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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."


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08 2018, @04:59PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08 2018, @04:59PM (#663990)

    I think the more likely reason is that it's still illegal to prescribe marijuana under federal law. Then once the patient does get a prescription, there can be issues with getting it filled.

    Also keep in mind that prescribing pain medication has become a massive pain and is getting more and more complicated over time as the feds try to crack down on over-prescription and abuse. Here in WA state, there were 112m doses prescribed a day. That's enough for every man, woman and child in the state to take 16 days worth every day. And it's especially scary since that's even with medicinal marijuana being legal under state law.

    AFAIK, the research on medical marijuana is pretty solid, especially for pain management.