Is marijuana medicine ?
In reality, no, not in the United States. Under federal law it is still illegal. Marijuana is not medicine, nor will it be, unless it goes through the approval process at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA will only approve medications that are safe and effective, and if their benefits significantly outweigh their harmful effects. Like tobacco products, marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals, many with unknown effects, which differ from plant to plant. To be considered medicine, it must have well-defined ingredients and meet measurable tolerances dose to dose. No reliable doctor would prescribe it otherwise. Using it as a medicine does not make it a medicine.
Synthetic THC (Marinol), is legal and is being used for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy to relieve pain, vomiting and intense nausea, and for patients with multiple sclerosis, and to reverse the severe weight loss of AIDS patients. Another product using extracts from cannabis plants, Sativex, a mouth spray, is currently going through the FDA process and will probably be approved. It’s already in use in Canada and the United Kingdom. And the current administration in Harrisburg is agreeable with accepting what the FDA approves.
The medicines you want are here, and getting better.
The real problem I have with your Friday editorial is its arguments for legalizing marijuana go beyond the benefits of medicine. It’s obvious to the most casual observer that you really endorse what Colorado and Washington have done, legalizing recreational use. Why else would you bring up alcohol, tobacco and reference “minor drug crimes”? Aren’t there enough highway deaths and broken families from substance abuse? Enough crime? Do we want more rehab centers or better schools? More single-parent families or tight-knit ones? I think you’re on moral thin ice.
George Wakulik Jr.