Pubdate: Fri, 24 Oct 2014
Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2014 Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Author: Peter Penico, M.D.


There may be unforeseen consequences to the passage of the medical
marijuana law.

In states that have passed medical marijuana there has been a trend of
seeing children going to the emergency room with adverse effects. They
can have varying effects from respiratory difficulties to trouble
walking, to lethargy and unresponsiveness. This presentation can
sometimes be confusing to the physician caring for the child and
require extensive and expensive evaluations.

Although there might be some evidence of usefulness in adults,
marijuana may create problems for children. For teens who have had
chronic use there has shown to be disruption in normal cognitive
development and memory retention. There have also been links to
development of schizophrenia even up to four years after
discontinuation of the drug in teens and people in their early 20s.

There is sympathy for the small number of people that there may be
usefulness for. However indications are that we are not preparing for
a small number of users. This is already a $3 billion industry.

If pain clinic managers are pushing for passage of this bill, that
should raise serious questions. Has the state of Florida not learned
from our pill mill notoriety?

Do we think that our children won't look behind the mirror in the
medicine cabinet? Are we ready for this public health experiment? And
if we don't like the consequences of the experiment, how do we then
close Pandora's box?

Peter Penico, M.D.

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