Medical Marijuana Use Pro's and Con's

19 06 2009

It is very concerning after speaking with local youth in two states (California and Oregon) regarding marijuana use; there is a nonchalant attitude regarding this drug.  The common answers to my questions, “don’t you think marijuana will harm you in any way if you continue to use this drug?”  Or, if you keep smoking the stuff, aren’t you afraid of addiction and associated health risks?  Much like laying a bet, are you assured you are not gambling with your health or future life endeavors?   The common answers in reply, “Marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol.”  “As a matter of fact, alcohol is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, broken families, job loss etc., where with cannabis this is not the case.”  The other common answer, “I can quit anytime I want to, it’s not addicting, it’s not a gateway drug and I don’t drink; I choose this drug as my recreational drug of choice as I prefer this vice opposed to drinking.”  Others simply state, “For me there are no problems regarding my use of this drug, therefore, no harm.”  Our youth and many adults don’t appear to regard cannabis as a harmful substance as it like many of our controlled drugs are derived from mother earth, mostly to be tainted by man-made processing chemical manipulation and sold as approved prescription drugs, or recreational drugs (tobacco, spirits, wine and beer).

In other words, “on the street,” cannabis untouched by man appears to be a safer alternative for medicinal purposes (chronic pain alleviation) and recreational use (opposed to alcohol), even though most seem to understand there’s an inherent risk toward addiction (but don’t want to admit it outright) and health risks (e.g., cannabis smoke carcinogens).   My sampling of these queries is rather small, around 50 discussions on this topic where 80-90% concedes (teenagers and adults), cannabis is probably the least harmful of the illegal drugs that should be fully legalized.  And almost all adults within this sampling seem to acknowledge the medicinal properties and benefits for chronic pain sufferers.  I can see the medicinal benefits through the scientific studies, however “all” drugs must have some form of state and federal regulation or greater health and/or addiction problems “will” significantly impact our youth as is with our legal drugs.  Our youth should be of great concern with regard to cannabis legalization.  Any drug including cannabis can have a negative impact on growing minds and bodies especially if one should become addicted during the developmental stage of their lives.  This fact alone can destroy a life before it begins.

I felt it was very important to add two addiction articles to the MAE Health repository since I wrote two previous articles on “Medical Marijuana Use, Part 1 (pain benefits) and 2 (scientific support data) for chronic pain sufferers.”  As you read the two articles, there is a very good case to continue research and development while easing up on state and federal laws for chronic pain sufferer’s use of cannabis.  There is some very good science based around severed or damaged nerve endings where only the THC receivers at the nerve endings provide pain relief through cannabis use.  Science also shows these damaged nerve endings do not respond to the typical opiate prescription; hence pain alleviation through the pharmaceutical prescription gold standard has little to no effect in many chronic pain controlled studies.

Now you are figuring out possibly where I’m going with this.  We must be very vigilant with our children while our states continue to relax marijuana use laws.  I’m in favor of legal marijuana use by chronic pain sufferers.  I’m also very aware and concerned about our children’s access to marijuana should it be fully legalized.  There is a greater probability that distribution abuse and use will occur because of easy access to chronic pain patient’s medicinal prescriptions, or full legalization as an adult recreation drug.  We must not and cannot depend on our government agencies to protect our children from abusing any drug.  It is our responsibility as parents to educate our children, knowing the differences between right and wrong with an understanding of the possibility of addiction and consequences of drug use regardless of whether our society and government deem the substance legal, or illegal.

Control and regulation is very important when dealing with any drug as all forms of mind altering substances have the potential for abuse, health risk, societal harm and addiction.   If there is no, or limited state-federal regulation, control, such as, quasi-legal medical marijuana (read previous MAE achieved Medical Marijuana articles “Pain Benefits,” then our government supports a quasi-illegal black market operations by turning a blind eye to states rights and the science backing cannabis pain alleviation.

In other words, if science supports the pain alleviation benefits of any drug including medical marijuana then our federal agencies should recognized the benefits and legalize the drug.  Our federal government should fully recognize states rights for pain patients as opposed to potential imprisonment for those that fall outside of federal guidelines.  Until this is done, like alcohol which we know has the same access and abuse potential by our children… Without federal recognition of cannabis as a controlled substance for medicinal use, substance abuse of the drug will not be monitored and addiction, carcinogenic health risks, with associated mental health probabilities will not be addressed correctly, or adequately.  Instead many cannabis users will possibly be subjected and directed through the penal system for rehabilitation if convicted; which we all know is not the best treatment and rehabilitation course for any drug addict.

Why, because our penal system incarcerates and holds prisoners for breaking the law which is big business unto itself… Incarceration appears to incorporate treatment and rehabilitation for addicts inside, but how successful are these programs really?  And is treatment and rehabilitation this industries main focus?  It sounds like a business that is dependent on law breaking convicts more so than a rehabilitation center for drug addicts.  So, I ask again is this the best course of action to rehabilitate an addict?

I really don’t know since I’ve never been incarcerated, or exposed to these rehabilitation programs.  However, I believe any government run programs are inferior to a third party source.  Really, what am I to think?  Our government has proved time and time again it only knows how to spend money with inefficient government service programs.  It would appear our government is more interested in taxing the American people for unnecessary or inefficient services to grow government.  If the financial rewards and power out weight any human benefits then “We the People,” will come second to power and corruption.  It’s all about power, control and a human trait that cannot be tamed, ‘greed!”

With any drug, “ANY Drug,” there is always the potential for substance abuse.  Cannabis will eventually be fully legalized on a national level, first as is occurring through medical marijuana permits.  The major marijuana composition THC is already legally sold (Marinol) & prescribed by our medical providers.  However, most consumers don’t know this information.

Marinol is listed and classified by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), as a class III legal prescription.  So instead of smoking the cannabis which is the illegal part, you are legally able to ingest the THC oil prescribed by most HMO’s for pain management.  Maybe our government within its infinite wisdom determined it would be easier to control marijuana distribution to our children in this format.  In fact, since Marinol must be refrigerated, it seems to me, it would be easier for our children to get their hands on the tiny capsules, conceal and consume.  If the government was truly concerned about a chronic pain patient wellbeing they would fully legalize cannabis and provide the choice to ingest, or inhale their script.

Part 2, “Marijuana Addiction, Lay Your Bet!” is continued and will be published within July09 issue.  I will post information regarding legal marinol and government greed that will knock your socks off!  You’ll not want to miss the continuation of this article!  Really, is this multi-billion dollar industry concerned about our children’s potential addiction, or is it really about government greed, power and control?

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2009 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @:, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.



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