The SF Chronicle published an important column today by Dr. Lynn Ponton, a psychiatrist and professor at UCSF Medical School. He describes a patient victimized by a physician writing a letter for medical marijuana. From the column:
“It’s my medicine, Doc,” said 18-year-old Jonathan, when I asked him why he was smoking marijuana every day. Surprised that any physician would prescribe marijuana for the anxious, depressed and disorganized adolescent sitting in my psychiatric office, I asked him where he had obtained the prescription. “A doc just like you. I heard about her from a friend. Anyone over 18 can get one. All I had to do was show my driver’s license and answer a bunch of questions. It’s good for a year, Doc, longer than any of your prescriptions.”
Confused and surprised, I questioned Jonathan about his treatment with the other doc. He filled me in on his 20-minute visit with her during the next hour and showed me a physician’s statement that read that Jonathon “has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition and that the medical use of marijuana is appropriate for that serious medical condition.”…I sat there thinking about the thousands of prescriptions I had written for young people during my 30 years of practice, for each laboring over dosage and carefully considering the impact of side effects on their young bodies. Twenty minutes …
I say victimized because the examination and letter was a complete abdication of the physican’s duty to her patient. And for our kids’ sakes, we must not legalize marijuana: It can be an initiative destroyer:
I called the California doctor who had prescribed the marijuana for him and told her about my 18 months of work with Jonathan to help him with his depression, disorganization, anxiety and lack of initiative in high school. I mentioned that Jonathan had been smoking marijuana for about a year before he saw her. During that year, his school performance, initiative and self-esteem had fallen. He believed that he was less anxious but also acknowledged that he was doing a lot less. I told her that this pattern worsened after Jonathan purchased the medical marijuana from the dispensary. She didn’t know this, because she had planned no follow-up visits to check on her young patient. It was also clear from our conversation that she did not even remember seeing Jonathan.
This law just permits doctors to abandon professionalism for the ethics of drug pushers. That anonymous physician should lose her license to practice.
This is just one reason why the current anarchy must be stopped and marijuana reclassified so that it can be properly prescribed and dispensed for those conditions for which it can be a benefit. And it clearly indicates why recreational marijuana should remain illegal.