Skip to main content

Is Medical Marijuana Safe and Effective? We Still Don't Know.

I’ve never subscribed to the caveat to scrub politics and religion from my discourse.  Indeed, you will find these two subjects riddled throughout this blog.  I think we need more dialogue, not less.  I do agree, however, that dialoguing is a skill.  But it’s not brain surgery.  Any of us can become adept practitioners of this seemingly lost art, if we so desire.  It requires listening with an open mind.  It implies that your view on an issue might be modified in the face of a persuasive argument.  And your responses should respond to what has just been said to you indicating that the other side has been heard.

So, now let’s talk some politics.  First, assess your political acumen by answering the following quiz question.

Which of the following issues should not be handled by elected officials?

(a) Tax policy

(b) Zoning ordinances

(c) Which chemotherapy regimen should be permitted for breast cancer patients

(d) Parks and Recreation issues

I realize that this is an extremely difficult question and many readers are probably struggling over it.  Perhaps, you might confer you with your own city council representative for some assistance. 

Well, here in Ohio and elsewhere, elected legislatures are issuing medical directives, as crazy as this sounds.  Would it make sense for elected officials to offer a bill on how best to treat diabetes, heart disease or depression?  (Hint:  No it wouldn’t). 

Politicians are not medical professionals and are wholly unqualified to offer medical advice.

Their ‘medical’ opinions would surely be tainted by political considerations.  If a pharmaceutical company, for example, was in a politician’s district, might this shape the politician’s bill?  (Hint:  It would.)

We already have a group of folks who are trained to render medical advice. Have you heard of the medical profession?

In Ohio, medical marijuana has been legal these past few years.  The state legislature – not doctors or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – have decided which medical illnesses are marijuana eligible. Periodically, the list of illnesses lengthens.   I hope that my points earlier in this post have convinced you of the insanity of this absurd process.  Not surprisingly, the quality of medical evidence supporting marijuana’s efficacy for nearly all of the illnesses on the list is very low.  Trust me, if the FDA’s standards of safety and efficacy were applied, the list might be reduced to zero items. (FDA assessment can’t happen now as marijuana is a Schedule 1 controlled drug and is an illegal substance.)

Medical cannabis is not a new remedy.  Medicine bottle from 1937. 

Here's the latest ‘medical news’ from our Ohio politicians.  A bill has passed the Ohio Senate that would permit marijuana use to any individual who can “reasonably be expected to benefit” from its use.  Can we agree that this designation is rather broad and could be applied to any and all medical conditions on the planet?  Let’s see if the Ohio House goes along with this scam.

I'm not against medical marijuana.  But I do think it should be vetted in the same way that all other drugs are.

Remind me, is it still illegal to practice medicine without a license?



Popular posts from this blog

Why Most Doctors Choose Employment

Increasingly, physicians today are employed and most of them willingly so.  The advantages of this employment model, which I will highlight below, appeal to the current and emerging generations of physicians and medical professionals.  In addition, the alternatives to direct employment are scarce, although they do exist.  Private practice gastroenterology practices in Cleveland, for example, are increasingly rare sightings.  Another practice model is gaining ground rapidly on the medical landscape.   Private equity (PE) firms have   been purchasing medical practices who are in need of capital and management oversight.   PE can provide services efficiently as they may be serving multiple practices and have economies of scale.   While these physicians technically have authority over all medical decisions, the PE partners can exert behavioral influences on physicians which can be ethically problematic. For example, if the PE folks reduce non-medical overhead, this may very directly affe

Why This Doctor Gave Up Telemedicine

During the pandemic, I engaged in telemedicine with my patients out of necessity.  This platform was already destined to become part of the medical landscape even prior to the pandemic.  COVID-19 accelerated the process.  The appeal is obvious.  Patients can have medical visits from their own homes without driving to the office, parking, checking in, finding their way to the office, biding time in the waiting room and then driving out afterwards.  And patients could consult physicians from far distances, even across state lines.  Most of the time invested in traditional office visits occurs before and after the actual visits.  So much time wasted! Indeed, telemedicine has answered the prayers of time management enthusiasts. At first, I was also intoxicated treating patients via cyberspace, or telemedically, if I may invent a term.   I could comfortably sink into my own couch in sweatpants as I guided patients through the heartbreak of hemorrhoids and the distress of diarrhea.   Clear

Do Doctors Talk to Each Other?

 I will share with readers a recent occurrence between me and another doctor that was both rare and refreshing.  I was serving as the gastrointestinal consultant on one of the doctor’s patients.  I performed a scope examination of the stomach and obtained some routine biopsy specimens.  The pathology results were abnormal, but benign.  No urgent action was needed, but a full airing of the significance of the results would require a conversation between me and the patient in an office visit.  I notified the patient that there was no medical threat at all and we would unpack it all during his next visit. The referring physician wondered about this delay, which perhaps is a different style from other gastroenterologists (GI’s) who he works with.   (My guess is that other GI’s may opt to handle the issue with the patient on the phone or via the portal. I think, however, that there’s too much complexity to fully address this issue in this manner.) So, here’s what the referring doctor did.