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Letter: Questioning medical marijuana

Floyd Diemoz
Glenwood Springs

A substantial number of Glenwood’s medical marijuana patients between the ages of 18 and 25 that are afflicted with various health issues may be feeling the first of a multitude of tiny tremors beneath their feet. In the June 23/30 Journal of the American Medical Association Journal, Yale University researchers wrote an editorial entitled “Medical Marijuana — Is the Cart Before the Horse?” They pooled research from 79 studies that used placebos, normal cure and no treatment. It involved nearly 6,500 people. I’ll enumerate a few of their findings.

There is some evidence that it helps nausea related to chemotherapy, specific pain syndromes and spasticity from sclerosis. Approval by some individual states relied on low-quality scientific evidence, anecdotal reports, individual testimonials, legislative initiatives and public opinion. This evidence fails to meet FDA standards. The evidence for psoriasis, sickle cell and Tourette Syndrome is of very low quality. There are no high quality studies.

Most FDA-approved drugs have one or two active components, but marijuana has more than 400 compounds including flavonoids, terpenoids and approximately 70 cannabinoids. The multitude of interactions among them is not understood. Very little data is available on doses for smoked marijuana for various medical conditions.

While the acute adverse effects of marijuana are quite well known, the effects of repeated exposure need further study. Dependency occurs with repeated exposure, and marijuana dosing will have to be increased over time to achieve the same effect. A distinct withdrawal syndrome is also well recognized.

I expect Colorado’s approval of recreational marijuana will devour medical marijuana as they become one and the same.


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