Monday, June 06, 2005

Medical Use of Marijuana

I have never in my life used marijuana and I am personally against the use of illegal drugs. I do feel the Supremes are in error in outlawing the use of marijuana as medicine when prescribed by a licensed physician.
The Supreme court has now decreed that the use of marijuana as a prescription medicine can be prosecuted by federal law enforcement. We have for years allowed citizens to use narcotics when prescribed by a licensed physician. I fail to see why marijuana is any different.

Prosecution of licensed doctors who casually prescribe either marijuana or narcotics would seem a better choice. Misuse of a license to prescribe drugs is an enforceable law in all states which can take away licenses. Pharmaceutical grade marijuana, sold only in Pharmacies by prescription would help prevent persons from getting adulterated drugs as well as offer a means to control it's sale just as narcotics are accounted for. Arguing that patients would sell unused dosage is no greater with this drug than any other prescription medicine. This to me is a weak argument since scripts can be written to the need of the patient. If they need one daily dose, the script will call for smaller quantity than for a person who requires this four times a day.

Allowing sick people to suffer without adequate relief because a drug is misused by some is cruel and unjust. You can argue that scientific studies have not demonstrated medical benefits. Many sick people will tell you this is the only thing that provides relief. Morphine has long been the standard by which efficacy of other pain killers is compared. Morphine, codeine, heroin are all derivatives of Opium. My body does not achieve any relief from opiate drugs. I found this out after major surgery as a teenager. Doctors have tried to give me codeine, offered oxycodone etc. for relief of severe pain. Vioxx helped me while the other cox inhibitors did not. Demerol relieves my pain but is too addictive to use as freely as used after surgery. Does my experience with my idiosyncrasy perhaps apply to some who find relief using marijuana? I believe it just might. Who is better able to judge the effectiveness of a drug than the patient for whom it is prescribed? Pain and nausea do not have an objective measure. In medicine, there is a subjective pain scale. The patient is asked to rank their pain on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most severe, debilitating pain. In my career, I have seen many under medicated patients because of excessive caution on the part of a doctor. Use of patient controlled analgesia and the great efforts a few years ago to prescribe adequate pain relief have perhaps helped some. Now we have judges practicing medicine by determining what drug may legally be prescribed despite what individual state legislatures have approved. Not only is this a disservice to persons who find some relief from the drug, it is also trampling on the rights of states to determine law in their respective state.

I live with pain of 3 to 4 on the 10 point scale. This definitely has altered the quality of my life and decreased my ability to be physically active. My physician will prescribe Demerol if I tell him I need it. I have some of my old prescription from recent knee replacement surgery that I have not used more than the first day I returned home. I am unable to take many medications because of requiring coumadin for a blood problem. If it were legal and my pain increased, I would be willing to give any new medicine my doctor prescribed a chance. It seems to me that the use of marijuana has been tested over many years of illegal use and as of yet, I have not known it to increase the chance of heart attack or stroke as with my previous, prescribed pain killer.


  1. Good points. What is so stupid about all of this is, marijuana is not nearly as dangerous as opiates or drugs like oxycontin which can be prescribed for pain.

  2. I agree. I don't understand the problem with medically prescribing a drug that helps pain, or provides a sense of relief. I've seen people have horrible effects from legal pain killers, even those used correctly.

  3. I think the issue was that if medical marijuana were permitted, the definition of medical marijuana would slowly be stretched to the point that marijuana would de facto become legalized.

    I don't believe that the issue was really ever about whether a few people that are terminally ill or have incurable diseases could use marijuana, and after the recent SCOTUS decision the DOJ has stated that they still won't go after those people. They never really wanted to go after those people in the first place.