Federal Government Rules That Marijuana Has No Accepted Medical Purpose. Really???

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I can totally understand why the federal government would have trouble recommending a complete legalization of marijuana (it's a political nightmare), but it just seems blatantly irresponsible to announce that there is NO acceptable medical use for it.  Are they kidding?

From the LA Times – Federal Government Says Marijuana Has No Accepted Medical Use

Marijuana has been approved by California, many other states and the nation's capital to treat a range of illnesses, but in a decision announced Friday the federal government ruled that it has no accepted medical use and should remain classified as a dangerous drug like heroin.

The decision comes almost nine years after medical marijuana supporters asked the government to reclassify cannabis to take into account a growing body of worldwide research that shows its effectiveness in treating certain diseases, such as glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.

marijuana

Photo Credit: warrantedarrest.

Regardless of where you stand on the legalization of marijuana; for the government to say that there is no medical benefits for it, seems tantamount to an ostrich burying its head in the sand.

Here are four studies that have been published in peer-reviewed medical journals, that show the medical benefits of marijuana.   From WebMd -- Medical Marijuana Has Merit, Research Shows...

  • Smoked cannabis reduced pain in HIV patients. In one study, 50 patients assigned either to cannabis or placebo finished the study. Although 52% of those who smoked marijuana had a 30% or more reduction in pain intensity, just 24% of those in the placebo group did. The study is published in the journal Neurology. In another study, 28 HIV patients were assigned to either marijuana or placebo -- and 46% of pot smokers compared to 18% of the placebo group reported 30% or more pain relief. That study is in Neuropsychopharmacology.
  • Marijuana helped reduce pain in people suffering spinal cord injury and other conditions. In this study, 38 patients smoked either high-dose or low-dose marijuana; 32 finished all three sessions. Both doses reduced neuropathic pain from different causes. Results appear in the Journal of Pain.
  • Medium doses of marijuana can reduce pain perception, another study found. Fifteen healthy volunteers smoked a low, medium, or high dose of marijuana to see if it could counteract the pain produced by an injection of capsaicin, the ''hot'' ingredient in chili peppers. The higher the dose, the greater the pain relief. The study was published in Anesthesiology.
  • Vaporized marijuana can be safe, other research found. In this study, 14 volunteers were assigned to get low, medium, or high doses of pot, either smoked or by vaporization delivery, on six different occasions. The vaporized method was found safe; patients preferred it to smoking. The study is in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

I found this interesting and informative video in a recent article from the Huffington Post

It's not hard to find studies and research that show there are indeed medical benefits for marijuana.  This is from NORML.org – Recent Research on Medical Marijuana

In February 2010 investigators at the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research publicly announced the findings of a series of randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials on the medical utility of inhaled cannabis. The studies, which utilized the so-called ‘gold standard' FDA clinical trial design, concluded that marijuana ought to be a "first line treatment" for patients with neuropathy and other serious illnesses.

Among the studies conducted by the Center, four assessed smoked marijuana's ability to alleviate neuropathic pain, a notoriously difficult to treat type of nerve pain associated with cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, spinal cord injury and many other debilitating conditions. Each of the trials found that cannabis consistently reduced patients' pain levels to a degree that was as good or better than currently available medications.

It seems the federal government not only wants us to believe that there is no medical value to marijuana, but they also want us to believe that it is equally as dangerous as Heroin.  Yes, you heard me right, I said HEROIN.  This is just not true.  Here is a graph that compares the dangers of popular drugs (including heroin) to marijuana...

*Above image From: Jack E. Henningfield, PhD for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Reported by Philip J. Hilts, New York Times, Aug. 2, 1994 "Is Nicotine Addictive? It Depends on Whose Criteria You Use."  Source: http://drugwarfacts.org/addictiv.htm

Another way to compare the dangers of marijuana to other drugs is to look at how many people actually have died from the use of these drugs.   I think you will find this next image very interesting, not only does it look at the number of deaths, but it also shows the number and percentage of press reports.

I wonder where cigarettes would fall on this graph?  Found it...Over 443,000 Americans (over 18 percent of all deaths) die because of smoking each year. Secondhand smoke kills about 50,000 of them.

It's pretty clear to me, that the issue of legalizing medical marijuana has more to do with politics than actual medical and scientific research.  It also seems like the fear that some people (without medical problems) may find ways to get prescriptions for the medical use of marijuana, is overshadowing the fact that there are very sick (and dying) patients suffering that could otherwise benefit from its use. 

Anyway, there is so much information on this topic that I could go on and on with this post forever, but I have to stop somewhere.  So I'll stop here, and ask you what you think.  How do you feel about this topic?  Do you believe that there are actual medical benefits to using marijuana?  Do you think that politics is playing too big of a role in something that physicians are more qualified to decide?  If it was your mother or child that was suffering, would that make a difference on how you feel about the use of medical marijuana?  I hope you'll let us know all of your thoughts in comments.

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Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
Also at Catherine-Morgan.com

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