Pubdate: Tue, 25 Apr 2006
Source: Minnesota Daily (U of MN,  Minneapolis, MN Edu)
Copyright: 2006 Minnesota Daily
Cited: Medical Marijuana ProCon
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


It is pretty clear marijuana can relieve some symptoms.

The Food and Drug Administration put the kibosh on using marijuana for
medical purposes, claiming no studies have found it safe or
efficacious in treating many of the disorders its proponents claim it
can alleviate. This, of course, undermines several states laws that
have made it legal to use medicinally.

It is true that any drug on the market has gone through rigorous
testing to determine its effectiveness and safety for its intended
use. Apparently no tests on marijuana have met the standard for the
FDA. Unfortunately it is hard to determine whether this conclusion is
more political or scientific.

The Web site has put together a battery of
questions with answers from multiple sources on the pro and con sides.
These include medical doctors, lawmakers and advocacy group
representatives. The scope of opinions runs the gamut, with medical
professionals on both sides of the fence.

It seems clear that smoking marijuana can relieve certain symptoms
associated with serious illnesses such as AIDS and cancer treatment.
Long-term side effects exist, however, and this is the main concern of
medically minded opponents. It might be that marijuana is appropriate
only for terminally ill patients for whom psychological addiction and
long-term effects are not relevant issues, but this has yet to be
proposed formally.

On the other hand, it is clear much of the opposition is political:
Legalizing marijuana, even by prescription, would make it much more
accessible to the public, and many say it is a gateway drug that
encourages users to move on to more harmful illegal drugs. At the same
time, this can be true for other legal prescription drugs such as
morphine and Vicodin.

In the long run, what is important is using drugs that are safe and
effective. If more definitive studies can be completed proving
marijuana is safe and effective for the specific conditions for which
it is being touted, its proponents will be more successful in making
their case. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake