Pubdate: Tue, 17 Jan 2012
Source: Topeka Capital-Journal (KS)
Copyright: 2012 The Topeka Capital-Journal
Author: Eric A. Voth


It must be spring, because the pro-pot forces again have come out of 
hibernation and started to advance medical-excuse pot to the Legislature.

We now have the benefit of seeing the problems that arise in other 
medical pot states. A striking finding is that about 70 percent of 
registered medical-excuse pot smokers are young, but they use the 
excuse of pain in about 70 percent of their cases to obtain pot. 
Chronic pain outside of the pot community is typically rare in 
patients under 35.

Since allowing marijuana dispensaries, California has experienced 
increases in marijuana-related trauma and marijuana addiction cases 
far greater than the national average.

It is most important to understand legislative actions giving access 
to marijuana seriously jeopardize consumer protection. Our processes 
for bringing medicine to the public have been established so science, 
not emotion, prevails. Medicine needs come through the FDA to assure 
safety and efficacy. The recent legislative initiatives create 
medicine by popular vote. Marijuana is not a safe drug and is far 
from clearly effective. The active ingredients of marijuana are 
available to the public by medical prescription.

Marijuana advocates allege benefits of marijuana use with little or 
no clear scientific basis. Neither marijuana nor pure THC has been 
compared to new anti-nausea medications that are extremely effective. 
Cannabis can actually enhance pain because of a very narrow 
therapeutic window. The progression of glaucoma is not slowed. 
Cannabinoids may reduce muscle spasm, but they damage gait in 
multiple sclerosis patients. While cannabinoids stimulate appetite, 
it appears to increase body fat rather than lean body mass. There 
exists no credible evidence marijuana is beneficial for depression, 
drug abuse, headaches or menstrual cramps.

Marijuana affects memory, concentration, coordination and the 
development of psychosis. Marijuana also has effects on the lungs, 
and has been found to damage lung immunity and function even though a 
recent study found minimal effects in low use.

Allowing medical-excuse pot legislation to become law is riding a 
wave of emotion and mob psychology that has been financed and driven 
by the marijuana lobby. They have declared that medical-excuse 
marijuana is the battlefield to gain the overall legalization of pot. 
The strategy is to play to emotion, overstate the benefits of 
marijuana, use the medical excuse to get the camel's nose under the 
tent and then push for more legal access to pot.

Supporting medical-excuse marijuana reflects serious ignorance of the 
medical literature or misrepresentation of it. Policymakers must stop 
this circus of medicine by popular vote.


Chairman, The Institute on

Global Drug Policy,

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