Attorney General Marty Jackley is interviewed in today’s Argus Leader regarding the proposed pot legalization measure being proposed for the ballot, and he succinctly sums up the problem these measures always tend to have:
Attorney General Marty Jackley said he would only support medical marijuana legalization if the treatments were backed by the FDA, if prescriptions can be written only by physicians, and if products can be only dispensed by a pharmacy.
“I do hope that medicine may reach a point in which some form of marijuana or THC can safely be prescribed under a doctor’s care for treatment,” Jackley said.
Sioux Falls Police Chief Doug Barthel is against legalizing marijuana for medical use. He thinks most groups pushing for medical marijuana are just looking for a way around the law to use it for recreation.
“I certainly sympathize with the very small percentage of people who have illnesses and ailments that marijuana has been able to help,” Barthel. “I think there is certainly an opening to get some sort of FDA approval for that to get them help.”
And that’s one of the eternal problems with things grown in a dude’s closet under grow-lights. It’s not medicine.
There’s a good article from Men’s Health in 2013 which reviews many of the problems with it’s use as such, and explains why we’re a long time off in even considering it as such:
“I think we have to be real about what that’s all about,” says Dr. Friedmann. “It’s really about legalization—not the health benefits or risks.” Sure, tobacco and alcohol—which are both legal—harm many more people than cannabis, but we don’t use them as medicines, Dr. Friedmann adds. “During Prohibition, one of the few ways to get alcohol was by prescription, and some unscrupulous doctors and clinics made good money—just as they are for medical marijuana.”
So could the pot you pick up with a medical marijuana card ease anxiety like many people claim it does? “It could,” says Dr. ElSohly. “But it could also exacerbate it.”
You don’t actually need much THC to see medicinal benefits. But street pot—as well as pot sold in dispensaries—is just getting more potent. Dr. ElSohly and his team at Ole Miss track the THC content in confiscated marijuana in this country. “In the 1970s, the THC content was around 1 or 2 percent,” he says as he shows me weed sent to the lab from the Drug Enforcement Administration after a raid. “Today it’s more like 11 or 12 percent.”
Why that matters: It’s the lowest dose of Marinol—2.5 milligrams of THC —that works best for appetite stimulation in HIV patients, Dr. ElSohly says. This is equivalent to smoking about a half-gram joint at 1 percent THC. The same thing goes for a good high: A 2007 Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics study found that of 1.7, 3.4, and 6.8 percent THC pot, most people preferred the experience from the 3.4 percent weed. What you won’t read in that study is that it was originally designed to include 8 percent THC weed, but “even the most experienced marijuana smokers couldn’t tolerate it,” Dr. ElSohly explains. “So what the heck do you want more THC than that for?”
Look at the Colorado population using marijuana for pain, Dr. ElSohly says. “It’s mostly youth—people who should be pain free.” It takes him about a minute to stand up—he’s wincing again. “I have back pain right now, but I’m not about to smoke marijuana for it. You know what I’m saying?”
Is there research being done? Yes. But as you can read for yourself, it’s showing many problems in delivery methods, absorption and dosage. Things are a long way off, at best. Not exactly the basis for a state approving the ‘wonder medicine’ du jour.
The organizer of the ballot measure claims that only 150 people statewide would be affected by the measure. So does that number justify setting up new levels of bureaucracy in the state health department to justify bypassing physicians, pharmacies and the FDA?
The AG and law enforcement doesn’t think so. And they’ll be the ones left to clean up the mess if it passes.