“Medical marijuana was sold as something desperately needed by the old and the sick suffering from cataracts and glaucoma. In reality, most of the cards approved by doctors go to 25 year-old dumbasses who claim to be suffering from chronic pain and headaches. The doctors know it’s a scam too, but they don’t care. They figure the public is sufficiently sold on this scam, and many of them probably like to get high too.” Dan Calabrese
Medical marijuana is a booming industry. A recent estimate puts its growth at 74% from 2013 to 2014, with over 2.5 billion in sales during 2014 alone. That is mind-blowing, especially when you factor in that just under half of the states allow its medical use.
Medical marijuana has been reported to have positive effects for patients with a diverse range of conditions such as ALS, multiple sclerosis, sleep disorders, Tourette’s Syndrome, etc. The efficacy of marijuana is treating chemotherapy associated nausea or helping HIV/AIDS patients gain weight are ideas that are generally accepted today. However, scientifically they may not be as valid as commonly thought.
A new study published in JAMA evaluated the efficacy and safety of medical marijuana and the results were not so rosy. The researchers compiled data from over 6,000 patients from 79 studies to use in their meta-analysis. Although most studies found an association between improved symptoms and cannabinoids, taken altogether, these associations were not statistically significant.
What the researchers did find was that there was “moderate quality” evidence to suggest that marijuana had some beneficial effects for patients suffering from complications due to multiple sclerosis and chronic neuropathic or cancer pain. There was “low quality evidence” to suggest marijuana could ease nausea or vomiting associated with chemotherapy, help HIV/AIDS patients gain weight and benefit patients with sleep disorders or Tourette’s syndrome. And, there was little if any evidence to suggest it helped with depression or anxiety. They also noted that there was no evidence to suggest that marijuana had no effect on psychosis as some suggest.
They also discovered that there was significant evidence of an increase in adverse effects such as dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, fatigue, somnolence, euphoria, vomiting, disorientation, drowsiness, confusion, loss of balance and hallucination.
Forty-four percent of doctors are already skeptical of medical marijuana and believe the movement as a whole is a front for the drug to achieve recreational legalization. In a summer editorial, Deepak Cyril D’Souza, M.B.B.S., MD, and Mohini Ranganathan, MD of the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven said that “if the states’ initiative to legalize medical marijuana is merely a veiled step toward allowing access to recreational marijuana, then the medical community should be left out of the process and instead, marijuana should be decriminalized.”
Both doctors also take issue with how the U.S. is handling the situation. “If the goal is to make marijuana available for medical purposes, then it is unclear why the approval process should be different from that used for other medications….”
Considering that there has been no studies on the long-term side-effects of marijuana use, or controlled clinical trials to test its effectiveness or safety, is the medical marijuana movement really about helping patients, or a front for recreational use? And lets not forget the holy grail of the progressive movement – money!
Let’s face it, If medical marijuana were a regular drug, it would need the blessing of the Food and Drug Administration before it could be prescribed to patients. And in most cases, those patients would be out of luck.
Like California—which was the first to OK medical marijuana in 1996, Colorado’s marijuana infrastructure and culture are well ahead of the other 12 states that followed them. Though Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington allow the practice, they are at various stages of the start-up mode. Similar ballot measures or legislation allowing medical marijuana are pending in 14 other states this year: Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
According to NerdWallet, a personal finance site, states that legalize weed would see a total of $3.1 billion annual windfall. Add to that a Colorado style excise tax of 15% for recreational use plus sales and local taxes, and the U.S. market could see somewhere between 10 to 14 billion a year by 2018 and that doesn’t count the savings for law enforcement, courts and cost of incarceration. With that amount of money on the line, do you really think states will care whether or not the stuff will ruin your health?
“As a physician I have sympathy for patients suffering from pain and other medical conditions. Although I understand many believe marijuana is the most effective drug in combating their medical ailments, I would caution against this assumption due to the lack of consistent, repeatable scientific data available to prove marijuana’s benefits. Based on current evidence, I believe that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that there are less dangerous medicines offering the same relief from pain and other medical symptoms.” Bill Frist, MD