No Splendor in Weed: Study Shows Even Medical Marijuana Use Is Harmful
RThe real evidence of the dangers of marijuana must not be lost in the weeds.
A second independent study published in less than a month offers serious warnings that even so-called medical marijuana can easily do more harm than good. The first lesson to be learned from these studies should be that lawmakers should not make marijuana generally legal and should go slowly, with strict regulations, even when legalizing medical marijuana. The second lesson is that even when it is legal, doctors should be wary of prescribing it.
As this journal reported on March 6, a National Bureau of Economic Research study found that even medical marijuana “is associated with higher opioid mortality” and that the legalization of recreational marijuana is “associated with higher rates.” higher mortality rates compared to the counterfactual of no legal cannabis”. “This is in addition to previous studies that have found habitual marijuana use can cause permanent brain damage, marijuana use poses a huge risk to heart and lung health, can cause psychosis and addiction, and that states that have legalized it have suffered many measurable harms. consequences on their roads and in their hospitals.
Then, on March 18, Massachusetts General Hospital released a report concluding that medical marijuana not only can cause serious harm, but despite claims to the contrary, it “generally does not improve” symptoms “of pain.” , anxiety and depression”, even when cannabis use has been prescribed by a licensed physician. Among the dangers frequently associated, even with the medical use of marijuana, is a significant risk of drug dependence and various other “physical or psychological problems caused by cannabis”. In fact, the addictive results of even prescribed use have generally come with “rapid onset and increased incidence and gravity.”
The researchers found that the only benefit of medical marijuana came not from the major medical issues mentioned above, but from insomnia – something that many other drugs can treat without causing addiction or other major difficulties.
The researchers divided 269 statistically significant adults into a control group and a test group, with samples that were “relatively homogeneous in terms of race, ethnicity and education level”. The study was conducted under the auspices of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Mass General is a highly respected research institution that last August was named #5 on the US News and World Reports list of top american hospitals.
It is important to note that the results were in no way the result of confirmation bias. The researchers actually entered the study hypothesizing that there would be “modest improvements in pain and insomnia symptoms”, but instead they found that there would be no there was no analgesic benefit. And for people with affective disorders such as depression, the study found that medical marijuana use should actually be contraindicated, meaning it actually carries a “high risk” of exacerbate rather than help the problem, according to the study.
Lead researcher Jodi Gilman recommended much stricter regulation of medical marijuana and much less use of it. For example, even if a licensed physician prescribed marijuana as a treatment, the researcher said there should be requirements, which are now lacking, for “professional monitoring”.
All of this runs counter to the current spirit of the times that fetishizes marijuana use as relatively harmless under all circumstances, positively helpful under certain circumstances, and almost always a mark of high cultural “cool.” Instead, marijuana is a pretty dangerous drug with completely unproven benefits, even under most medical advice. Medical use must be strictly limited by law and recreational distribution must be illegal.