Federal policy states that marijuana has no medical benefits. It is illegal for anyone without the government’s approval to research marijuana’s effects. Yet, for more than 30 years, the government has been dispensing marijuana to patients in order to study its medical uses.
Marijuana has a negative connotation; it’s not surprising that it does. The media focuses on the sensational nature of illegal drug deals and how it negatively impacts people’s lives. Yet, it is often overlooked that medical marijuana can completely change a life.
Behind the scenes, the government recognizes its potential medical impact but as far as federal policy, it’s a completely different story. Granted, the public backlash would be immense if the government supported medical marijuana. But if it is a more effective solution to someone’s pain, the government should recognize that. The unfortunate part is, many people don’t know that the government has had programs intact for researching medical marijuana while they publicly deny its medical benefits.
In 1978, The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) began distributing marijuana to several patients through the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program (IND), according to a 1998 NIDA report.
“The government wasn’t agreeing that marijuana, or cannabis, was a medical benefit,” said Irvin Rosenfeld in an interview, a government medical marijuana recipient. “What they were saying is that doctors had convinced the government that there was no medicine for this patient, and that a qualified physician believed that cannabis would work. So therefore, out of the compassion of the federal government, they granted a compassionate care protocol.”
That patient was Robert Randall, who used the Common Law doctrine of necessity to argue that he needed medical marijuana to treat his glaucoma. In 1976, the federal government provided Randall FDA-approved access to the government’s medical marijuana, cultivated by the University of Mississippi.
The government has and still uses the taxpayers’ money to fund the IND program that Randall initiated. It’s fantastic that research is being done, but why would the government enact such a strict federal policy when marijuana’s medical effects are still being researched? It makes no sense.
The IND program issued medical marijuana to patients until 1992 when the George H. W. Bush administration closed the program to new applicants after many AIDS patients applied, according to the NIDA report. Today, several patients still receive medical marijuana under the IND program.
The government denies the benefits of medical marijuana just to protect its image. Its own research has proven that medical marijuana can increase the standard of living for the ill and its federal policy should reflect that.
“What right does this government have to say that we are going to give medication to five people to let them be pain free and for all the rest of you, you go to hell … that’s not appropriate in America today,”said Montel Williams in an interview on Larry King Live. The government is using the taxpayers money to fund the IND program, which directly contradicts federal policy. The federal government should lift its ban on medical marijuana until they have fully researched its effects.
Smoking marijuana for any condition or disease isn’t approved by the FDA, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Web site. The FDA said that “there is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful,” and that “no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use.”
You know what else is harmful? All those side effects you read on the gamut of prescription pills doctors issue to patients. 17-year-old cancer patient Owen Beck said in an interview with Drew Carey that all the pain killers he was taking would just knock him out, while marijuana would allow him to be productive throughout the day.
IND participant George McMahon uses medical marijuana to treat pain, spasms and nausea. Also, IND participants Elvy Musikka and Rosenfeld use it to treat glaucoma and Multiple Congenital Cartilaginous Exostoses, respectively. The latter causes bone tumors to form at the joints, and Rosenfeld said that in the 30 years he has been using medical marijuana, he has not had a new tumor.
Also, the government holds the medical patents on the plant’s various therapeutic cannabinoids, according to patent 6,360,507. It states that there are medical marijuana benefits to prevent and treat many diseases including stroke, trauma, autoimmune disorders, HIV dementia and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
The government will not condone the use of medical marijuana, but obviously recognizes its importance to the field of medicine. Its benefit is undeniable; medical marijuana supporters advocate the drug because its an effective alternative to the mass of prescription medicine doctors prescribe them. It seems that the government has a hidden agenda. Is the federal government protecting major pharmaceutical companies by outlawing medical marijuana and forcing sick people to purchase expensive prescription drugs? Maybe. Regardless, I find it difficult to trust the government when its policies and actions aren’t in unison.
Federal policy should not contradict the government’s actions. The government should suspend its policy until all the necessary research has been done. It’s time for the hypocrisy to end.