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Is Medical Marijuana the Solution or the Problem

Medical marijuana has been highly touted by proponents as a “miracle” drug for those suffering from painful chronic conditions like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. However, making an illicit drug legal for medicinal purposes is proving more complicated than it first appeared. In the debate on whether medical marijuana is a solution or a bigger problem, there are a number of factors that need to be considered.

Marijuana Dangers

Despite the spread of legalization across the country, marijuana continues to be classified as a schedule 1 drug by the FDA. This puts marijuana in the same category as other drugs having a high potential for abuse and no accepted safety for use. Schedule 1 drugs also have no currently accepted medicinal use, despite proponent’s claims to the contrary.

Studies have shown long-term marijuana use can lead to brain, heart and lung damage. It is particularly dangerous for younger users, with the potential to disrupt proper brain function and even permanently lower IQ. While the drug is not considered as addictive as other illicit substances, higher concentrations of THC is today’s pot could change that.

Lack of Control

Unlike prescription drugs on the market, marijuana is not subject to any type of FDA regulations and control. This leaves users at the mercy of marijuana retailers who sell the substance without full disclosure of THC concentrations or other substances that might be found in the mix.

Currently, there are FDA-approved drugs on the market that contain the ingredients in marijuana proven to help with pain and nausea. Patients requiring opiates for pain take FDA-approved opioids for this purpose. They do not smoke opium to receive the benefits. The same could apply to the ingredients found in marijuana.

More Accessible

Although proponents assert that medical marijuana would be restricted to those that have a medical need, past history proves that in-demand drugs offered by prescription only can find their way into the wrong hands via the black market. This has been true of both prescription opioids and drugs used to treat some types of mental and behavioral disorders, such as Adderall.

Just last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics noted that making marijuana available to adults could increase accessibility to teens and children. The AAP also opposes the use of medicinal marijuana in children, stating there have not been studies performed at this time to show the drug has any benefit that would outweigh the risks of allowing younger patients to use the drug.

Wrong Message

By legalizing marijuana for “medicinal purposes,” legislators are giving the impression that marijuana is a relatively safe substance that offers benefits to some patients. However, marijuana has not been proven to be safe for use and in fact, studies have shown the harm of using the drug, especially over a prolonged period. Opponents of medical marijuana fear that message could easily get lost in the abundance of marijuana dispensaries and “patients” touting the drug’s benefits, leading more people to try using the substance.

At Pasadena Recovery Center, we are opposed to legalizing marijuana for any purpose, because we have seen firsthand the damage this dangerous drug can cause. If you are struggling with marijuana use, contact our staff today to get the help you need at 866-663-3030.

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Expert Speakers Series

At the Pasadena Recovery Center we regularly bring in community leaders and addiction experts to educate our residents, alumni and staff. For example, the Nation’s top drug official, Gil Kerlikowske (photo right), spoke about the California marijuana legalization ballot measure (Prop. 19) prior to the 2010 election.


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