Thursday, April 5, 2012


Got into a heated discussion about medical marijuana with someone today.  Their stance was that most people who get access to medical marijuana are just looking to get high, while my position was that he was probably right, but that there are many people who benefit from it.

We ended the discussion agreeing to disagree and each admitting that the other had a point.  Afterwards, I continued to think about the issue, and I had an idea.

The main objection I've seen to medical marijuana was what my friend said:  A lot of people abuse the possibly legitimate utilization of marijuana as medicine for a discreet set of medical conditions because they want to get high.  It's a running joke among people I know in California that going to a doctor and claiming that sometimes life stresses you out is a one way ticket to a prescription for Northern California Bliss.  There also seems to be the feeling that these systems of legalized use of marijuana are the camel's nose under the tent flap towards normalization and legalization of other drugs such as cocaine and heroine.  If you can use weed to get rid of migraines, can't you use Bolivian marching powder to lose weight or smack to get through those really tough periods in life?

My take on it is that a method of using cannabis to alleviate the suffering of truly sick people needs to be found.  Cancer patients, AIDS sufferers, and others can benefit from THC.  But I do agree that many people utilize medical marijuana dispensaries as their connection to a good buzz and nothing more.

So to those of you who don't agree with the idea of medical marijuana, would you be OK with pharmacies dispensing THC in some pharmaceutical form such as pills, lozenges, or skin patches?  These are already used to dispense opiates to patients for pain control, so why not have them available, with a prescription, for those who currently utilize marijuana for medical conditions.  Heck, we gave prescription caffeine and nicotine to Little Bear when he was an infant to keep his heartrate up.  Ah, the joys of raising an extremely premature child.  People who would scream if we were to give an infant a dip of chewing tobacco and a Mountain Dew didn't bat an eye as we mixed the evil stuff into his morning formula.

My point is that if cannabis has therapeutic uses, then we should exploit them.  If the current model of a dispensary selling weed, cookies, and lollipops is distasteful to most people, who not let pharmaceutical companies separate out the active ingredients, find a way to deliver it to patients that is as effective as smoking or eating it, and deliver it through existing pharmacy channels?

I'm not going to debate the legalization of marijuana from a libertarian standpoint.  I object to the government telling me I can't do something to my own body so long as I don't harm others while doing it, even if it's something I wouldn't do even if it was legal. I'm looking at the middle ground where a drug like THC could be legally used by those who could be helped by it in a way that doesn't make people have visions of Haight-Ashbury.

Please let me know what y'all think in comments.


LabRat said...

They've been trying, and had been for long and long before the current model emerged. Marinol was the first, and it's still in use to treat nausea in cancer patients. That's about all it's good for, though.

Thing is, the unassuming pot plant has something like sixty or more active chemicals in it, and they interact, and efforts to tease them out from each other and understand how have been vastly less successful than plant breeders taking the direct approach and creating strains that do different things effectively.

Mad Jack said...

My only objection is that I do not trust pharmaceutical companies. I don't trust the government either, but the difference between the two is miniscule.

By all means, find an alternate delivery system.

MrG's said...

I am going to take the super libertarian route, If people want to use drugs..that is fine, that is their choice...what I object to is them screwing themselves up then coming to the rest of us and saying " Fix me". Then we have these huge medical bills repairing joe dopesmpker or something like that from his years of using controlled substances. That is my hangup with the drug use. I have no problem with personal use, but don't come to taxpayers to fix you. It is the personal choice thingie I rant about.

Ruth said...

if it was ONLY dispensed from the same pharmacies as the rest of the prescription drugs we all get, then I'd be ok with it. I have issues with the "medical dispenciaries" or whatever they're called that are special for medical pot.

Not that the pharmaceutical companies ought to profit from it, and I totally agree with MrG's point about later damage. But for the people who are dying anyway I'd be ok with it if it was honestly treated like other prescription painkillers.

Weer'd Beard said...

I know lots of people who drink alcohol to lower cholesterol, it also helps with anxiety, pain, and can be a mild sedative.

From how it's sold and doses, and formulation it is not "medicine" in any senses of the word or regulation.

But end the prohibition we can let people self medicate how they see fit, and we can focus on people abusing the stuff rather than blanket bans.

bluesun said...

My problem is the "medical" part of the description. If you are going to call it medical, you should go to your doctor, get a prescription, and have it filled at the pharmacy. The dispensaries model just ticks me off.

Christina LMT said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA! Guess what the topic of my major paper in my nursing class is? :)

Anonymous said...

"They" already have a med with what you are looking for....
Dronabinol is the International Nonproprietary Name (INN) for a pure isomer of THC, (–)-trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the main isomer in cannabis.[78] It is sold as Marinol (a registered trademark of Solvay Pharmaceuticals). Dronabinol is also marketed, sold, and distributed by PAR Pharmaceutical Companies under the terms of a license and distribution agreement with SVC pharma LP, an affiliate of Rhodes Technologies. Synthesized THC may be generally referred to as dronabinol. It is available as a prescription drug (under Marinol[79]) in several countries including the United States and Germany. In the United States, Marinol is a Schedule III drug, available by prescription, considered to be non-narcotic and to have a low risk of physical or mental dependence. Efforts to get cannabis rescheduled as analogous to Marinol have not succeeded thus far, though a 2002 petition has been accepted by the DEA. As a result of the rescheduling of Marinol from Schedule II to Schedule III, refills are now permitted for this substance. Marinol has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the treatment of anorexia in AIDS patients, as well as for refractory nausea and vomiting of patients undergoing chemotherapy, which has raised much controversy as to why natural THC is still a schedule I drug.[80]


45er said...

I've never understood why marijuana is illegal. It's a plant and yes, people smoke it. Big deal. I've never smoked it simply because it's illegal and I don't need that kind of thing on my record. Legal alcohol and illegal marijuana is silly. Unless you follow the money and it's too easy to just grow a plant so they wouldn't get their tax revenue. Then again, they aren't getting tax for the millions of pounds of marijuana sold every year, so I see it as a tax-base expansion.

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