medical marijuana

Dr. Marc Siegel: Pot and your health – Here’s what a physician wants you to know about marijuana

Alex Berenson’s new book, “Tell Your Children; the truth about Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence,” is coming out at the right time, as more and more states are legalizing marijuana. Currently marijuana recreational use is legal in ten states (Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado, Alaska, Michigan, Vermont, Mass, Maine, and Wash D.C.) Medical marijuana is now legal here and in an additional 23 states. There is more public support for marijuana law reform than ever before. The latest polls show that more than 50 percent of people favor marijuana legalization while at the same time the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) believes marijuana should be decriminalized and regulated like alcohol and tobacco. Berenson himself is not in favor of recreational use, in part because of links to mental illness and violence that he explores in the book, though he is in favor of decriminalization. As a physician, I want marijuana users and addicts to be treated as patients – and not criminals – while at the same time I am very aware that regular marijuana use carries significant health risks. I believe we should treat habitual users aggressively and warn them of the associated risks. My job is to let you know that there is no free lunch medically with marijuana or any drug. Even if a state or a society decides that it is wise economically and politically to make marijuana legal, at the same time we must be prepared for the health consequences even more than the legal ones. It’s clear to me that there is enough scientific evidence out there for me to discourage regular marijuana use for most people. Legal marijuana (both medical and recreational) is turning into a multibillion-dollar industry. Sales were expected to hit $10 billion nationwide in 2017 and grow with the legalization of marijuana in California at the start of this year. In a report issued before Sessions’ announcement of a change in federal policy – the effect of which is not yet determined – BDS Analytics forecast that marijuana sales in California alone could total $3.7 billion in 2018 and $5.1 billion in 2019. In addition, states stand to collect billions of dollars in tax revenue from legalized marijuana sales, and much governmental money will be saved by not prosecuting sales and use of the drug. Colorado has already collected over $500 million from taxing legal marijuana. But what about the associated medical risks from increasing usage? This is a critical question we must not ignore. My first concern is traffic accidents, since marijuana is known to impair judgement. Statistics from Colorado since recreational marijuana was legalized show a doubling of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the substance in marijuana that gets users high – in the blood of those involved in fatal car accidents. This is concerning. And though alcohol impairs a driver much more, THC stays in the bloodstream longer. If the two are combined, as they sometimes are, the risk is magnified. A recent study from the Columbia University School of Public Health found that while alcohol increased the risk of causing a fatal car crash five times, testing positive for pot increased it by 62 percent. Those drivers who had both pot and alcohol in their blood at the time of a fatal crash were six times more likely to have caused the accident. Another area of concern is pregnancy. Many pregnant women suffer from morning sickness. But the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends against using marijuana while pregnant – no matter what. And the Centers for Disease Control warns that “marijuana use during pregnancy can be harmful to your baby’s health.” Why? The CDC points to research showing low birth weight in infants, along with developmental and attention problems in children born to mothers who smoke pot regularly during pregnancy. Unfortunately, pot smoking among pregnant women is on the rise and it is bound to rise even more. A study released from Kaiser Permanente in California in 2018 and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that 7 percent of pregnant women surveyed smoked pot, including almost 20 percent of those below the age of 24. The number of pregnant women using marijuana will only increase now that recreational marijuana is legal in California. Berenson focuses on mental health in his book and in fact, when it comes to adolescents and adults, long-term marijuana use has been associated with decreased school and job performance, memory loss, and psychiatric disorders including anxiety and depression. With the increase in edible marijuana comes a dramatic increase in Emergency Room visits from overuse, especially among adolescents, who may be getting more THC than they realize. Symptoms include acute anxiety, rapid heart rate and paranoia.

Get the picture?  Thanks to Dr. Marc Siegel, M.D. for this sobering, fact-based, report.  Dr. Siegel is a professor of medicine and medical director of Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Medical Center.   For more, click on the text above.

Marijuana legalization outperforms Senate winners in Michigan, Missouri

Measures legalizing marijuana in Michigan and Missouri garnered more votes during Tuesday’s midterms than Senate candidates elected in either state. Michigan voted to legalize recreational marijuana by casting over 2.34 million ballots Tuesday in favor of a measure, Proposal 1, that will allow adults to possess, buy and grow limited amounts of the plant for personal use, as well as pave the way for the state to implement a system for regulating and taxing retail sales. The measure, which makes Michigan the tenth state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana, received more votes than the Democratic winners of the state’s Senate race, incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow, and the state’s attorney general race, Dana Nessel, as first reported Thursday by Marijuana Moment, a cannabis news site. Ms. Stabenow and Ms. Nessel received roughly 2.2 million and 2 million votes, respectively. A measure legalizing medical marijuana in Missouri, meanwhile, Amendment 2, was passed by a margin of 65.5 to 34.5 upon approved by over 1.5 million votes. Similarly the measure outperformed both the winner of the state’s Senate race, Republican candidate Josh Hawley, and Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill. They received over 1.2 million and 1.1 million votes, respectively. Utah voted to legalize medical marijuana as well Tuesday, but the measure, Proposition 2, received roughly 70,000 votes less than the winner of the state’s Senate race, Republican candidate Mitt Romney, Marijuana Moment noted. A fourth state to consider marijuana legalization Tuesday, North Dakota, ultimately rejected the effort by a margin of roughly 60-40. Marijuana is illegal under federal law, though 33 states and D.C. have passed legislation permitting the plant for either medicinal or recreational purposes as of Tuesday’s elections. In the nation’s capital, meanwhile, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Wednesday that the District will mount efforts to legalize recreational marijuana sales starting early next year. Both medical and recreational marijuana have been legal in D.C. for years, but previous efforts to establish a system for licensed and regulated sales have been halted by the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives. Democrats are poised to take control of the House as a result of Tuesday’s races, however, giving D.C. its best odds ever of joining the seven states that have previously passed laws permitting retail sales: Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state.

Medical marijuana bill would let veterans obtain weed with VA’s approval

Democrats have proposed legislation that would let the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recommend marijuana to patients receiving treatment in states that have legalized the plant for medicinal purposes, eliminating obstacles caused by its status as a federally controlled substance. Introduced by Sens. Bill Nelson of Florida and Brian Schatz of Hawaii, the bill would allow “veterans to use, possess or transport medical marijuana and to discuss the use of medical marijuana with a physician of the Department of Veterans Affairs as authorized by State law,” according to a copy of its language released Wednesday. “Federal law prohibits VA doctors from prescribing or recommending medical marijuana to veterans,” Mr. Nelson said in a statement. “This legislation will allow veterans in Florida and elsewhere the same access to legitimately prescribed medication, just as any other patient in those 31 states would have.” While most states in the country have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes or recreational purposes, the plant is considered a Schedule 1 substance under federal law, effectively prohibiting VA physicians from even discussing its potential health benefits with veterans seeking treatment through the government. In addition to letting VA physicians recommend medical marijuana to veterans, the proposed Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act would direct the VA to research its impact and any potentially reduction of opioid abuse among veterans. Opioids account for about 63 percent of all drug deaths in the U.S., and previous research found that veterans are twice as likely to die from an accident opioid overdose than non-veterans, according to the bill’s sponsors. Marijuana proponents have argued that its benefits offer a non-lethal alternative to opioids, and states that have legalized the plant for medical purposes have subsequently experienced a drop in annual fatal opioid overdoses by nearly 25 percent, lawmakers said in support of the bill. “VA has not taken a position on the bill,” VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour said…

This could be a potentially bad bill..  Trading one drug (opiod) for another (pot) is could be potentially very dangerous..  We’ll keep an eye on this one..

Marijuana DOES cause schizophrenia and triggers heart attacks, experts say in landmark study that slams most of the drug’s medical benefits as ‘unproven’

Marijuana does raise the risk of getting schizophrenia and triggers heart attacks, according to the most significant study on the drug’s effects to date. A federal advisory panel admitted cannabis can almost certainly ease chronic pain, and might help some people sleep. But it dismisses most of the drug’s other supposedly ‘medical benefits’ as unproven. Crucially, the researchers concluded there is not enough research to say whether marijuana effectively treats epilepsy – one of the most widely-recognized reasons for cannabis prescriptions. The report also casts doubt on using cannabis to treat cancers, irritable bowel syndrome, or certain symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, or helping people beat addictions. The experts called for a national effort to learn more about marijuana and its chemical cousins, including similarly acting compounds called cannabinoids. In fact, the current lack of scientific information ‘poses a public health risk,’ said the report, released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Indeed..  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.

Veterans push to test marijuana as a life-saving treatment for crippling PTSD

Veterans push to test marijuana as a life-saving treatment for crippling PTSD

This is already being done.  I know a guy who has served over a dozen tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan with Army SF who got a medical mj prescription from the VA.  He tells me its helping him a lot.