Commentary: Clearing The Smoke on Medical Marijuana, Part I

Medical marijuana is a source of confusion, frustration and ignorance among many of us. On the one hand, we don’t want to see our loved ones suffer from needless pain, yet on the other hand, as professionals in the substance abuse field, we want to see all medications depoliticized and subject to the proper scientific process.

Much to the ire of legalization advocates – who banked on President Obama looking the other way while states voted to make an illegal drug medicine – the feds, working with state officials, have expanded its enforcement actions against commercialized “medical marijuana” operations. These operations market to kids, are tied to criminal organizations and their customers bear little resemblance to the truly sick and dying. There is no doubt that medical marijuana is a controversial and complex issue. I try to break down several of the more complicated issues, once and for all, in this two-part series.

Scheduling

In the wake of recent enforcement, the governors of Washington, Rhode Island and Colorado have filed a petition with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to reschedule marijuana1. Specifically, the petition asks the DEA to reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II of the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The governors contend that such rescheduling will eliminate the conflict between state and federal law and enable states to establish a “regulated and safe system to supply legitimate patients who may need medical cannabis.”

Unfortunately, rescheduling, besides being an ill-advised move for several reasons, would not even solve the governors’ states’ problems. Under the CSA, a substance is scheduled into one of five classes – Schedule I means that it has no medical use, and high potential for abuse. The primary difference between Schedule I and II substances lies in the phrase “currently accepted medical use in the U.S.” This phrase has been interpreted to require that the drug’s chemistry is known and reproducible, that there are adequate studies on safety and efficacy, and that the drug must be accepted by qualified experts and backed up by widely available peer-reviewed science2 (mere anecdotal evidence, state laws or even the policy positions of medical organizations, are not sufficient to satisfy these criteria). But placing marijuana in Schedule II alone, even if it were to pass that rigorous test, is not enough to get the governors out of their conundrum.

The big point is this: Schedule II substances may be prescribed by physicians and dispensed by pharmacists only when incorporated into specific FDA-approved products. This fact is sometimes articulated as follows: “Schedule II substances may be prescribed.” This abbreviated description, however, is dangerously incomplete and, as a result, has caused significant confusion. Such confusion underlies the governors’ current petition.

The FDA approves specific medical products produced by a particular “innovator” (for branded products) or generic manufacturers. For example, oxycodone, an opioid, is in Schedule II. Specific products, such as OxyContin® (an extended release form), are also in Schedule II. Physicians prescribe a specific branded or generic product, in a particular dose and dosage form. Smoked marijuana can’t be prescribed because there is no standardized dose and no specific product.

Imagine for a moment that the “medical marijuana” advocates were instead “medical opium” advocates and that various states passed laws legalizing the cultivation and distribution of opium plant material, i.e., opium latex or poppy straw. Even though opium latex and poppy straw are each in Schedule II, there would still be a conflict between such state laws and federal law. As a well-known drug reform advocacy website states: “If poppies are grown as sources for opiates, there is no question that it violates the CSA.”3 Furthermore, physicians would not be authorized to prescribe, nor pharmacists to dispense, dried opium or poppy straw. In order to be prescribed, a specific product containing opiate active ingredients (APIs) would have to pass muster in the FDA approval process. Therefore, the mere act of placing herbal marijuana in Schedule II would not make it available to patients nor address the conflict between state and federal law.

Other Issues

The governors’ petition asserts that there is a “consensus of medical opinion concerning medical acceptability of cannabis amongst the largest groups of physicians in the United States.” Additionally, a committee of the California Medical Association recently called for the rescheduling of marijuana “so it can be tested and regulated.” In Part II, I will tackle these issues and more.

Kevin A. Sabet, PhD, Policy Consultant and Assistant Professor, University of Florida, College of Medicine, Division of Addiction Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. To read more from Dr. Sabet, visit www.kevinsabet.com or follow him on Twitter @kevinsabet.

1 Ingold, J. (Dec. 29, 2011) “Colorado Asks DEA To Reschedule Marijuana.” Denver Post Accessed on January 20, 2012 at http://www.denverpost.com/news/marijuana/ci_19636149
2 See Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics v. DEA, 15 F.3d 1131 (D.C.Cir. 1994); 57 F.R. 10499, 10506, 10507.
3
http://www.erowid.org/plants/poppy/poppy_law.shtml

51 Responses to Commentary: Clearing The Smoke on Medical Marijuana, Part I

  1. jeff | February 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    While I found lots of good discussion and interesting opinion in this article it was difficult to ignore some of the bias. For instance, the comment in the second paragraph concerning commercialized operations was very broad. I seriously doubt one could say “every” such operation is engaged in this behavior. Once evidence of a particular bias is introduced it does tend to slant successive information and thus becomes more the realm of opinion and less of fact.

  2. perryrants | February 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    medical use of marijuana is ok. my 84 yr old mother was prescribed marinol to help stimulate her appetite. problem is the 24 yr old’s who get MM without regard to actually medical necessity. hang-nails don’t count!

    • Pam | July 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm

      What your Grandmother is prescribed truly is ?Medical Marijuana.” It is a pill that has been through the FDA rigors. It is not the same as the “Medical Marijuana” that is currenlty being proposed. What is being proposed is the smoked form that would come from several different sources and does not have the harmful chemicals removed.

  3. Rick Rosio | February 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    With all due respect to the good Doctor, I have worked with over 1,400 disabled clients in our cannabis clinic who choose to use a less toxic method of pain management, cannabis rather than large doses of narcotics that are so mainstream. Cannabis when used as a medicine is no different than herbal teas. BEFORE anyone can have an honest discussion about cannabis we must fist acknowledge that the current cannabis laws are based upon an old racist law of 1939, designed to suppress the influence of inter-racial contact by black men and white women. Absurd as this sounds just read the congressional testimony of Harry Angslinger and his supporters regarding the evils of marijuana. There is no scientific reason for cannabis to be a schedule 1 drug, and there is certainly no moral reason for continued prohibition.
    There does come a time when those individuals that continue to support prohibition for power and financial means and disregard the majority of the voters for their own personal adgendas should be held accountable for the crimes agains humanity that they promote/.

  4. Tony Graveline | February 14, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I have not seen any scripts that say crush, snort, or smoke. Perhaps it is in the route. When a substance is smoked it produces a high. If THC is so great, its advocates would not care whether it is smoked or in pill form, which already is in pill form. Therefore, changing the schedule does not help the movement gain scientific ground. Smoking is too high risk for adverse affects due to multiple health risks smoking anything has. As a result, becoming addicted or impaired is too great a risk until it can be delivered in safer, measured amounts that reduce the secondary consequences of other health problems or addiction.

    • pfroehlich2004 | February 15, 2012 at 9:12 am

      Actually Tony, marijuana will get you high whether smoked, eaten, or drunk. Have a look at the section of this dispensary menu labelled “edibles” (http://www.igzactly420.com/menu.php.)

      If you can supply evidence of health risks from eating marijuana, feel free to share. However, the claim that marijuana is dangerous because it must be smoked is simply a canard.

      • Tony Graveline | February 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm

        My comment has nothing to do with high or not high, it is about the secondary effects. Of course THC will provide some for of altered stated. However, if the same benefits of using THC can be provided to the body for pain without the significant change of consciousness from smoking or the lung cancer, throat cancer or other harmful effects, I would be more inclined to support the medical marijuana movement.

        • pfroehlich2004 | February 16, 2012 at 4:10 am

          My point is that THC, like any other drug which acts upon the central nervous system, must be introduced into the bloodstream in order to have any effect.

          One of the effects of THC is an altered state of consciousness known colloquially as “being high/stoned”. This effect is present whether the THC has been absorbed by inhalation of smoke from burning marijuana or swallowing a capsule of FDA-approved Dronabinol/Marinol (read up on the side-effects here: http://www.rxlist.com/marinol-drug.htm).

          The idea that the psychoactive effects of THC, or any other CNS-affecting drug, could somehow be eliminated by altering the method of ingestion has no scientific basis.

          • Tony Graveline | February 16, 2012 at 5:11 pm

            Again, it is about the adverse affects of smoking also. It serves a better purpose medically through other routes. Smoking is hazardous to the health. THC impairs any way its delivered as do other medications. My issue on smoking is how many of the legalization folks would take THC in other ways. I have seen people refuse to take THC in other ways. This tell me that it is an addiction problem, now a medication problem, which is why in the end, the medical marijuana movement will have many more challenges ahead.

    • claygooding | February 15, 2012 at 10:27 am

      Tony,,perhaps that is why dispensaries are making edibles with measured amounts of the medicine in them,,perhaps a little more research

    • Everybodhi | October 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      We don’t deny diabetics insulin just because they shoot it up.

  5. Steve Castleman | February 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    What I find frustrating about Dr. Sabet’s article is that he addresses why marijuana shouldn’t be a Schedule II drug but ignores the inappropriateness of listing it in Schedule I.

    As he points out, “Schedule I means that it has no medical use, and high potential for abuse.” Any objective and comprehensive review of the research literature, however, demonstrates that marijuana DOES have medical uses. Among other things, it has been found to be helpful in dealing with chemotherapy-induced nausea, “wasting syndrome” in AIDS patients, glaucoma, and amelioration of certain kinds of pain. Thus, claiming that marijuana has no medical uses is belied by the science.

    Furthermore, unlike substances that are legal, like alcohol and prescription opiates, marijuana isn’t acutely toxic — people don’t fall over dead from marijuana overdoses like they do every day from alcohol and opiates. Yes, marijuana can be abused and addictive, but much less so than alcohol and prescription opiates. Thus, the second prong of Schedule I is questionable compared to other legal subtances.

    I respectfully suggest that Dr. Sabet address the appropriateness of marijuana’s being a Schedule I drug.

    Steve Castleman
    http://www.Addict Science.com

  6. Ned | February 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    The CSA scheduling of cannabis is a fraud. It’s Schedule 1 status is completely and totally political. It is no more addictive or dangerous than caffeine, which is not scheduled at all. The sweeping contention that, “These operations market to kids, are tied to criminal organizations and their customers bear little resemblance to the truly sick and dying.” is a smear meant to delegitimize medical marijuana. That comment alone betrays your extreme prejudice and the reason that the rest of what you say cannot and should not be trusted. On the one hand you call the plant a “drug” while at the same time declaring it too unknown for FDA regulation. How can it be both? The synthetic reproduction of THC known as Marinol is already a Schedule III substance. The petition for changing marijuana to Schedule II was a strange error on the part of the Governors requesting rescheduling. I’m sure however that you are happy to take that mistake and use it against them. All the fine parsing going here in this article isn’t meant to clear the air so much as continue to obscure it in service of perpetuating 80 years of failed prohibition. The plant was utilized as a basis for medications for THOUSANDS of years of human history before a rigid, poorly educated, self righteous moral absolutist, who also seems to have been a racist too, Harry Anslinger, pushed to enact the prohibition.

    The CSA has been the justification for decades of terrible oppression and needless human suffering far beyond what the improper use of the substances alone would cause. To declare we must continue to worship the CSA as if it were some kind omniscient document from God, when it isn’t at all and really needs to be repealed and reformed is frustrating to no end for those of us not duped by the failed ideas that created it.

    • Erich | June 11, 2013 at 11:26 am

      Well said Ned. One of the most thought out remarks in the comment section. It is also more thought out and factual than the article.

  7. Grainne Kenny | February 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    As an non smoker if my doctor suggested I smoke cannabis, and inhale it deeply to redress pain, nausea or lack of appetite I’d call the men in the white coats immediately. Have you ever heard a medical expert suggest smoking tobacco to deal with stress or obesity? The lungs were not designed to accept smoke. Especially smoke that burns at a higher temperature than tobacco smoke. Dr Sabet does know what he is talking about…. biased or not.

    • jeff | February 15, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      Hi Grainne Kenny. Interesting argument. However, based on your argument no person should accept any substance into their body that is foreign to their body? Would that include Chemotherapy? pain medications? Anti-virals? Anti_biotics? I could go on and on but I think you see my point. The delivery method and the substance itself is inherently foreign in nature.

  8. CEB | February 14, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Pharmacist here. I have seen this argument many times. It is true that a plant can’t be FDA approved. However, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have medical value. Furthermore, there are many drugs that were approved between 1938 and 1962 that are still on the market and not FDA approved. You can still be prescribed drugs and get them at the pharmacy. It is a myth that all drugs the doctor prescribes are, in fact, FDA approved medications. Based on the current standards both alcohol and tobacco should be schedule 1. And, given the extent of organ toxicity caused by those compounds, it deserves emergency action. Yet, we are content to tolerate them. Marijuana, given its wide therapeutic index and safety record, should be taken off the scheduling system like alcohol and tobacco is today.

  9. Bob Herried | February 14, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Interesting start to a highly controversial topic. However,I don’t think anything has been cleared up–perhaps a better understanding of a Schedule II drug.
    I equate Medical Marijuana to the phrase “I’m almost pregnant” Either you are or you’re not. In some circumstance it’s legal in others it is not legal. It’s too bad that common sense doesn’t rear its head and fix this problem–we are so bound up in semantics and wording that the truth may be out there but it is hidden in a cloud of smoke.
    According to what I’ve read, it looks like Sativex may hit the U.S market within a year–then what happens to medical marijuana?

  10. Mike J | February 15, 2012 at 4:15 am

    Dr. Sabet fails to mention that cannabis is one of the safest therapeutic substances available. Safer than aspirin. Cannabis does not have to be turned into a pill to be effective, in fact the opposite is true. Cannabis in its natural form can be used to treat numerous ailments. And NO, you don’t have to smoke it. Dr. Sabet isn’t fooling anyone in the know, just assuring himself a check from his prohibition loving sponsors. Judging by the last few sentences of part 1, part 2 is going to be a lot tougher to write, because cannabis is medicine.

  11. pfroehlich2004 | February 15, 2012 at 8:59 am

    So just to recap, the federal government has decreed that marijuana is not medicine, but rather a dangerous drug and anyone who cultivates it will be subject to arrest, imprisonment, and sundry other punishments.

    However, the compounds contained within the marijuana plant are perfectly ok as medicine, provided that they are produced and marketed by a large pharmaceutical company such as GW Pharmaceuticals, manufacturers of Sativex, a liquid extract of whole marijuana.

    In fact, Sativex is so ok that Andrea Barthwell, a former Deputy Drug Czar, is helping GW to get it approved for the US market.

    And remember little people, you can’t change these laws because -it’s ILLEGAL.

    • jeff | February 15, 2012 at 2:46 pm

      Hi pfroehlich2004. I would say your argument is very close to the truth. In politics, etc., if one follows rules and laws far enough you will usually find money behind them. If one follows these anti-marijuana laws far enough you will find big-pharma hiding in the shadows.If a doctor prescribed me a drug I disagreed with I would seek out alternatives. However, I would not presume to dictate to others that a particular drug had no benefit to them. That is not for me to say. You’ve made a good and balanced comment.

  12. darkcycle | February 15, 2012 at 10:09 am

    “The FDA approves specific medical products produced by a particular “innovator” (for branded products) or generic manufacturers.”
    Then why is marijuana even subject to FDA regulation? It is not a synthetic drug, it was not produced by any “innovator”, and boasts a four thousand year safety record. Doesn’t the FDA approve NEW medicines for use? Ones that don’t have a long history of safe effective use? Can you answer me this? Has ASPIRIN ever been throught the FDA process, and where would I find those records?

  13. doogiem | February 15, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I am inspired, first, by the fact that JT allows many of us to counter the author’s views and presentations, especially when it comes to this topic. Secondly, I am inspired by all the above posters who practive and model intellectual rigor, especially in emotionally charged topics such as The Devil’s Weed. ;^)

  14. Prof. Byron Brainard | February 15, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Wondering if anyone here is able to learn from history? Read this section and let me know if you observe any similarities between the Temperance movement in the 1920′s and what we are seeing with our laws today:

    The alcohol ban during the Prohibition Era proved to be very difficult and led to widespread flouting of the law. The lack of a solid popular consensus for the ban resulted in the growth of vast criminal organizations, including the modern U.S. branch of the Mafia, and various other criminal cliques.

  15. Justice Guy | February 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Having worked in the Justice System most of my life I can tell you that FEW….Very FEW people go to Prison for Possession, those that did were sent for Violation of Probation (a court order) and if you violate a court order you should be prepared to pay the consequences’, tell Verizon you aren’t going to pay your bill and breach of the Contract and see what happens. Those who support wide spread use of this drug don’t want to talk about it being a gateway drug but in my experience 40+ years I can tell you it is..

  16. Trinka Porrata | February 16, 2012 at 12:27 am

    The process of voting for “medical” marijuana is ridiculous. While I’m a big critic of the FDA (being owned by the drug companies), I firmly believe in having a strong regulatory agency (this one just needs fixed). Public voting to approve a drug undermines the entire system.

    • High Plains Drifter | May 5, 2013 at 10:10 pm

      Trinka, what about freedom of choice? Don’t we live in a democracy still? And what about states’ rights? Aren’t the rights of the states to be respected? Do we not all have the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? If you choose slavery and willful ignorance, does your choice bind others who prefer self-determination and enlightenment?

  17. Mike | February 17, 2012 at 3:25 am

    With pill form alternatives available, and even overlooking the health risks of smoking any substance, we should consider the fact that marijuana does not have a consistency in THC content from one plant to the next. So anyone ingesting marijuana, whether it be by smoking, eating or some other form, is not getting a consistent dosage of the “medication”. Would we, as a society, be able to accept that sometimes when we take any other medication it can vary by several hundred percent of its content?

    • Rick Steeb | February 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      The THC contained in the FDA-approved pill form, i.e. Marinol, costs 30x the price of THC contained in high-grade herb.

      The therapeutic ratio of Cannabis is estimated at 40,000 to 1, so anyone ingesting “marijuana” can simply titrate their dose by ceasing to smoke it when the desired effect is achieved. Given aspirin’s therapeutic ratio of approximately 20:1 the proscription of Cannabis is murderously absurd.

  18. b t | February 17, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Marijuana is not the enemy.

  19. Grainne Kenny | February 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Marijuana is illegal because it is unsafe for human consumption. Marinol and Nabilone are synthetic versions without the harmful additives. Chemotherapy, anti-virals and pain relief will have gone though all scientific tests that render them safe to use in treatment. Sick people should not be used by pro pot activists as a “red herring” (Normal)to promote their cause. Pain relievers and chemotherapy are not inhaled as smoke Jeff.Medicine should first do no harm.

    • High Plains Drifter | May 5, 2013 at 10:17 pm

      Grainne, you are wrong. Marijuana is safe, unless you consider the the ruinous results of prosecution. Alcohol and tobacco kill hundreds of thousands of people in our country. Marijuana kills nobody except the poor souls who die in the turf wars of black market maintenance. We ship billions of dollars to Mexican cartels every year, better the money stay here. Do you work for Anheuser Busch?

  20. Arthur Livermore | February 17, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Marijuana is an herbal medicine. It should be regulated in the same way we regulate St. John’s Wort, Echinacea, Ginkgo, Kava kava and other herbal remedies. The fact that it may be smoked and may make you feel better is no excuse for maintaining the status quo. FDA approval is not relevant to herbal treatments.

  21. Paul J. von Hartmann | February 17, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    “every herb bearing seed…and every green herb.”

    How can anyone argue with that? So important He repeated Himself on the first page of the Holy Bible.

    “the tree of life whose leaves will heal the nations.” and reveals the Cannabis plant that “produces fruit twelve months out of the year…” in Revelations.

    Come now people. Our freedom to farm “every herb bearing seed” is the first test of religious freedom. It is suddenly the role of humankind on a planet with a functional atmosphere, to plant Cannabis as fast as we can, in as many soil and climate conditions it may be able to adapt to, and pray it’s not too late to heal the Earth.

    Amen,

    PvH

  22. Douglas Greene | February 18, 2012 at 12:55 am

    To address two issues raised by previous commentators:

    1. No one has mentioned vaporization as another alternative (like edibles) to combustion. Vaporization allows patients to titrate their dosage efficiently without inhaling smoke.

    2. Mike, there are now many labs that are testing medicinal cannabis for mold, pesticides and levels of several cannabinoids.

  23. Jl137 | February 18, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Kevin is the well reasoned intellectual (charismatic as hell) that we news to fight all of this misinformation from the pot people. Gracias kevin!

  24. DoctorEmster | February 18, 2012 at 8:42 am

    As a physician I agree 100% with Kevin. Thank you.

  25. Richard P Steeb | February 18, 2012 at 11:15 am

    The source of confusion, frustration and ignrance is the prohibition of Earth’s most widely benenficial plant species.

    It was political maneuvering, NOT scientific reasoning that caused Cannabis to be removed from the United States Pharmacopoeia.

    Scheduling: In which “schedule” is tobacco? Whiskey? Schedule I Cannabis is a damned lie. Per Judge Young.

    Currently accepted? What do sixteen states’ “acceptance” mean? There has been more “peer-reviewed” studies on Cannabis than any other substance. From Sir William Brooke O’Shaughnessy to Granny Storm Crow.

  26. Betsy | February 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Marijuana should be legalized. It is much safer than alcohol, and by far does not kill your brain cells, destroy your liver and is a herb. It is a great help in helping you sleep, instead of taking chemical sleeping pills. If legalized, you can tax it, and wouldn’t that be a great asset for the government. Put people to work, and the production of pre made (joints) would expand the work force and stop those that grow it illegally, they in turn would become legal farmers. And you don’t become addicted to it, as you do with alcohol. Wake up America!
    Legalize it and put it in the ABC Alcohol stores…you can not enter unless 21.
    If smoked while driving, well, the police can spot check that as they do with all DUI’s.

  27. JR Dallas | February 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Not oppossed to medical MJ if there is a legit medical need. However, the shady distribution by non-pharmacy inities is highly suspect to me. And I’m not so sure that the source of prescriptions are legit where states have legalized. I believe we can all admit there is definite abuse of MJ, just as there is abuse of alcohol. So my biggest concern is protecting our children. I know the old arguement, if they’re gonna use, they’re gonna use. I just support that we as responsible adults do everything we can to prevent the abuse at their young & still developing ages. Lets work to keep the distribution under tight control if the medical need is recognized.

    • Matt | July 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      All medical states get there meds by professional growers that are paid by the medical dispensaries to grow it. In colorado, the dispensary owners themselves grow their meds

  28. michael boop | February 26, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Frankly, the medical cannabis community is what got the whole “De-Schedule/ Legalization” ball rolling. I like to smoke recreationally, but I NEED to smoke for my pain. Argue the point all day, but realize that people are suffering and dying while you discuss semantics. This country needs a nationalized law supporting medical cannabis NOW..They have been working on legalizing for 40 years; a few more years won’t hurt the proponents of this thinking, but WILL KILL and cause unnecessary suffering to thousands upon thousands of PATIENTS!

  29. joebanana | June 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Deliberately mis-scheduling an herb to increase criminal penalties is a crime in itself. Why doesn’t anybody examine WHY cannabis is illegal in the first place? Not based on ANY scientific data, but based on the funding of DuPont, and Hearst because of it’s superiority to their inferior products, and profit margins, not science.

  30. Chris | August 18, 2012 at 10:54 am

    No one has mentioned that besides the harm caused by smoking, marijuana is highly addictive, especially to young teenagers. My son is now 21 and has overused it for several years despite many negative consequences including psychosis, arrests, expulsion from school. And it is a gateway drug. He is going through life stoned and high and he is not alone as most of his friends are the same. I’ve had to write him off as a wasted life–he is a pod person–an empty shell–nowhere man. I hope Kevin Sabet can write a column on how marijuana addiction derails the lives of so many teenagers. The victims are not only the kids but the parents who wanted their kids to have a future or to care about ANYTHING in life other than getting high. Don’t tell me it is my fault–I did everything I could to prevent and to treat this addiction. I’m giving up. NORMAL–he’s all yours.

  31. johnny | September 16, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    I have been smoking marihuana for about 20 years and then I quit. Now I have to live with the negative effects,all the time I’m getting problems to remember things even , names , words. I don’t recommend no one to smoke marihuana, and if you do your best to live a healthy live , eventually you don’t need medicine. The most people who are arguing here don’t know nothing what they are talking about. I will kill someone who try to give my kids marihuana or any othr kind of drug to use. When children go to pot they become blooming idiots. People who are unsure of themself mostly use drugs, as the matter of facts normal people don’t use drugs.

  32. Bill Sinton | October 18, 2012 at 10:43 am

    NIDA research shows that long-term marijuana abuse can lead to addiction; that is, compulsive drug seeking and abuse despite the known harmful effects upon functioning in the context of family, school, work, and recreational activities. Estimates from research suggest that about 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana; this number increases among those who start young (to about 17 percent) and among daily users (25-50 percent). I have trouble understanding how anyone would support more addictive drugs in our society.
    http://www.marijuana-is-addictive.com/

    • Paul | October 21, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      Bill, the problem with your argument is that it fails to acknowledge a few VERY important points. The first is that marijuana already is in our society, and its prohibition only greatly increase the damage associated with its use. From giving enormous funds to criminal organizations, to causing excessive damage to those who are arrested for its use, and creating an atmosphere in which marijuana users are exposed to and often encouraged to try harder drugs because the same people often supply both. Prohibition does nothing but increase the damage associated with marijuana use. You also ignore the fact that marijuana is more available to middle and highschool youth than alcohol and tobacco (check the ‘Monitoring the Future’ studies by the Education Dept, or better yet, ask a highschool student), simply because dealers don’t care how old their customers are. Legalization allows for closer regulation of the distribution and production of marijuana as stores would have an incentive not to sell to minors (loss of license and criminal penalties), it also would controlwhere the profits go stopping the flow of money to REAL criminals who commit real, violent crimes. It would make marijuana more difficult to obtain for children.

      Add to all this the fact that 80 years of prohibition have done nothing to stop or even reduce the use of marijuana, a reality that clearly demonstrates the inability of prohibition to actually ‘work.’ The fact of the matter is that marijuana will be better controlled when it is legal, just as alcohol has been since the ending of its prohibition.

    • Douglas | October 22, 2012 at 6:09 am

      Bill Sinton The NIDA is government They will all ways pass out info that is not facts. I been studying this for over 20 years and any and all Government agency are going to spread false info on cannabis. Its all right to learn the facts on cannabis Bill this will not led you to start using cannabis

  33. Jimmy | October 28, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    The opium analogy is a bit of a stretch because Laudanum (tincture of opium) has been legally prescribed for more than 100 years and is basically an alcohol extract of opium. It is a standardized opium product. The US government has been producing a standardized cannabis product for many years for research and dispensing to certain individuals.

  34. High Plains Drifter | May 5, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    The supreme court already ruled that regulation of medicine is the realm of the states. The fact that marijuana is medicine in 19 jurisdictions including D.C. proves that marijuana has medicinal use in the United States. We, the people, have allowed the federal government to overstep its authority, and it is up to us to correct the problem. Why have none of the states with medical marijuana programs sued the federal government to protect its own citizens? Why do we, free people, allow unelected bureaucrats to oppress our rights, and why do we elect representatives who refuse to represent the voters who elected them? In Iowa we say, “Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain” but so far, we only say this…we are challenging scheduling here. Our board of pharmacy ruled unanimously in 2010 that marijuana is medicine and recommended changing the scheduling. We will not quit fighting for our rights and we will deny the lie that chains make us free. Green tsunami is coming fast, surf or churn baby.

    • joebanana | May 21, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      On average 7000 people die from aspirin every year. There has never been a documented case of death from cannabis consumption. From the “war on drugs” there have been countless deaths, none from cannabis, most from police. How is this “saving lives”? It’s more like “saying lies”.

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