This month, a Medical Marijuana Amendment to the 2016 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, upholding state rights to set the rule of law on the use of marijuana for medical purposes. While medical marijuana is legal in some states, its use is against federal law, and prior to the passing of the amendment, the federal government could prosecute patients or doctors using medical marijuana in states where it is legal. Those in favor of legalizing medical marijuana claim the amendment on medical marijuana as a victory and point to studies showing that marijuana may be effective in treating glaucoma, nausea, appetite loss and seizures. Advocates also say marijuana helps those experiencing side effects from AIDS and cancer medications, and may help treat multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. The palliative benefits of medical marijuana are still under scrutiny and are the source of debate.
Amendment on Medical Marijuana Debate Continues
On the other side of the controversial amendment on medical marijuana are those who point out that not all the side effects of marijuana are beneficial. For instance, some studies show marijuana use associated with psychosis, heart problems, a weakened immune system and addiction. Many members of the professional medical community are speaking out in favor of the same kind of FDA trials as required for any drug prescribed by doctors, so that there is scientific support for the efficacy of marijuana. The Medical Marijuana Amendment doesn’t provide for future testing or guidelines for use. Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM, medical director for the Las Vegas Recovery Center, points out, “There is no such thing as ‘medical marijuana.’ Medications should not be approved by voters nor by Congress. Medications should be well tested, dosages standardized, prescriptions written by physicians and dispensed by pharmacies. Decriminalizing the use of this substance makes sense, but not as an excuse to use it as medicine.” The American Medical Association has urged the National Institutes of Health to coordinate procedures calling for research funded by federal grants that would study marijuana through well designed clinical research on its efficacy. Add your thoughts and comments below and follow us on Facebook!