One Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana

There has been a controversy in the medical community about the increased public support of marijuana legalization. While many doctors admit there are patients with certain medical conditions who can benefit from medical marijuana as a treatment, others are concerned the claims by medical marijuana advocates go far beyond what scientific evidence and empirical data suggests.

medical-doctor-1314902-m.jpgEssentially, these doctors are not saying they are opposed to the legalization of marijuana in general, but they are asking people to move forward with legalization efforts based upon recreational use without claiming it is for medicinal purposes. This, of course, is not the only opinion, and many would disagree. Millions of medical marijuana patients have real world success in treating their various medical conditions with marijuana, regardless of what limited safety studies would show.

According to a recent news article from the New York Times, one doctor is making a strong case for medical marijuana through a new book he authored. He begins by discussing a doctor in London who practiced in the later part of the 1800s. He was personally an insomniac and tried various remedies to help him sleep. It was marijuana that he credited as the best remedy.

While writing this book, he describes one of the major issues anyone has when trying to assess the efficacy of medical marijuana. The problem is that there is very little data showing the benefits of medical marijuana. This is consistent with what opponents of medical marijuana are claiming. However, as the author suggests, it is not because studies show marijuana not to be good medicine, but because there are very few studies on medical marijuana.

As our Los Angeles medical marijuana attorneys can explain, one primary reason for this lack of studies is because the federal government has been reluctant to fund any studies on the benefits of medical marijuana, since it is listed as a Schedule One controlled substance. A Schedule One is typically a drug with with a high risk of abuse and addition and no known medical use. Since marijuana’s placement on Schedule One of the United States Controlled Substances Act of 1970 is based on politics and not science, it is obvious why they don’t want any new studies proving this incorrect.

Another problem with performing studies on medical marijuana discussed in the article is that a marijuana plant contains many different chemicals. Another plant from a different strain, or even the same strain, could have very different chemistry and different potency. The reason this is a problem is because studies depend on controlling variables and repeatable results, and there is so much variability in marijuana plants this is extremely difficult.

Again, this is not to say medical marijuana doesn’t work, as at least anecdotally we know that is does. However, the lack of raw scientific evidence to support the benefits of medical marijuana is being used to fuel the cause of those against legalization of medical marijuana.

However, none of this may matter in the future, as more and more people are willing to vote to legalize marijuana in general, and this may eventually be a solution to the problem. However, the last thing we want is marijuana use to be seen as a dangerous attempt at self-medication, as we often hear with regard to other illegal drugs.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
Review: ‘Stoned: A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana’, September 7, 2015, The New York Times, by Donald G. McNeil Jr.

More Blog Entries:
LA Man Arrested for Alleged Medical Marijuana Dispensary Murder, May 2, 2015, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog