Is Medical Marijuana Safe

“Medical” marijuana is not safe

“Medical” marijuana is not dispensed in medically controlled environments nor are the “patients” necessarily monitored by physicians after they obtain the recommendation. In many cases the “patients” are not even examined by physicians. 

Marijuana is intoxicating, so it's not surprising that sincere people report relief of their symptoms when they smoke it. They may be feeling better - but they are not actually getting better. They may even be getting worse due to the detrimental effects of marijuana. 

All medications, particularly those containing controlled substances, should become available only after having satisfied the rigorous criteria of the FDA approval process. That process has been carefully constructed over the past century to protect patient health and safety. Patients and physicians have the right to insist that prescription medications have satisfied modern medical standards for quality, safety and efficacy. Such medications must be standardized by composition and dose and administered in an appropriate delivery system with a reproducible dose.

Furthermore, preclinical and clinical studies are necessary to provide physicians with adequate information to guide their prescribing decisions. Long ago, the scientific and medical community determined that mere anecdotal reports of efficacy, such as those that were made for Laetrile, are not sufficient to warrant distribution of a product to seriously ill patients. 

There is no reason why medications derived from the cannabis plant should be exempted from the FDA process. In the near future, we can anticipate that cannabinoid products will undergo clinical trials for the approval and some may reach the market. Responsible physicians will prescribe such products, and the idea of "smoking a medicine" will be rejected as an inappropriate deviation from the process of modern medication development. Proliferation of "medical marijuana" state laws creates an unregulated system that allows untested and potentially contaminated materials to be distributed to vulnerable patients. Such a system benefits marijuana growers and vendors, but endangers the well-being of patients and undermines the integrity of the physician-patient relationship.