Marijuana can also be referred to as pot, grass and weed but its formal name is obviously cannabis. It comes from the leaves and flowers of the plant Cannabis sativa. It is known as an illegal substance in the US and many countries and possession of marijuana is an offense punishable by law. buy weed online europe The FDA classifies marijuana as Schedule I, substances which have a very high possibility of abuse and don’t have any proven medical use. Over time several studies declare that some substances found in marijuana have medicinal use, especially in terminal diseases such as cancer and AIDS. This started a fierce debate over the professionals and cons of the usage of medical marijuana. To be in this debate, the Institute of Medicine published the famous 1999 IOM report entitled Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. The report was comprehensive but did not give a clear cut yes or no answer. The alternative camps of the medical marijuana issue often cite area of the report within their advocacy arguments. However, even though the report clarified a lot of things, it never settled the controversy once and for all.
Let’s go through the issues that support why medical marijuana should be legalized.
(1) Marijuana is really a naturally occurring herb and has been used from South America to Asia being an herbal medicine for millennia. In this day and age once the all natural and organic are very important health buzzwords, a naturally occurring herb like marijuana may be more inviting to and safer for consumers than synthetic drugs.
(2) Marijuana has strong therapeutic potential. Several studies, as summarized in the IOM report, have observed that cannabis can be utilized as analgesic, e.g. to deal with pain. A couple of studies indicated that THC, a marijuana component is effective in treating chronic pain experienced by cancer patients. However, studies on acute pain such as those experienced during surgery and trauma have inconclusive reports. A couple of studies, also summarized in the IOM report, have demonstrated that some marijuana components have antiemetic properties and are, therefore, effective against nausea and vomiting, which are normal unwanted effects of cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Some researchers are convinced that cannabis has some therapeutic potential against neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Specific compounds extracted from marijuana have strong therapeutic potential. Cannobidiol (CBD), a major component of marijuana, has been shown to have antipsychotic, anticancer and antioxidant properties. Other cannabinoids have been shown to prevent high intraocular pressure (IOP), a major risk factor for glaucoma. Drugs which contain substances contained in marijuana but have been synthetically produced in the laboratory have been approved by the US FDA. One of these is Marinol, an antiemetic agent indicated for nausea and vomiting related to cancer chemotherapy. Its active ingredient is dronabinol, a synthetic delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
(3) One of many major proponents of medical marijuana could be the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a US-based organization. Many medical professional societies and organizations have expressed their support. As an example, The American College of Physicians, recommended a re-evaluation of the Schedule I classification of marijuana within their 2008 position paper. ACP also expresses its strong support for research to the therapeutic role of marijuana along with exemption from federal criminal prosecution; civil liability; or professional sanctioning for physicians who prescribe or dispense medical marijuana in respect with state law. Similarly, protection from criminal or civil penalties for patients who use medical marijuana as permitted under state laws.
(4) Medical marijuana is legally found in many developed countries The argument of if they are able to get it done, why don’t you us? is another strong point. Some countries, including Canada, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain, Israel, and Finland have legalized the therapeutic utilization of marijuana under strict prescription control. Some states in the US may also be allowing exemptions.
Now here are the arguments against medical marijuana.
(1) Lack of data on safety and efficacy. Drug regulation is dependant on safety first. The safety of marijuana and its components really has to first be established. Efficacy only comes second. Even if marijuana has some beneficial health effects, the advantages should outweigh the risks because of it to be considered for medical use. Unless marijuana is shown to be better (safer and more effective) than drugs currently available on the market, its approval for medical use might be a long shot. Based on the testimony of Robert J. Meyer of the Department of Health and Human Services having access to a drug or medical treatment, without knowing just how to put it to use or even when it is effective, doesn’t benefit anyone. Simply having access, with no safety, efficacy, and adequate use information doesn’t help patients.
(2) Unknown chemical components. Medical marijuana can only be easy to get at and affordable in herbal form. Like other herbs, marijuana falls beneath the category of botanical products. Unpurified botanical products, however, face many problems including lot-to-lot consistency, dosage determination, potency, shelf-life, and toxicity. Based on the IOM report when there is any future of marijuana as a medication, it is based on its isolated components, the cannabinoids and their synthetic derivatives. To totally characterize the various the different parts of marijuana would cost so much time and money that the expenses of the medications that’ll come from the jawhorse would be too high. Currently, no pharmaceutical company seems thinking about investing money to isolate more therapeutic components from marijuana beyond what is already available in the market.
(3) Possibility of abuse. Marijuana or cannabis is addictive. It may not be as addictive as hard drugs such as cocaine; nevertheless it cannot be denied that there surely is a possibility of substance abuse related to marijuana. This has been demonstrated with a few studies as summarized in the IOM report.
(4) Lack of a secure delivery system. The most common form of delivery of marijuana is through smoking. Considering the present trends in anti-smoking legislations, this form of delivery won’t ever be approved by health authorities. Reliable and safe delivery systems in the shape of vaporizers, nebulizers, or inhalers are still at the testing stage.
(5) Symptom alleviation, not cure. Even if marijuana has therapeutic effects, it’s only addressing the outward indications of certain diseases. It generally does not treat or cure these illnesses. Given that it is effective against these symptoms, you can find already medications available which work as well or even better, without the medial side effects and risk of abuse related to marijuana.
The 1999 IOM report couldn’t settle the debate about medical marijuana with scientific evidence offered by that time. The report definitely discouraged the usage of smoked marijuana but gave a nod towards marijuana use by way of a medical inhaler or vaporizer. Furthermore, the report also recommended the compassionate utilization of marijuana under strict medical supervision. Furthermore, it urged more funding in the study of the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids.
What exactly stands in the manner of clarifying the questions raised by the IOM report? Medical authorities don’t appear to be interested in having another review. There is limited data available and whatever can be obtained is biased towards safety issues on the adverse effects of smoked marijuana. Data on efficacy mainly result from studies on synthetic cannabinoids (e.g. THC). This disparity in data makes an objective risk-benefit assessment difficult.
Clinical studies on marijuana are few and difficult to conduct because of limited funding and strict regulations. Because of the complicated legalities involved, very few pharmaceutical companies are investing in cannabinoid research. Oftentimes, it’s not clear just how to define medical marijuana as advocated and opposed by many groups. Does it only reference the usage of the botanical product marijuana or does it include synthetic cannabinoid components (e.g. THC and derivatives) as well? Synthetic cannabinoids (e.g. Marinol) available on the market are incredibly expensive, pushing people towards the less expensive cannabinoid in the shape of marijuana. Of course, the issue is further clouded by conspiracy theories concerning the pharmaceutical industry and drug regulators.