Since its still illegal - thought I would add a poll so you can comment with no names.
email@example.com | Sunday, Aug 14 2011 09:17 PM
A Growing Debate
Marijuana's medical use is the subject of much controversy, as well as at the center of a growing national debate. In July, the federal government ruled that the drug has no accepted medical use, a long-awaited decision that advocates are expected to appeal. And, among the medical community, there are widely differing opinions about the extent of marijuana's health benefits, and its role in treating mental disorders.
For Dr. Herbert Kleber, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, the most compelling studies are those linking marijuana to enhanced appetite and nerve pain associated with multiple sclerosis. While people frequently talk of its use for other pain management "the plural of anecdote is not data," he said. Kleber, who has worked with marijuana research for years, said he knows of no studies suggesting marijuana is helpful for bipolar disorder or depression, a condition it may exacerbate.
He also pointed to medications like Marinol, a FDA-approved drug that uses marijuana's tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, to stimulate appetite and counter nausea. The FDA-approved version of the medicine controls the amount of THC. Pot sold at dispensaries has different and unpredictable levels of THC.
"If I have a patient who needs the benefits of THC, I don't tell them to go out and smoke a joint," he said. "If you go into the dispensaries for medical marijuana, you don't know what the hell you're taking."
But other physicians, such as Berkeley family practice doctor Frank Lucido, say that just because there haven't been U.S. studies doesn't mean there aren't valuable personal accounts. He's surveyed patients in his practice -- about half of his work involves marijuana recommendations -- and found they report relief in everything from migraines and nerve pain to depression and anxiety.
Kern County residents like O'Keefe said last week's unanimous decision by the Board of Supervisors to close collectives like Sweet Relief would rob them of medication for serious ailments, forcing them to seek marijuana on the streets. Along with helping some physical symptoms, they say the marijuana helps calm them and ease the debilitating stress of mental illness.
“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” Buddha[/color][/i]