Law Allows Medical Marijuana In Capsule Form

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The420Guy

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The Reporter recently carried a story that Rep. Greg Underheim plans to
introduce legislation to make "medical marijuana" available for treatment of
some medical conditions. That legislation is premature, and is not
necessary.

First, medical marijuana is now already available by prescription in
Wisconsin. It is Marinol - (dronabinol) delta-9-THC, the active ingredient
in smoked marijuana - a Schedule II substance that any Wisconsin physician
can prescribe for several medical conditions including nausea and vomiting
from chemotherapy in cancer patients. It is in capsule form, standardized as
to quality and dose, and is taken orally which is a much more reliable
delivery system than smoking; no other approved drug uses smoking as a
delivery system.

The good news with respect to Marinol is that since the onset of action is
slow and gradual it is only weakly reinforcing, and it produces dysphoria
rather than euphoria, so abuse potential is very low. While it is not always
effective, Marinol is a beginning effort to make alternatives available in
otherwise refractory patients with certain conditions.

Second, the research Mr. Underheim recommends is already underway. The most
respected and dispassionate recommendations regarding medical marijuana
appear in the 1999 National Academy of Science Institute of Medicine report
advocating research on cannabinoids, both synthetic and plant derived, to
determine which of those substances are possibly effective for which
conditions with the goal of developing, if effective, a rapid onset,
reliable and safe delivery system for those substances.

The DEA agrees, stating that the question of whether marijuana has a
legitimate medical purpose should be determined by good science and
evidence-based, rather than belief-based, determinations. Centers have now
been established such as the University of California Center for Medicinal
Cannabis Research to seek reliable and dispassionate answers to safety and
efficacy of cannabis and its compounds to assess which of those are possibly
effective for which medical conditions. Similar research is underway in a
number of other settings as well so the $2 million in new money Mr.
Underheim says is not available for research here in Wisconsin is not
necessary.

Regrettably, legitimate inquiry as to the possible role of cannabinoids in
the treatment of some medical conditions continues to get "hijacked" in a
bait-and-switch agenda toward legalization of marijuana for recreational use
with all of its accompanying risks. I have seen too much damage in too many
patients, particularly children and adolescents, from use and abuse of
marijuana to approach the legalization question too casually lest we do the
wrong thing for the wrong reasons.

I support, as does the Wisconsin Medical Society, further research into the
possible role of cannibinoids in the treatment of some medical conditions.
The research Mr. Underheim says he can support, as a compromise, is already
underway and we should await those results - objective, unbiased,
non-political and with no hidden agendas--before proceeding further,
reasonably and rationally, in this important, but conflicted, area.

Darold A. Treffert, M.D., of Fond du Lac, is past chairperson of the
Controlled Substances Board and Medical Examining Board of Wisconsin.



Source: Fond du Lac Reporter
Pubdate: Jan. 13, 2004
Author: Darold A. Treffert, M.D.
Webpage:
Gannett Wisconsin Media | Wisinfo.com
Contact:
Gannett Wisconsin Media | Wisinfo.com