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    Medical marijuana: 8 questions in search of an evidence base

     

    5. Who came up with the term “medical marijuana,” anyway?

    6. Have you noticed that for many of marijuana’s alleged indications, the medical “proof” of efficacy is touted from a few case studies and small investigational studies, and that almost all of them cite the need for more research and say that conclusions cannot be drawn from this limited evidence?

    7. Have you noticed that states with legalized use of recreational marijuana began by legalizing the use of “medical” marijuana?

    8. Why the big push for marijuana, anyway, if there are already prescription agents such as marinol easily available by [prescription] with medical supervision, not to mention other agents in the standardized pipeline that will soon be available?

    Try this on for size

    Maybe it’s because marijuana is green! States can tax it to support fiscally irresponsible use of tax dollars. Growers and distributors can sell it for prices above its street market value and become very wealthy in the process. The industry is a difficult one to audit, being a cash business where money can easily be diverted “off the books.” 

    Next: Drug testing and the pediatrician

    Oh, and does “legal” marijuana dry up the illicit marijuana trade? Nope. Television news reports document the existence of a vibrant black market, where marijuana can be sold for much less than the dispensary price while still showing a tidy profit for illicit sellers, both in and out of state. So turf wars will continue, along with the accompanying crime and violence.

    Tort attorneys like to figuratively garden in the marijuana patch. A very rich, very politically influential tort attorney in one state last year spent the other side of $4 million on promotion of “medical” marijuana via a state constitutional amendment and intends to continue the spending this legislative year. As a matter of fact, a gubernatorial candidate who narrowly lost the recent governor’s election was beholden to this very rich, very influential tort attorney because the attorney employed him when he was an ex-governor out of a job some years ago.

    And why the intensive interest from tort attorneys? Widespread psychoactive agent availability is very good for business. Look at the booming motor vehicle accident tort industry. Much of this activity is the result of alcohol consumption, but imagine if we can get another few million or more impaired drivers on the road! A green goldmine! 

    Many times medical decision making involves deciding from alternatives in an emotionally charged atmosphere, especially when the decision making involves children. As healthcare professionals we are tasked with doing what is in the best interest of patients and their family to help them wade through a torrent of public information, sometimes obscuring the best medical options for them.


    Michael J Schuh, BS, PharmD, MBA
    Michael Schuh is a clinical pharmacist and assistant professor of Pharmacy, Family, and Palliative Medicine at Mayo Clinic Florida, ...

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    • [email protected]
      Great questions. Questions that I too have been asking. Questions that only lead to more questions like: Why the heck did those of us in healthcare professions allow for such nonsense passage of laws?

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