Pubdate: Sat, 09 Jan 2016
Source: Columbus Dispatch (OH)
Copyright: 2016 The Columbus Dispatch
Author: Janet Blank


Before medical-marijuana legalization comes to the ballot again, some 
facts need to be highlighted.

The active ingredient in marijuana, THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, is 
already available. The prescription drug known as dronabinol - brand 
name Marinol - contains THC in a standardized, tested and FDAapproved 
pill form.

It has little demand. Why? Because there are better prescription 
drugs available for the indicated health problems. In other words, 
patients have not shown significant benefits from Marinol, especially 
when taking into account its side effects, which include dizziness, 
drowsiness, confusion, hallucinations, mood and mental changes, rapid 
heartbeat, anxiety, paranoia, an exaggerated sense of well-being, 
nausea, vomiting and stomach and abdominal pain.

So why are people still proposing its legalization despite its 
availability in prescription form? Why would most proponents of 
medical marijuana rather use and support the use of marijuana, a 
plant, which yields variable and unpredictable blood levels?

Because the pot users love the delivery system - inhalation or 
ingesting a food with pot in it. They think if medical marijuana is 
legalized, they will have easier access to recreational marijuana. In 
California, a state which has passed marijuana for medical use, the 
overprescribing and overuse is well-documented.

The proponents have no real interest in the pill form. They much 
prefer smoking and eating their way into euphoria and drowsiness, 
while not acknowledging marijuana's detrimental effects on our 
society, such as being a "gateway" to other illegal drug usage; 
increasing law enforcement's burden because of the difficulty of 
measuring marijuana blood levels and its effects; being easier than 
alcohol to use in a car; increasing the number of emergencyroom 
visits as a result of children eating food containing marijuana; and 
inhibiting motivation.

Michael Botticelli, National Drug Control Policy director, says that 
the very "legalization of marijuana gives the wrong message ... the 
message that there is no harm to it."

Medical marijuana is a road to recreational marijuana. Do we really 
need another recreational drug besides alcohol? Alcohol is here to 
stay. Dead issue. But marijuana is the issue today that we have before us.

JANET BLANK Pharmacist East Liberty
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom