Cannabis as Medicine? Overview

It is utterly mind-blowing that people have no idea that Cannabis has been part of the medical prescription landscape for over 20 years. That’s right T. G. A (Therapeutic Goods Administration) trialled and approved cannabis based medicines have been available as an option to alleviate, if only in small ways, some of the symptoms of a couple of diseases or help with recovery from treatment. However, the claims of this plant being a ‘miracle cure’ for just about everything, have existed for of 100 years… yet in no credible and advanced research has any of the properties of the Cannabis plant ‘cured’ anything, ever!

There is no argument that some components of this incredibly complex plant can have some therapeutic benefit, be it ever so small, but deriving such from the plant with out co-opting some of the more detrimental components has proven incredibly difficult. On top of that, the evidence emerging from latest science, sees that some of these therapies, do more harm than good, with the temporary alleviating of a symptom on one hand, and incurring along term genetic harm on the other!

Again if facts and evidence matter to your best-practice health care, then this is the space for you. Make informed decisions based on science, and not quackery!

We wanted to make sure you had seen four key studies just into play

  • groundbreaking study in The Lancet found that marijuana use over four years actually made it harder for patients to cope with chronic pain, and did not reduce their use of opioids.
  • study in Frontiers in Psychiatry found that increasing self-exposure to non-medical marijuana was a predictor of greater odds of opioid dependencediagnosis.
  • study in the International Review of Psychiatry found an increased rate of serious mental illness in states that had legalized medical marijuana.
  • In JAMA: "(The) associated acute and long-term psychoactive effects on brain function (of marijuana) are...known. Expanding use of cannabis among pregnant and lactating women (as likely will occur with legalization) may lead to increased risk from fetal and child exposures if the teratogenic potential of cannabis remains underappreciated."

Additional Resources on Link Between Marijuana and Opioids

These articles follow other warnings from medical professionals: the recent editorial published in the Journal of the Society for the Study of Addiction, which cautions against drawing policy conclusions from population studies, and the editorial comment from the American Society of Addiction Medicine on February 20, 2018. And don't forget NIDA's rigorous study showing pot users are twice as likely to have abused opioids and have an opioid use disorder than non-marijuana users.

SAM has published a one-pager describing the overwhelming link between marijuana and opioid abuse. While not every marijuana user will go on to use heroin, nearly all heroin users previously abused marijuana. We need smart policies that discourage use, get people back on their feet, and restore people to participate in and contribute to society. States that have legalized marijuana, by contrast, see increased drugged driving, increased arrests of minority youth, and increased emergency room visits. Colorado is experiencing the highest number of drug overdoses in its history. Legalization is a failed experiment.

 

Sincerely, Dr. Kevin Sabet President, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM)                         

Affiliated Fellow, Yale University

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