this bill is to be compassionate, but it may not be the best medicine. Instead push for more scientific research and better lobbying efforts to bring drugs like Sativex® to the American market.

 

Joe_Charlebois@yahoo.com

 



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