Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by mrpg on Sunday April 08 2018, @11:46AM   Printer-friendly
from the king-of-pain dept.

Medical Marijuana's 'Catch-22': Limits On Research Hinders Patient Relief

By the time Ann Marie Owen, 61, turned to marijuana to treat her pain, she was struggling to walk and talk. She was also hallucinating. For four years, her doctor prescribed a wide range of opioids for transverse myelitis, a debilitating disease that caused pain, muscle weakness and paralysis. The drugs not only failed to ease her symptoms, they hooked her.

When her home state of New York legalized marijuana for the treatment of select medical ailments, Owens decided it was time to swap pills for pot. But her doctors refused to help. "Even though medical marijuana is legal, none of my doctors were willing to talk to me about it," she says. "They just kept telling me to take opioids."

Although 29 states have legalized marijuana to treat pain and other ailments, the growing number of Americans like Owen who use marijuana and the doctors who treat them are caught in the middle of a conflict in federal and state laws — a predicament that is only worsened by thin scientific data.

Because the federal government considers marijuana a Schedule 1 drug, research on marijuana or its active ingredients is highly restricted and even discouraged in some cases. Underscoring the federal government's position, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar recently pronounced that there was "no such thing as medical marijuana."

Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Immerman on Sunday April 08 2018, @03:22PM (1 child)

    by Immerman (3985) on Sunday April 08 2018, @03:22PM (#663960)

    Actually there has been research done on long-term cannabis smoking - lots of heavy users out there that were pretty open about it long before legalization. And one of the most surprising findings was that long-term heavy cannabis smoking actually appears to slightly *reduce* your chance of developing lung cancer. Surprising because cannabis smoke actually contains a lot more carcinogens than tobacco smoke. But hemp (cannabis included) is also rich in anti-carcinogens, so that's probably responsible, even if the details aren't yet well understood.

    I would still expect other respiratory problems though - it burns hotter than tobacco, so is more likely to cause immediate cell and cilia damage, and is still depositing tar on your lungs, interfering with their normal operation.

    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +1  
       Interesting=1, Total=1
    Extra 'Interesting' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   3  
  • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Sunday April 08 2018, @07:14PM

    by AthanasiusKircher (5291) on Sunday April 08 2018, @07:14PM (#664033) Journal

    I've looked at several recent studies that have said the data is inconclusive for cancer and other serious damage to lungs. (But lesser respiratory problems are common, including chronic ones.) Cancer studies are notoriously difficult because cancer often takes so long to develop and there are so many possible confounding factors.

    Anyhow, you may well be right in the long run, but I've seen conflicting data (and just searched again and saw the same). Major lung and respiratory health organizations express a level of concern and that more studies need to be done.

    My point is just that many people seem to be focusing on the potential positives of marijuana (and there seem to be some) along with the absurd history of how it was made illegal... But lots of folks ignore the fact that smoking (anything) can have serious negative impacts.