Pubdate: Sat, 07 Mar 2015
Source: Tampa Bay Times (FL)
Copyright: 2015 St. Petersburg Times
Note: Named the St. Petersburg Times from 1884-2011.
Author: James J. Klapper


This article is excellent but missed some of the problems on both 
sides of the issue that have delayed the legal acceptance of cannabis 
for pain relief.

The proponents of medical marijuana have declared it a miracle 
medicine. But it is obvious they just want to get the camel's nose 
under the tent for full-blown recreational marijuana.

In fact, the medical uses of marijuana are limited. It is primarily 
an effective reliever of pain for a series of chronic illnesses. It 
may be useful in treating childhood seizures, but so far there is no 
way to determine its relative efficacy. Extensive studies are needed.

Cannabis may be of use in treating nausea and weight loss in some 
illnesses, but from personal experience I can tell you that the 
nausea problem in chemotherapy has been pretty much solved by 
prescription drugs.

For other illnesses, cannabis has either failed or has minimal 
effects. The latest disappointment was in both high- and low-THC 
trials in Britain, where it proved useless against Crohn's disease.

One problem with medical marijuana may be that patients neglect 
proper treatment because the effects of the marijuana can cover up 
the disease symptoms. That can be addressed by requiring that at 
least two medical or osteopathic physicians certify that the patient 
is following an approved plan of the best available medical treatment.

In favor of medical marijuana for pain relief is that it is far less 
dangerous than the addictive opiates it would partially replace. The 
Florida Sheriff's Association stand against cannabis for limited 
chronic pain conditions is not just cruel but irrational. If opiates 
are acceptable under tight controls, why not cannabis?

James J. Klapper, Oldsmar
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