Human Exceptionalism

Medical Marijuana: It Helps Neuropathy–Obama/Palin Should Call for Feds to Permit Medical Use

Neuropathy is a disturbing nerve pain, associated with diabetes, for example, that is difficult to treat medically. But a new study, albeit a small one, shows marijuana helps alleviate this and other medical conditions. From the story:

The first U.S. clinical trials in more than two decades on the medical benefits of marijuana confirm pot is effective in reducing muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis and pain caused by certain neurological injuries or illnesses, according to a report issued Wednesday. Igor Grant, a psychiatrist who directs the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, San Diego, said five studies funded by the state involved volunteers who were randomly given real marijuana or placebos to determine if the herb provided relief not seen from traditional medicines. “There is good evidence now that cannabinoids may be either an adjunct or a first-line treatment,” Grant said at a news conference where he presented the findings.

That seems empirically undeniable. But the Controlled Substances Act states that marijuana as no beneficial medical uses. Period. That means it is against federal law to use or possess. Period.

Bad policy creates bad consequences:

– The legal falsehood led to state medical marijuana movements, which in many cases have changed state law to permit medicinal use. Some of this was a front for opening the door to recreational use, in other words, those who want to get high are using sick people as a front to obtain open access.

– It also has prevented the kind of deep research that would tell us what MJ is good for, in what doses, and what it is not good for medicinally.

– It has also permitted marijuana to be the new snake oil, pitched as if it can cure everything under the sun.

– It has also made us look foolish by preventing the government from authorizing prescriptions for cannabis–while much stronger drugs like morphine can be so dispensed.  And if the CSA were changed, it wouldn’t necessarily mean giving out MJ cigarettes. Sprays and other dispensing methods have already been developed that could provide effective delivery of the medicinal qualities of MJ in properly controlled doses. It also breeds disrespect for law.

– And, it shows our federal politicians to be cowardly and uncaring. Well, perhaps that is just truth in advertising.

When the law is based on a canard, it will not be followed, leading to chaos.  That is precisely what is happening with medical marijuana.  Time for President Obama to demand a change in the CSA.  It’s the right policy that would permit MJ to be used medically in the right way. Better yet, a prominent conservative–say, a Sarah Palin or a Mitt Romney–should take on the cause. That would be a Nixon goes to China moment that could change the entire field.