Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Going to Pot...

A while back, Bob blogged on The Pill Nazi. Now, we have the Pill Narc:

"(N)o animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use."

You may recall that there has been a move afoot (primarily in California) to legalize marijuana use fopr certain medical conditions (e.g. cancer pain management). Pot was touted as a potentially helpful alternative to other medications, which have their own negative side effects. Ostensibly, it offered quick and long-lasting pain relief, with minimum problems.

As expected, there has been a lot of smoke blown on both sides of the issue. Not being an afficianado myself, I've stayed out of the fray. But Dr Henry Miller (a physician, and fellow at the Hoover Institution) has an interesting article over at TCS Daily (ibid) which tends to undermine the reliability of medicinal cannabis supporters. He asks "is it 'medicine?'" And then he proceeds to answer the question:

According to Dr Miller, in order to be classified as a medicine, a product must:

■ Be prescribed by a physician (or other appropriate health care provider)
■ It must be standardized by composition, formulation, and dose
■ It must have been tested for a particular medical condition in rigorous trials
■ And it must be administered by means of an appropriate delivery system.

It's Dr Miller's contention that medical marijuana fails most, if not all, of these tests. Some of it's just common sense: since there's no Eli Lily (for example) which is testing, manufacturing nor distributing "joints," there's no standardization. So how can one determine the efficacy of a particular "dose?" And, there are different varieties of the plant, so variations in the chemical composition of these must be taken into account.

There's more, of course, and it's an interesting topic, one which I have not seen discussed much in the medblogosphere.

Until now.
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