For FDA approval, a drug must go through a formal testing process to be considered a medicine. With various levels of testing, both on animals and on humans, it takes more than just application for a drug to be considered safe for human use.
Marijuana is not an FDA approved medicine for any ailment.
1. THC is an Approved Medicine, but Marijuana Is Not
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the active ingredient in marijuana. This is the component of marijuana that treats the nausea and vomiting that is usually caused by cancer medications, and that treats the lack of appetite in AIDS patients by increasing the desire to eat. Doctors are not prescribing a bag of marijuana to any patient; instead THC can be used in certain doses to help someone suffering from a chronic illness and the pain, and other side effects, that no other medication seems to be able to accurately treat.
2. Marijuana is Not Addictive
Although medical marijuana is not addictive in the traditional sense of the word, there can be a psychological form of addiction that develops to any drug, including one used as medicine.
3. If Medical Marijuana is Legal, More People Will Use It
People who want to smoke marijuana are going to smoke it. Providing the drug to patients suffering from cancer, HIV, AIDS, or Multiple Sclerosis does not also increase the amount available to people seeking the use of the drug for non-medical purposes. Recreational use of marijuana has not been shown to increase with the legalization of marijuana as a medicine.
4. People Prescribed Medical Marijuana Run the Same Risks as Those Who Smoke Illegally
Marijuana as a medicine is not only provided in smokable forms. Most medical professionals who prescribe medical marijuana actually prefer patients to eat marijuana. Most medical marijuana dispensaries sell edibles that allows users a route of administration that does not risk lung, throat, mouth, or other damage that results from smoking marijuana.
5. Young People are Lying to Gain Medical Marijuana Prescriptions
While this may be happening, the majority of young people who are prescribed marijuana as a medicine are actually war veterans who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. If you are seeing young people exiting a dispensary, this is most likely the reason.
Who Is Responsible?
With that said, a major part of the responsibility for unnecessary medical marijuana prescriptions being doled out falls on doctors. Anxiety can be a reason for a prescription, which can present less side effects than a pharmaceutically manufactured prescription pill, and with a lower possibility of addiction, but physicians need to be diligent in the assessment of the need for marijuana as a medicine.
The possibility of physical and psychological dependence on a drug is enough to recommend other methods of healing for a patient who is not being treated for cancer, HIV or AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, or PTSD. Marijuana as a medicine may be helpful for many people, but it is not to be misunderstood. Consulting a physician for a thorough assessment is vital when even considering using marijuana as a medicine.
Jared Friedman has a passion for helping people in recovery from his work at Sovereign Health group, learn more about his work in recovery by reading his blog posts.