Banning weed is bad medicine
July 27, 2012|By Paul Armentano
Those searching for answers to the question "Is medical marijuana good medicine?" will find few in Dr. David Sack's Times Op-Ed article.
On the one hand, Sack concedes, "Marijuana can effectively treat neuropathic pain, and it has been shown to improve appetite and reduce nausea," an acknowledgment substantiating the plant’s therapeutic utility. However, he later warns that cannabis' ability to provide relief for certain other conditions, such as lupus and anxiety, remains unproven. So what? Are we to believe that because marijuana may not work as a medicine for everyone that this somehow negates the reality that it is a safe and effective agent for those people suffering from conditions for which it has been proven to help? Imagine if we were to judge other medications by this same, unrealistic standard.
Further examples of Sack's schizophrenic attitude on cannabis are abundant throughout his commentary. He feigns outrage that some individuals may be violating the spirit of California’s medicinal cannabis law simply "to get high." Yet he fails to persuasively argue why he believes this behavior is problematic, admitting, "Those who get a card and indulge in the infrequent use of marijuana will probably experience few problems."
Sack does express some concerns about those who consume cannabis chronically, though statistically, most of the estimated 100 million Americans who have experimented with pot do not fall into this category or use it problematically. He also warns that marijuana use may in some instances exacerbate certain psychiatric disorders. Yet on this matter the available data remain inconclusive at best. Notably, several recent studies indicate that cannabis probably plays little or no role in the precipitation of disorders such as schizophrenia, while others indicate that marijuana may be helpful in patients with depression or suicidal thoughts.
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