cannabisnews.com: On Medical Marijuana, Maryland Should Go Slow
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On Medical Marijuana, Maryland Should Go Slow
Posted by CN Staff on January 03, 2012 at 05:39:47 PT
Editorial 
Source: Baltimore Sun
Maryland -- With any new medical treatment, the primary consideration for doctors is the evidence  how effective is it, what are the side effects, what are the indications, what is the appropriate dose, and so on. That should go for lawmakers and regulators, too, even when it comes to the emotionally charged issue of medical marijuana. There is a mountain of anecdotal evidence suggesting cannabis is useful in treating pain, nausea and other symptoms of chronic disease, but there is precious little in the way of rigorous scientific study. That's why Maryland lawmakers should opt for a path toward legalizing medical marijuana that puts academic research ahead of wide availability.
A task force designated to study the issue split more or less evenly between a research-oriented approach limited to academic medical centers and one that would immediately have given doctors wide latitude to prescribe the drug. The legislature doesn't have to adopt either of them, but given the passage of a medical marijuana bill in the state Senate last year, it's a good bet that the General Assembly will give serious consideration to one or the other. State Health Secretary Dr. Joshua Sharfstein is backing the go-slow proposal, and the science  or the lack thereof  is on his side.Medical marijuana has long been caught in a Catch-22 of federal regulations. A drug can't be approved for use without evidence of its effectiveness and risks, but marijuana's status as a Schedule I controlled substance meant it could not be studied. That's absurd; much more dangerous drugs, including cocaine and opiates, are recognized for medical use, and doctors can consult a wealth of evidence about when they are appropriate. But the best the medical establishment can say about marijuana  despite widespread therapeutic use in more than a dozen states  is that it appears to hold promise for some conditions. How much promise, and under what circumstances, is not conclusively known, not in the way we would expect of any other drug put on the market. We do not know what patients would be good candidates for therapeutic use of marijuana, what strains of the plant make for the most effective treatments, what doses are necessary, or whether, in some cases, the risks  paranoia, for example  outweigh the benefits.Dr. Sharfstein's proposal more or less mirrors the advice of the Institutes of Medicine. He is advocating for academic medical centers (institutions like Johns Hopkins Hospital or the University of Maryland) to apply to the state for permission to try out treatment protocols on particular classes of patients  say, those in hospice or suffering from muscle spasms. The institutions would report their findings, and the state would gradually amass a body of knowledge about what works and what doesn't. At that point, it would be appropriate for the state to consider expanding the availability of medical marijuana and giving more doctors latitude in prescribing it, but not before.Advocates, including a pair of state senators who have been treated for cancer and are strong backers of medical marijuana, are unlikely to be happy with this approach. Sen. David Brinkley, a Frederick County Republican who previously sponsored legislation much like the more liberal of the task force's two proposals, said his concern is to ensure that patients who are using the drug or could benefit from it can access it safely and legally. State law now allows those arrested on marijuana possession charges to be found not guilty by reason of medical necessity under certain circumstances. But they are still forced to procure the drug on the black market.It's true that the status quo is flawed, but jumping to the conclusion that Maryland should allow wide availability puts the cart before the horse.Moreover, a research approach doesn't necessarily mean that the number of patients who have access to medical marijuana would be unduly limited. More than one study could and likely would be conducted at a time, and patients wouldn't necessarily have to travel to the urban centers where the state's research hospitals are located to take part. But even if they did, that would make marijuana no different from any other experimental treatment.Legalizing medical marijuana would be complicated no matter what approach Maryland takes. The state would have to figure out a way to regulate the growing of marijuana and to ensure its security from farm to user, as well as to make sure patients are legitimately using the drug to treat themselves and not selling it or giving it to others  a problem with all controlled substances. And the fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law presents additional complications for all those who would be involved under either scenario. But those difficulties would unquestionably be greater under a more expansive program. Better to start small, gather evidence and leave open the possibility for more widespread use if and when medical marijuana is proven effective.Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)Published: January 3, 2012Copyright: 2012 The Baltimore SunContact: letters baltsun.comWebsite: http://www.baltimoresun.com/URL: http://drugsense.org/url/1epicpQOCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/medical.shtml 
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Comment #11 posted by museman on January 04, 2012 at 23:53:30 PT
Oleg
"Especially when you understand that they are all running backwards . . ."Yeah, it could get gnarly!...and these people are allowed to run the world! -Backwards.LEGALIZE FREEDOM 
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #10 posted by Paint with light on January 04, 2012 at 18:48:18 PT
Still another link
If you go to the bottom of the previous link I posted you get this one,http://antiquecannabisbook.com/There is a collectors' market for antique cannabis items.This helps insure the real history of cannabis will be preserved.Legal like the medicine it is.
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Comment #9 posted by Oleg the Tumor on January 04, 2012 at 12:32:12 PT:
            Museman
Great line that, "trying hard to kiss all butts of the status quo, while running alongside."The more I try to visualize that, the funnier it seems. Especially when you understand that they are all running backwards . . . Its an Election Year. Anything is possible.
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Comment #8 posted by museman on January 04, 2012 at 10:10:43 PT
truth in journalism
"It's true that the status quo is flawed"Coulda stopped there and skipped all the rest. But instead of that little admittance being the core of an objective sampling of journalistic reporting, it's flowing right with the asinine systemic corruption trying hard to kiss all butts of the status quo, while running alongside.LEGALIZE FREEDOM 
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Comment #7 posted by Oleg the Tumor on January 04, 2012 at 05:13:10 PT:
                 Paint with light
Wow! Great link. This will keep me busy for a while.
Thank you.
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Comment #6 posted by Paint with light on January 03, 2012 at 22:33:50 PT
Newer link
After I posted I noticed they have a new link with even more information.http://antiquecannabisbook.com/chap2B/History.htmLegal like alcohol.
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Comment #5 posted by Paint with light on January 03, 2012 at 22:25:37 PT
History
Maybe someone needs to send them this link,http://antiquecannabisbook.com/chap1/History.htm Legal like it once was...at least.
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Comment #4 posted by Vincent on January 03, 2012 at 17:12:17 PT:
Article in Baltimore Sun
So, these "Prohibitionists in Abbey Hoffman clothing", a/k/a the Editorial Board of the Baltimore Sun, want to take a wait-and-see approach, do they? Interesting...what about the people that are suffering right now, hmm? Do they hafta wait for the Sun's research? That could take years!Why don't they admit that they, the editors, just don't like it? Hypocrisy annoys the hell out of me.
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Comment #3 posted by HempWorld on January 03, 2012 at 15:24:07 PT
Ha ha, that's right guys!
When it's mari-ju-ana, slow the f down!You might get high! God forbid!Thanks to the Rockefellers, they rule the world (and the medical establishment).
RockefellerDrugWars.com go figure!
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on January 03, 2012 at 14:46:32 PT
slooowwww doooowwwn!!!!!!
We only have 5000 years of known human use, hundreds of years of known pharmacology and over 2500 medical studies over the last few decades.......regarding this plant which has been called, "among the most benign therapeutic substances known to mankind."
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Comment #1 posted by Oleg the Tumor on January 03, 2012 at 07:53:59 PT:
Hey look what I found, a brand-new medicine!
"With any new medical treatment, the primary consideration for doctors is the evidence  how effective is it, what are the side effects, what are the indications, what is the appropriate dose, and so on."He could add, " and how it can be billed to insurers."This Eureka moment from the Maryland Medical Establishment is slightly untimely. Medical professionals elsewhere have known about cannabis for oh, thousands of years.And they want to talk about evidence? Well, it's a plant. A weed in fact, not anything manufactured by man at all.As the living have but one source, the connection between humans and cannabis is already in place, always has been and always will be.Where is the medical evidence against cannabis in American history before 1900? Were there stoners sapping the economies of colonial Boston, New York and Philadelphia?The historical record does not seem to indicate this.This is a good example of election year hijinks.
John Hopkins is a major player in the world of federally funded research. They would like to keep it that way.The article also says:
"It's true that the status quo is flawed, but jumping to the conclusion that Maryland should allow wide availability puts the cart before the horse."Someone should tell that writer to keep his money in his pockets when he goes to Pimlico  this horse has already lapped the cart a few times. 
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