Friday, July 24, 2009

Medical Marijuana


In medicine, we say things come in "threes". Sure enough, I have written three prescriptions for medical cannabis within the past 2 weeks. One was for a patient to help manage chronic pain, one was for a patient who was losing weight with metastatic cancer and the third for a patient with multiple sclerosis and spasticity. Medical marijuana has been found to be effective in all three of these diagnosis.

In case you haven't been paying attention, much has changed in the marijuana world over the past few years. In the urban cities of California there are thought to be over 1000 dispensaries for medical cannabis. Patients with a prescription from an MD, can purchase marijuana to smoke, eat or in the form of lozenges and suckers. These public dispensaries usually get the product from small growers and have a selection of different types of marijuana to suit different problems.

In San Francisco there are 22 registered dispensaries of medical marijuana. There is no problem with law enforcement since regulations went into effect and there is oversight of the Department of Public Health and the City Planning Department. In Los Angeles there are over 300 facilities and only 186 are registered and the others are being closed down.

There is always the question about are these "pot clubs" being just a way for someone to legally get marijuana. Since it is easy to find a doctor (some advertise) that will write a prescription for just about any bogus condition for a $200 fee, there are probably lots of users who don't really need it as medicine.

On the other hand, these programs prevent access by minors under 18 without being accompanied by a parent (and a legal Rx). They pay taxes and keep marijuana from being controlled by drug lords. One club employs over 100 people. (I don't know if they provide health benefits.)

No matter if some of the users are charlatans, the clubs do serve an important purpose for patients who do benefit from natural marijuana for a number of medical conditions. Since marijuana (both legal and illegal) is the largest crop grown in California (estimates at $18 billion), I call this an opportunity for legalization and taxation.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

No public position...just interesting. Watching CNN Anderson 360 http://su.pr/1czEBc & reading MD blog http://su.pr/2AMMV7 on Med Mary Jane.

Anonymous said...

This is so interesting. I didn't know anything about medical marijuana. It sounds like California is quite enlightened. There is certainly no place to get it legally in my area (rural midwest).

Cockroach Catcher said...

Thank you for being part of the Tour de Grande Rounds.

The Cockroach Catcher

BenefitScroungingScum said...

I live in the UK and use mj medically as advised by my doctor to help with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. It improves symptoms hugely.
The one major concern I have is that it is illegal and I have no choice but to purchase it from drug dealers. I would love to be able to access it through the kind of medical mj programmes you describe but fear it will never happen in the UK
Bendy Girl

samantha said...

Thank you for helping to bring more information on this medicine to the internet. There is mostly the result of drug war propaganda to be found.

For paralysis resulting from a spinal cord injury, cannabis taken as a tincture, completely controls muscle spasms! With no side effects, that's the key.

It is a lovely recreational 'drug', an herbal medicine with a 5,000 year history. Via prohibition it is kept from those who are suffering or who would rather save their liver and not drink. People who use their common sense and use the medicine illegally can end up in jail, loose public housing, loose any chance of getting college loans... this insanity must soon end.

sunflowerpipes.com said...

There are many good persuasive arguments on why America should legalize marijuana; the problem is that fact has not translated into real political pressure on the people who can change the laws. One of the problems inhibiting legalization is that people that smoke a glass pipe or a hand rolled marijuana cigarette are not considered serious or mature. It is this stigma and the illegal nature of pot that makes people hide their use from public view, therefore reality of who uses pot is different than it seems. Marijuana Legislation is a serious issue and that has profound effects on crime the economy and society. In the end it is up to us to be public about our choices and to voice our opinions to the ones that ultimately decide what is legal. Every hand written letter that makes it to a representative is considered to be the voice of a thousand people who did not take the time to write. Send an email, send a letter, make a phone call and get counted.

IMPIart.com

Medical Aesthetics Employment said...

I believe that the biggest reason that medical marijuana is not legalized and is hard to be prescribed, is not because of the lumber industry or because of the classification as a drug/gateway drug. I think it is illegal because of the CURE it provides rather than the treatment. Between Medical Marijuana Inc. and the Canibus College, I think there is more than enough proof out there to provide people with the benefits of its use and the true potential of it. It is despicable that alcohol is more damaging to your entire body, and is legal instead of marijuana.

Jessey said...

Did you mean that Marijuana is good for patients health. Other hand if any body use this marijuana. He will be arrest immediately. I think only doctors are free to use drugs. Means if I wanna enjoy some marijuana or any brown sugar before that I have the MD degree and that time may be I buy cialis totally free. lol

rabin said...

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People who use their common sense and use the medicine illegally can end up in jail, loose public housing, loose any chance of getting college loans... this insanity must soon end.

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Anonymous said...

Something to share I have just learned about the medicinal value of marijuana is ability to heal wounds esp MRSA. Close friend of mine suffered thumb wound which improved without formal prescription but he works as a grower and it may be the "weed" environment helped his wound to heal. Yet another positive fact about magical marijuana footloosf@yahoo.com