Monday, March 09, 2009

One more argument for medical marijuana

I don't think anybody else has noticed a possible side effect of the Supreme Court decision last week in Wyeth v. Levine. The issue involved an anti-nauseant drug that had genuinely nasty side effects when injected intravenously, and carried half a dozen warnings approved by the FDA to that effect. Unfortunately, a medical assistant was careless and injected Diana Levine in the arm with the drug. She developed gangrene and lost the arm. She not only sued the assistant but the drug manufacturer, which thought that including all the warnings in capital letters, duly approved by the FDA, protected it from liability. The Supreme Court -- differently than in a case last year involving medical devices, ruled 6-3 that it didn't.

Regardless of what one thinks of the outcome of this case, notice that the drug with the potnetially horrendous side effects was an anti-nauseant. It happenes that cancer patients and oncologists have discovered that cannabis has anti-nauseant qualities when used by patients undergoing chemotherapy, which often leads to patients throwing up uncontrollably (and miserably) for hours and even for days. Yet it has virtually no unpleasant side effects, and certainly none remotely approaching causing gangrene if improperly ingested. It should be removed from Schedule I immediately so doctors can at least prescribe it as an alternative to genuinely dangerous anti-nauseants.

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Jeffrey Dach MD said...

Although cannabis was a medicinal plant for thousands of years, its medical use was suppressed and banned throughout most of the 20th century in the US. During this time, major scientific breakthroughs were made in Israel, Spain, Italy and Brazil. These breakthroughs are propelling the natural plant compounds called cannabinoids into the "wonder drugs of the 21st century".

13 states have already legalized medical cannabis.

More on this topic...
Cannabis, Miracle Drug of the 21st Century


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