These same words resonate today in the debate over the legalization of medical marijuana.
Last month, National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, the facts of using marijuana were re-examined and the facts just will not go away.
- Marijuana is a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, and Schedule I substances exhibit a high potential for abuse or dependency, have no accepted medical value, and are unsafe to use, even under medical supervision.
- According to the Food and Drug Administration, there have been no sound scientific studies supporting the medical value of marijuana.
- As such, marijuana has not passed the rigid scrutiny of medicine proposed by the FDA.
- Two recent comprehensive studies by the Institute of Medicine and the American Medical Association acknowledged the lack of data to support the use of smoked marijuana for medicinal purposes.
- The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse has even stated that marijuana is unlikely to be used as a medicine in its smoked or vaporized form because it is an unpurified plant with often unpredictable side effects
- and, it may cause cognitive defects that dramatically hinder its utility.
- What is scientifically approved by the FDA and accepted by the medical community, is a medicine called Marinol, a legal, widely prescribed drug currently in pill form containing synthetic THC, a main constituent in marijuana.
- This FDA-approved drug has been found to relieve the adverse side effects of patients undergoing chemotherapy and to stimulate appetites in patients suffering from HIV/AIDS.
- The alternative, non-FDA approved drug, smoked marijuana, contains more than 400 chemicals, many of which are identical to the most harmful chemicals and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke.
- The fact is that a marijuana cigarette contains four times as much tar as a tobacco cigarette which we know causes harm.
- Another fact is that legalizing marijuana leads to the use of more dangerous and harmful drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine. In a study of 3,000 medical marijuana users published in the Harm Reduction Journal, (an anti-prohibition publication) researchers found that nearly 75 percent of Caucasian participants had used cocaine and more than 50 percent had used methamphetamine in their lifetime.
- In a similar study by Columbia University, teens who smoke marijuana were found to be 85 times more likely to use cocaine than those teens who do not smoke marijuana.
- Yet another fact is that marijuana use, including its use for medicinal purposes, is directly related to motor vehicle accidents and reckless driving, as cannabis affects psychomotor functioning.
A medical marijuana user in San Diego is reported to have caused 13 car accidents while under the influence of the drug for medicinal purposes, and, in a tragic accident, a 56-year old elementary school teacher was killed by a medical marijuana user in an automobile accident in California, yet the states which have allowed marijuana to be used as a ‘medicine’, also continue to issue users drivers licenses to users, endangering others.
In a study of fatally injured drivers in Washington state, a state with legalized medical marijuana, about one every eight tested positive for marijuana. Why should insurance companies insure those who drive impaired, raising everyone’s rates?
With 16 states and the District of Columbia now defining marijuana as “medicine,” society seems to have ignored Adams’ advice. We are becoming less alarmed by the effects of marijuana and more accepting of its use.
The undisputable facts, however, are that there are no sound scientific data supporting the medicinal value of marijuana, and legalizing marijuana raises serious public safety concerns. These facts cannot be ignored.
If our legislators see fit to reverse the recent trend, recriminalizing marijuana and legalize ONLY Marinol, it would greatly simplify law enforcement!
- Any smokable THC product would obviously be illegal – being a “user” would be on record.
- Marinol would make it much easier to prove “impaired driving” because of drug use.
- Marinol could be lead to measurement of the chemicals in the blood stream.
- Insurance companies would have reason to reject those on prescription medicines.
- The numerous reasons to legalize Marinol demand a change.