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The First One’s Free!

© Ruben Bolling

I just don’t get it. Medical marijuana should be a no brainer. We have plenty of prescription drugs that are far more dangerous than marijuana, yet routinely prescribed by doctors to alleviate pain. Why is marijuana different?



  1. Peter wrote:

    The devil is in the details.

    Whenever medical marijuana is brought up, you hear about cancer patients and chemotherapy. Marijuana helps these people keep from throwing up when they eat. This is a good thing, needless to say. You’ll hear about glaucoma patients who can see after using marijuana. And we all say, “This is wonderful! These people should be able to use marijuana!”

    Of course, they neglect to mention the gynecologist who wrote a male patient a scrip for medical marijuana because he complained of back problems. I’m not aware of any studies regarding medical marijuana and chronic back pain. I mean, I understand that marijuana can help glaucoma and chemotherapy patients, but if a city of 28,000 (Century City) has 13 Medical Marijuana Shops and they manage to stay in business, I have to ask how many people in Studio City are on chemotherapy or have glaucoma! Is there something in the water?

    Other states have gotten a bit smarter and limited what medical marijuana could be prescribed for.

    By the way, I don’t necessarily have a problem legalizing marijuana. I’d probably even vote for such a thing. Where I have a problem is that there are doctors who are doing quite well prescribing marijuana who have no business doing so. If it were some other drug, at the least the AMA would have their licenses yanked. Yet we hear nothing about this.

    Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 1:10 am | Permalink
  2. ebdoug wrote:

    Back pain is caused by tension. marijuana helps relaxation. I have never tried smoking cigarettes or marijuana. A study was done in California in the 1960s on mothers who smoked marijuana while pregnant. The follow up was on the babies. I never heard back on these 40 some year old babies. Maybe someone else has heard the results of the studies.
    In my case, I get month long asthma attacks from second hand cigarette smoke unless I take prednisone which is terrible for you. I am home bound because of this. (and live on the Web and outdoors) But I found in March that second hand marijuana smoke does not bother me. Both smokes smell very good to me. The cig smoke has 400 ingrediants in the tobacco, some of which ruin my quality of life.
    One is legal, one is not. My neighbor who is taking the marijuana has a torn rotar cuff, fixed over and over and a healing broken back. (fell out of a cherry picker at work) The marijuana relaxes him so he has less pain. Illegal in this state.
    All the farmers who grow corn could get rich by growing marijuana between the rows instead of losing their livelihood to fracking.

    Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 4:57 am | Permalink
  3. David Chess wrote:

    With as far as I know not very many exceptions, doctors are always allowed to prescribe medicines for off-label uses, if in their informed judgement it makes sense.

    Just exactly why does it twist your knickers if a doctor prescribes it for back pain? In what sense do they “have no business doing so”? It’s what doctors DO. Or what they did before the Puritans took over…

    Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    Peter, are you arguing that we shouldn’t legalize marijuana because someone might abuse it?

    Would you argue for gun control because people do abuse them?

    Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink
  5. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    I’m for legalizing marijuana for real medical reasons. My thoughts are it can’t be as bad as some of the other drugs and maybe less addicting. Oxycontin comes to mind as well as percocet. I am a cancer survivor and did’t want or really need any pain medication and even stopped the anti vomiting drugs because they made me feel worse then not taking them. Other over prescribed drugs have got to include ED drugs and those prescribed to kids for ADHD.

    My problem is that some Dr’s prescribe drugs that give them a kickback. It happens alot more then is made aware to the public. There’s even a list of “preferred medications” that get distributed to docs in a provider network that provide income in some form or another to prescribers. The other abuse by doctors is in appt fees to prescibe drugs not available OTC.

    There are no checks and balances to deal with a nefarious patient and their cohort doctor who is fine with collecting the visit fee to prescribe whatever the patient asks for, whether it’s warranted ot not. In these types of scenarios you can get what ever meds you want even if it’s not actually indicated. There is no way to acurately measure pain except by the self report of the patient. I’m fairly certain there are people who don’t actually need medical marijuana that ask for it because they just want it, same as all the other pain meds.

    I guess the solution would be in the AMA developing more self regulations to ensure patients a more thoroughly diagnosed and followed up for long term pain related injuries or illnesses. I also think a good idea would be to limit or ban ads for drugs. The doctor should be suggesting treatment not the patient.

    Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    Whether or not there are problems with doctors prescribing drugs that they shouldn’t be, that is a completely separate issue from whether medical marijuana should be legal.

    If doctors are making money from questionable prescriptions for marijuana, then I’m sure there are even more doctors who are making lots of money from prescribing other drugs. In other words, this is a red herring. Keeping medical marijuana illegal does not solve this problem.

    As PSGT says, the solution is for the AMA (or if that fails, the government) to develop better regulations to control prescriptions for addictive or dangerous drugs. I also like PSGT’s idea for a ban on advertising for these drugs.

    But regardless of whether that happens, it is absolutely crazy for us to treat marijuana differently than other prescription drugs. It should be prescribed and sold just like any other drug.

    Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink
  7. Beauzeaux wrote:

    “Why is marijuana different?”

    Because someone somewhere might be deriving pleasure from it.
    Do a search on marijuana strains and you’ll see there are many different types. Some work more on the brain (insomnia,anxiety) and some more on the body (pain, emesis). There isn’t just ONE marijuana.
    I have a friend with every sort of joint pain. He has a pot brownie (made with infused oil)every AM and he’s set for the day. He does a lot of physical work and nothing else makes it possible for him to work AND have minimal pain.
    It should be regulated and taxed. Most of the “crime” around weed is because if you want to produce it or use it (in most places) it makes you a criminal.

    Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink
  8. ebdoug wrote:

    Peter said that a gynocologist prescribed the medical marijuana for the man.
    That is what is wrong.

    Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink
  9. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    IK I was not suggesting that kickbacks was a reason to give up on MM, but more to show how over prescribing can contribute to the perception that it’s just a bunch of pot heads getting high on medical marijuana. This can sway public opinion in favor of returning laws to their previous status.
    I do think that there should be a challenge to the feds crackdown on licensed medical growers. More appropriately the power of the fed to regulate state commerce. If the fed law trumps then the states should cease and desist and if the states win it would seriously challenge the feds intervention in that and many other areas.
    Very interesting debate.

    Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink
  10. Iron Knee wrote:

    Beauzeaux, are there not plenty of other drugs that are available via prescription that also provide “pleasure”?

    I’m serious when I say it should be treated like any other drug. And that works both ways. Can someone explain to me why we need special dispensaries just for marijuana. The only answer I can come up with is because normal pharmacies won’t touch marijuana because it is against federal law. Unfortunately, it causes marijuana to be treated differently from other drugs, and in doing so probably adds to the perception that medical marijuana is just an excuse for potheads to get a legal high.

    With the proper prescription, I can buy morphine at any drugstore. The same thing should be true of oil infused with THC (the active ingredient in marijuana).

    PSgt, I wasn’t accusing you of that. I was agreeing with you. I was responding to Peter. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve never smoked (or otherwise ingested) marijuana (or other illicit drugs) in my life, and I’m not fond of legal painkillers either (I have my dental work, including root planing, fillings, a crown, etc., done with no anesthesia), and I don’t do alcohol, coffee or tobacco. Even so, I don’t get the fuss about recreational drugs. If alcohol, coffee, and tobacco are legal, how can marijuana be so illegal it can’t even be prescribed for real and serious pain?

    The only answer I can come up with is racism — both historical and modern.

    Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink
  11. RK wrote:

    The reason that marijuana is illegal is that it is too easy to grow and cultivate.

    Or maybe I’m just being cynical.

    Monday, May 7, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink
  12. M. Odaca wrote:

    One reason is that Marijuana AKA MaryJane is associated with “Hispanics,” but what many people disdain as xxx.

    Monday, May 7, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink
  13. Peter wrote:

    Peter, are you arguing that we shouldn’t legalize marijuana because someone might abuse it?

    Nope. Again, I have no problem legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes. I have no problem legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes.

    Where I have a problem is with doctors who are basically writing scrips for a drug that they have no knowledge or background for prescribing. If I did this for other drugs, I’d be arrested. At a minimum, the AMA would pull my license.

    If marijuana is being used for medical purposes, there should be more to getting it than giving a doctor $150 and saying that your back hurts–just like with other controlled substances.

    Monday, May 7, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Permalink
  14. Falkelord wrote:

    Peter, you can walk into a clinic and describe some sort of chronic pain and walk out with a prescription, many addicts do it all the time.

    The doctors prescribing it for vague “pain” and “insomnia” or “moodiness” are doing so to stay within the letter of the law, not because they don’t know better. It can be prescribed for illness at the doctor’s discretion. Especially considering the drug has no adverse affect like painkillers certainly do, prescribing it if the patient didn’t need it does them no harm (that a patient would consider continually taking marijuana solely because a doctor says it is good for them is typically not the case…there are usually ulterior motives behind seeking a doctor’s approval that are mostly recreational).

    Not to say it is not used medically as well for the thousands of legitimate cases, but it is a mistake to classify them under the same banner as “irresponsible prescribing”. The doctor assumes the risk of prescribing his patients marijuana. The patient has a degree of say in his treatment, and if they refuse marijuana, like they can refuse any other treatment, they are more than entitled to.

    But obviously, the main people explicitly seeking doctor approval are those who want to partake recreationally and legally. It’s the same reason that spice/incense shit was made; as a way to circumvent the law instead of just making it legal, it makes a whole mess of other shit you have to deal with.

    Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink
  15. Iron Knee wrote:

    Peter, I agree. Marijuana should be treated like other prescription drugs.

    Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink