Supported Research

Fiction:  The government makes it hard to do “medical” marijuana research

“Medical” marijuana advocates claim that federal authorities are blocking all efforts to study “medical” marijuana benefits

Fact:  The government does not impede legitimate research

The government is not blocking research on cannabinoids. There are already two FDA approved medications based on cannabinoids and more are on the way. As a result of such research, a synthetic THC drug, Marinol, has been on the market since 1985. The FDA determined that Marinol is safe and effective for use as a treatment for the side effects associated with cancer chemotherapy, and for treatment of weight loss in patients with AIDS. Marinol does not create the harmful health effects associated with smoked marijuana.  Cesamet, another synthetic THC drug, is used to treat severe nausea and vomiting that is causd by cancer chemotherapy.

Oncologist Support

Fiction:  Oncologists support “medical” marijuana based on the Doblin/Kleiman study

“Medical” marijuana advocates claim that in result of the Doblin/Kleiman study that oncologists favor “medical” marijuana.

Fact:  The Doblin/Kleiman study was flawed and smoked marijuana as medicine has been rejected by the American Medical Association and the American Cancer Society.

The “medical” marijuana campaign gained momentum when a student project initiated by Rick Doblin, an individual closely associated with the drug culture and pro-drug movement, and Mark Klieman, who has called for the legalization of marijuana, published their interpretations of a questionnaire they had sent to oncologists. Doblin and Klieman are not physicians.

By manipulation of the statistics, they contended that 48% of the respondents would prescribe marijuana if legal and 54% felt it should be available by prescription. They failed to relate that the respondents only accounted for 9% of practicing oncologists. Only 6% of those surveyed felt that marijuana was effective in 50% of more of patients. Only 18% of the surveyed group believed marijuana to be safe and efficacious. Only 5% of those surveyed favored making marijuana available by prescription. Furthermore, this survey was conducted before the release of the extremely effective medication ondansetron (Zofran™) which can be used instead of marijuana.

Unfortunately, the results of this unscientific study incorrectly gave the impression that oncologists want smoked marijuana available as medicine. This study dealt with none of the other potentially beneficial medications.

They did not ask if the oncologists had systematically examined their patients for negative effects of marijuana use. Neither did they ask if the oncologists were familiar with the myriad of health consequences of marijuana use. Furthermore, they did not ask oncologists if their attitudes about marijuana were affected by their own current or past marijuana use. They might just as well have asked about other folk potions such as Hoxy tonic, Laetrile or tea leaves.

Medical applications of Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Marijuana by Eric A. Voth and Richard H. Schwartz, provides more insight in this subject. .

Legalization advocates would have the public and policy makers incorrectly believe that crude marijuana is the only treatment alternative for masses of cancer sufferers who are going untreated for the nausea associated with chemotherapy, and for all those who suffer from glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, and other ailments.  Numerous effective medications are, however, currently available for conditions such as nausea.

In fact, the IOM report found that neither smoked marijuana nor cannabinoids (defined as a group of terpenophenolic coumpounds present in cannabis and which occur naurally in the nervous and immune system of animals) are as effective as current medicines that stop nausea and vomiting in cancer chemotherapy patients.  However, the scientists speculated that cannabinoids (which is different than crude marijuana) might be effective in those few patients who respond poorly to current antiemetic (anti-nausea) drugs or more effective in combination with current antiemetics.