The stark difference in how doctors and the government view marijuana
The Washington Post - By. Christopher Ingraham - 8/29/16
Nathaniel P. Morris is a resident physician at Stanford Hospital specializing in mental health. He recently penned a strongly worded op-ed for ScientificAmerican.com on the differences between how some in the medical community view marijuana and how the federal government regulates it.
"The federal government's scheduling of marijuana bears little relationship to actual patient care," he wrote in the essay published last week. "The notion that marijuana is more dangerous or prone to abuse than alcohol (not scheduled), cocaine (Schedule II), methamphetamine (Schedule II), or prescription opioids (Schedules II, III, and IV) doesn't reflect what we see in clinical medicine."
Here's Morris' money quote:
For most health care providers, marijuana is an afterthought.
We don't see cannabis overdoses. We don't order scans for cannabis-related brain abscesses. We don't treat cannabis-induced heart attacks. In medicine, marijuana use is often seen on par with tobacco or caffeine consumption — something we counsel patients about stopping or limiting, but nothing urgent to treat or immediately life-threatening.
He contrasts that with the terrible effects of alcohol he sees in the emergency room every day, like car crash victims and drunk patients choking on their own vomit. Morris points out that excessive drinking causes 88,000 deaths per year, according to the CDC.
The medical and research communities have known for some time that marijuana is one of the more benign substances you can put in your body relative to other illicit drugs. A recent longitudinal study found that chronic, long-term marijuana use is about as bad for your physical health as not flossing. Compared to alcohol, it'svirtually impossible to overdose on marijuana alone. On a per-user basis, marijuana sends fewer people to the emergency room than alcohol or other drugs.
The scientific consensus was best captured in a 2010 study in the Lancet, which polled several dozen researchers working in addiction and drug policy. The researchers rated commonly used recreational drugs according to the harm they pose to individuals who use them, as well as the harm they pose to society as a whole. Here's what their results looked like:
Doctors face medical marijuana knowledge gap
CNN - Shefali Luthra - 08/23/2016
Medical marijuana has been legal in Maine for almost 20 years. But Farmington physician Jean Antonucci says she continues to feel unprepared when counseling sick patients about whether the drug could benefit them.
A prominent medical-marijuana doctor whose license was suspended earlier this year has had the suspension lifted, at least for now.
Paul Bregman is back to having an active, unrestricted license after an inquiry panel of the Colorado Medical Board on Monday reversed its earlier action, according to a state filing. In its order undoing the suspension, the panel wrote that Bregman "complied with several terms and conditions" to get his license back. The order does not specify what those requirements were. Bregman's attorney, Sheila Meer, declined to provide details.
Chris Lines, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, wrote in an e-mail that the case remains open and a final disposition has yet to be reached.
Bregman's license was suspended in February, with the inquiry panel writing that he had an unspecified condition that harmed his ability to serve patients.
Bregman is one of the state's most prominent medical-marijuana doctors. He also is a member of a state Revenue Department advisory panel that helps craft regulations for the medical-marijuana industry. John Ingold, The Denver Post