As we get deeper into legalizing marijuana state by state, the medical marijuana debate continues. Arguments against marijuana as a medicine are numerous. There’s no scientific proof that it is beneficial or legalizing will only grow a population of drug addicts are a couple of such arguments. But what about the arguments for medical marijuana? Let’s talk medical marijuana studies.
In a recent interview, Sanjay Gupta debunks some of these arguments and blames America’s perception about marijuana as a medicine for stalling medical research that is being demanded. The classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug makes it very difficult for anyone in the United States to study the benefits of marijuana on a scientific level. According to Gupta, the classification itself essentially means that there is no medical benefit to the drug. A reclassification needs to take place in order for us to get the scientific studies we are wanting that provide evidence one way or the other about marijuana as a medicine.
That said, there have been studies conducted about the use of marijuana as a beneficial medical treatment. These studies however have been conducted outside of the United States. We tend to turn a blind eye to research conducted outside of our borders, discrediting them because they were not organized by big name pharmaceutical companies on our soil.
Gupta discusses studies conducted in Israel or England that indicate medical benefits using marijuana to treat conditions such as spasms caused by multiple sclerosis. Marijuana is being studied scientifically for medical purposes, just not in the United States. Our closed-minded perception is causing a reality that is putting us behind scientifically. “In all the reporting I’ve done, I’ve treated this as a potential medicine. This is a potential medicine that could potentially benefit people. And should be studied like any other medicine,” says Sanjay Gupta.
An argument against the reclassification of marijuana or legalizing in general is that doing so can lead to people that simply want to abuse marijuana. Legalization will create drug addicts and because marijuana is considered a “gateway drug”, addicts will ultimately be looking for the next big high…meth, cocaine, etc. causing a rampant drug problem in the United States. Here’s the thing. We don’t tend to have those same feelings towards other serious drugs used for medicinal purposes.
Gupta argues that we don’t hold other drugs like phenobarbital to this same standard. So why are we asking this of marijuana? Any drug used for medicinal purposes can be misused and abused or used for recreational purposes. But we prescribe these drugs anyway. We worry less that drugs like oxytocin could be used outside of what has been prescribed than we do marijuana for medical purposes. So why do we keep marijuana from populations that could benefit from medical marijuana on a national level? Why are we hindering the possibility of improved quality of life or health for people across the nation that could benefit from medical marijuana?
You can check out more from Sanjay Gupta here.