“Medicinal Marijuana” Is Already Legal (In Pill Form) – Why Are We Trying to Re-Legalize It?

Last month, Governor Chafee

petitioned the federal government on Wednesday to reclassify marijuana as a drug with accepted medical uses …

Last week, Speaker Fox added his voice to the effort by appeaing to the law enforcement side.

House Speaker Gordon D. Fox says he’ll personally petition the U.S. Department of Justice to seek a way for Rhode Island to open the medical marijuana dispensaries that advocates have long sought.
“I plan on going to the federal government to ask them: what do you need it to look like?” the Providence Democrat said Tuesday.

What has bothered me all along about the medical marijuana discussion is the question of whether cannibis is already available as a legal drug. I asked this of Sean O’Donnell, who has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (and is a registered Republican). This is his response.

I think the greater debate about legalizing marijuana is legitimate. A few years ago, National Review covered both sides of the argument in consecutive issues. I can respect each argument and probably favor not legalizing it. I guess my Conservative side slightly wins out on this one with due respect to the Libertarian case.
I think the case being made for “Medical Marijuana” is much, much weaker than the honest argument to legalize marijuana across the board.
I do believe that smoking marijuana can give some measure of pain relief, does work to some degree to suppress nausea and stimulate appetite. All of these qualities can be clinically beneficial. However, I believe the oral form (dronabinol capsules) of marijuana is just as effective as smoking the leaves. I also strongly believe there are a wide, wide array of other prescription medications available that work as good (and in many cases much, much better) for pain, nausea and weight gain (sometimes needed for chemo patients and other weight wasting ailments).
In short, I think the clinical case for “Medical Marijuana” is a ruse.

Sean also provided some informational links about Dronabinol – available after the jump.

Dronabinol is used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy in people who have already taken other medications to treat this type of nausea and vomiting without good results. Dronabinol is also used to treat loss of appetite and weight loss in people who have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Dronabinol is in a class of medications called cannabinoids. It works by affecting the area of the brain that controls nausea, vomiting, and appetite.
Does the cannabinoid dronabinol reduce central pain in multiple sclerosis? Randomised double blind placebo controlled crossover trial.
Listing by cancer.org of anti-nausea/vomiting medicines including Dronabinol.

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11 years ago

Of course, the question is, if it’s already legal why ban a delivery method? Not to mention the limitations to the current legal delivery method.

“[One] problem with Marinol [a pill containing Dronabinol] is that it’s orally administered,” Dr. Mitch Earleywine, an associate professor of Clinical Psychology at the State University of New York at Albany, said in an email. “Therefore, it takes longer to work than cannabis inhaled from a vaporizer. (Usually 90 minutes at best rather than 15 seconds – a meaningful amount of time to the nauseated.)”
“It’s harder to control dosage, too, so folks end up discombobulated or without symptom relief,” he added. “In addition, folks who are vomiting can’t hold down the pills.” Earleywine also said that a dose Marinol costs three to five times as much as a comparable dose of medical marijuana.

11 years ago

Marijuana is illegal? Don’t tell Paris!

11 years ago

Marijuana laws are a total farce and well over half of the population knows it. When the 80 to 90-year-old voters who still oppose legalization on the grounds that it would lead negro jazz musicians to commit crimes and sleep with white women, it will be legalized and that will be the end of it.

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