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FDA Takes on Medicinal Marijuana

Yesterday the FDA announced that “no scientific studies” support the efficacy of medicinal marijuana. This statement contradicts the conclusions of a review from the Institute of Medicine, the country’s most prestigous scientific advisory agency. A review that concluded that marijuana is ‘moderately well suited for particular conditions, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and AIDS wasting.’

Extrapolating from this, it’s an effective treatment for the nausea and vomiting that can accompany migraine. Anecdotally it also alleviates chronic pain.

My blood is boiling. Political ideology vilifies a drug that’s less
harmful than much of what we take to control pain. It can also cause less impairment than some patients experience with opioids.

Scientific data is the crux of the debate. Factions against medicinal marijuana say that no good scientific data exists to support it’s use. Proponents argue that the strict regulations on researching marijuana’s medical use make it impossible to engage in the clinical trials required to develop said scientific data.

The NY Times article examines both sides of the debate. I admit that it’s biased toward my view, but I think it makes a good argument. Unfortunately, the man in the picture that accompanies the story looks more like he’s at a smoky bar, enjoying a good high. Thus illustrating that artistic photography can undermine a well-presented argument.

Update, 10:14 a.m.: Typepad, the blogging tool that I use, creates a post’s permanent URL from the title of the post. For this post, it’s “fda_takes_on_me.” If only I wielded that much power.

2 Responses to FDA Takes on Medicinal Marijuana

  1. stephanie says:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a lot of gall. On the one hand, they come out saying that pot has no medicinal value, whatsoever. On the other, they have been supplying (currently) seven patients, some of them for as long as 23 years, with tins of marijuana cigarettes under a little-known federal program, the Compassionate Investigational New Drug (IND) program.

    Why would they do this for that long, if the substance had no medicinal value? In addition to the IOM report that you mention, there are many scholarly reports that verify the efficacy of THC and the other cannabinoids in marijuana, as healing agents. For instance, the Fourth National Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics was recently held in Santa Barbara, California.

    Over 30 health professionals delivered papers having to do with the therapeutic value of cannabis for such varied conditions as pregnancy, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, cancer, glaucoma, and chronic pain. Dr. Donald Abrams gave the opening address on the use of cannabis in palliative care.

    This conference was co-sponsored by the University of California, San Francisco, and the California Nurses Association, and organized by the Virginia-based medpot advocacy group, Patients Out of Time. It was also accredited by the American Medical Association, causing chief organizer, Al Byrne, to quip: “How can [marijuana] not be medicinal, we’re accredited by the A.M.A.”

    The fact is that cannabinoid research is taking place around the world, and more and more professional associations of health practitioners are calling for the legalization of medicinal marijuana in the United States. Canada has already passed a law permitting doctors to prescribe marijuana to relieve pain, increase appetite, and control nausea.

    Talk show host Montel Williams attended the California conference that was held in early April. He challenged other celebrities to admit using medicinal marijuana. “I’m tired of being on the barricades all by myself.” Williams suffers from multiple sclerosis. As an MS patient myself, he is my new hero.

    My illness started with excruciating pain in both of my legs, same as for Williams. I thought it was a foot condition, so I went to a foot doctor. Eventually, the truth was revealed and it’s not pleasant. This degenerative nerve disease has no cure. But my doctor suggested medicinal marijuana, and I am very glad he did.

    The state I live in is one of eleven that allow medpot, so I’m lucky. I got the prescription and now I smoke two or three joints a day. Luckily, my lungs are still okay enough to do this. If that changes, I’ll have to bake brownies, I guess. But one way or the other I’ll ingest my medicine, since it helps a great deal with the intense pain of MS.

    I must confess that I obtained the first few bags of weed from an illegal source. There are no compassion clubs in my area, so I had no other choice. Then a friend suggested growing my own. I thought about it and did some research. I came upon a wonderful website that specializes in helping medpot patients like myself who want to grow their own medicine.

    In an urban setting, you have little choice, but to set aside a room as a grow room. There was a storage room next to the downstairs laundry room, that I had to clear out. I also had to install ventilation, both in and out, and a carbon filter on the exhaust fan to keep telltale odors from escaping. No need to spread the news that I’m growing pot. You don’t want to attract the wrong element.

    I bought a High Pressure Sodium lamp with a ballast and five large pots, with perlite and rich, black soil. I couldn’t afford to go hydroponic, but if this doesn’t work out, I’ll have to save up for it. So far so good. My plants are four feet tall and growing and when the flowering stage starts, I’ll have to switch from a bulb in the blue end of the spectrum to one in the red end. They’re called conversion bulbs.

    For my fertilizer I chose a 100% organic product, Organic Iguana Juice, which comes in two different bottles, Grow and Bloom. They contain a fish base, along with krill extract, yucca extract, earthworm castings, volcanic ash, kelp meal, and alfalfa extract.

    The technical experts at Advanced Nutrients Medical also suggested using Scorpion Juice, to inoculate my plants with Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR) against viral diseases. The room has a base heater that will be handy in the winter.

    Other measures suggested by them is to cover the walls of the room with white plastic sheets to reflect light and eventually to install a Co2 generator, since carbon dioxide is essential for healthy and vigorous plant growth.

    I resent the attitude of the feds that they can bust compassion clubs, medpot patients, and doctors who prescribe marijuana, even in states where the law allows all this. Wasn’t there a war fought over states’ rights versus federal rights? It was called the Civil War. Unfortunately, there is nothing civil about denying a suffering patient their only relief from certain pain.

  2. Pot says:

    This is very interesting blog. If marijuana has no medical contribution then it would be difficult to legalize this drug. The idea and thought of this post is still debatable. I hope that there will be an end and final conclusion for efficacy of marijuana.

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