The Benefits and Consequences of Legalized Marijuana

The Benefits and Consequences of Legalized Marijuana

USA Centric, but no doubt there will be other states/countries looking to follow the states in the USA in legalising marijuana for at least medical use...

"Wider availability of medical marijuana in Colorado starting in 2009 coincided with an increase in calls to poison control centers and hospital discharges, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Researchers led by Jonathan M. Davis, PhD, from the University of Denver, found that the public health effects were significant — a 57% increase (95% CI, 43.4 - 72.0%, P < .001) in marijuana-coded hospital discharges from 2007 to 2013, and a 56% increase (95% CI, 49.0 - 62.8%, P < .001) in calls to poison control centers after 2009.


“Many doctors see the whole medical marijuana movement as a scam. They don't see enough evidence to support it. On the other hand, we only have two cannabinoids — and there are over 80 cannabinoids in marijuana smoke,” Dr Hill pointed out.

According to the National Cancer Institute, several controlled trials support the use of cannabinoids for nausea and vomiting, but there is insufficient evidence to support the use of cannabis. In a recent randomized controlled study (N=30), dronabinol provided a longer analgesic effect than smoked marijuana, with lower abuse-related subjective effects."

Full article from Psychiatry Advisor. (The article originally appeared on Clinical Pain Advisor):

Note the closing recommendation for more studies, given the full impact of legalising marijuana is still unknown. Surely we don't want to create more and bigger problems than we are hopefully removing?

Other popular post regarding the medical use of marijuana and cannabinoids:


7 Replies

  • Sadly unable to open the link.

    First, it's very important to distinguish between legalized marajuana and MEDICAL Marajuana. Bother use the same source but they are very different.

    In New York, where I am, it's only medical marajuana. Since I couldn't open the link to the article siting increased overdosing etc

    I can't comment. I would imagine such might be the problem with legal marajuana, I've seen those arguments when states battle out whether to allow marajuana to become available legally in one way or another. In contrast, to ny, as I understand, anyone visiting Colorado can purchase various forms, concoctions etc including smoke, candy and so on. To me that would be likely to encourage dealing with marajuana like a recreational substance. Not a grand idea imo

    Not pretending to know much about medical marajuana, but was given a script last week. That prescription was just the beginning of the process. Addresses must be a physical address for delivery of your card, there are only 4, so far licensed distribution centers which are heavily guarded.

    New York only allows the distribution of mm to those with certain diagnoses. Patients are carefully screened by their own physicians and then see a doctor and pharmacist at the centers. Those who are on mm must carry their photo ID card at all times.

    In addition only one form is available. It contains T and C and is an oily suspension to be used sublingually only. Physicians can adjust the proscribed ratio, i.e., 1-1, 2-1 etc.

    beginning on 1-1. One molecule is the one that affects pain, the other, does other things and some feel it's killed cancer cells. ???? Yet to be actually studied and or proven in any particular cancer. Mostly anecdotal and to quote our late great revered expert dr Hamblin, , the plural of anecdote is not evidence . I wouldn't be sad if it dos but I'm not expecting anything

    Do I feel it helps for pain. Sure does. I have three cancers, some have required major surgery and radiation. CLL is just one and is an aggressive , progressive form. No stranger to high level pain Been thru PCR, and tried and failed ibrutinib. My CLL has never been blood centered. But marrow is now, again about 90%. My point here is my pain level is very high, nearly constant.

    Before I started taking tiny doses, .1 ml about every 4 hours, allowed 1 ml twice a day. I used more of my other pain medication which is partly Tylenol, With borderline, liver numbers that wasn't great.

    It wasn't an easy decision to try mm. I refused to increase my other medications because they rendered me non functional for long periods. But I've gotten enough criticism for being on opiod containing drugs, sometimes even from care takers and physicians. The US is notoriously hypocritical when it comes to pain medications. Must be our puritanical roots.

    I've had very close friends and family die of cancer and other hideously painful conditions and all too often seen them suffer because of judgement calls on the parts of those caring for and around them.

    Sadly and ironically , pain that isn't dealt with or noodled around with home readies, OTC, and patchwork dosing is more likely to lead to abuse of substances and chronic pain than that dealt with by trained physicians who deal with pain and pain medications and will work with the patient to deal appropriately with their pain.

    My advice is don't judge another's pain; and don't avoid properly managed pain medication if you are in pain Because of fear of judgement. You're a cancer patient or helping one and only you and they know how deeply pain is stealing their quality of life. If your physicians don't support your need, seek help elsewhere. There are highly qualified pain specialists but most hematologist/ oncologists are quite familiar with long standing pain.

    Possibly the worst thing to do is try to mask pain. Pain is your body's signal that something is very wrong. Pay attention but when you find your answer get help with the pain as you deal with the issue.

    An aside, I've noticed that on various CLL lists pain is rarely dealt with a few time I've seen eruptions where a patient mentions or asks about pain and is flat out told that pain isn't part of CLL. I disagree, and would even if I didn't have my companion cancers. Bone pain, commented on often, I believe is real, and possibly connected

    to marroww involvement or inflammatory reactions, chemicals etc. and if CLL progresses the potential for pain may be more likely. We can't exclude all association of pain with CLL without risking ignoring important signals . point being, pain of any source needs to be identified, resolved if possible and relieved to the best level


  • Thanks Beth, for your reply, in particular from the aspect of the control of cancer caused pain.

    I've checked both links and they work fine on a different device from which posted. Is anyone else having difficulty with the links?


  • Both links work OK for me, using Windows 7 via Chrome .

  • I'm on apple. Opens on iPad, didn't on my iPhone? I'll try again, may be me.

    In the first article the author seems to have embraced the. "all marajuana is the same" view that all "legalized"marijuana leads to the overuse, hospital admissions, etc. however, he doesn't separate out the "medical marajuana" from all the mish mash of types, blends etc of "legalized" marajuana. He refers to Massachusetts, for example, as having no standardized requirements for cannabis, but doesn't say if that's legalized or medical. It's hard to tell what his research shows for each. Seems to lump all "legalized"marijuana into one bunch.

    This was from his piece"

    According to the National Cancer Institute, several controlled trials support the use of cannabinoids for nausea and vomiting, but there is insufficient evidence to support the use of cannabis.3 In a recent randomized controlled study (N=30), dronabinol provided a longer analgesic effect than smoked marijuana, with lower abuse-related subjective effects.4"

    This one controlled study bears out what I believe is the case. Legalizing marijuana without having some standardized, universal, requirement's for its production, sale, and use probably does produce more overdose, dependence, and other bad consequences. If they're right, I still think it's that broadening the availability of a street drug does nothing to change the perception of it as a recreational product. It may in fact encourage further illegal activities.

    Maybe if and when we require some universal, standardized, well controlled manufacture and distribution of pharmaceutical grade cannabis will we be able to determine the advantages and disadvantages. At this point we have anecdotal reports, often without details such as method of use, type, dose, frequency to. how could one begin to measure how much product yields what level of relief. I

  • Just out on Medscape...good, largely neutral, unbiased view of medical maranta a from the view point of cancer patients and their treating physicians

  • Excellent, thanks Beth,

    Interesting title Marijuana for Cancer: No Benefit, but Don't Tell Patients

    From the introduction:

    'Cancer patients often attest to the benefits of medical marijuana to help ease nausea and pain, but rock solid evidence of benefit does not exist, say the authors of a comprehensive review on the topic.

    "Marijuana in oncology may have potential for use as an antiemetic, for refractory cancer pain, and as an antitumor agent, but more research is needed in all areas to clearly define benefit," Tina Rizack, MD, MPH, a medical oncologist at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, told Medscape Medical News.

    Medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia, and chances are good that a physician anywhere in the country will be asked about it at some point. "Many of our patients ask for medical marijuana licenses and inquire about the benefits of marijuana, [but] there were no reviews available in the literature to guide discussion," Dr Rizack said.

    Dr Rizack's and colleagues' review, published online March 17 in JAMA Oncology, covers the history, adverse effects, and proposed mechanisms of action of marijuana and summarizes the current literature regarding symptom relief and therapeutic value in cancer patients.'

    Further, on anti-tumour effects:

    'Dr Rizack and colleagues note in their review that there is some evidence to suggest that cannabis may be a potential chemotherapeutic agent, but that evidence is mostly based on animal models. "Currently, there is insufficient evidence that cannabis or THC should be used for its antitumor properties outside of a clinical trial," they conclude.

    Dr Casarett agrees and has a sad supporting anecdote.

    The authors are to be "commended for their warning that medical marijuana shouldn't be used for its antitumor effects," he commented "True, there is some intriguing science from animal models, but it's too premature to bet your life on. In researching Stoned, I spoke with a young woman with a very treatable form of lymphoma who gave up chemotherapy and chose cannabis oil instead. She died a few months before the book was published.'" (My emphasis).

    CLL is a Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Perhaps one or more of the many cannabinoids from the marijuana plant may in future be found to have some antitumour effect on CLL cells in the body, but it seems to me that even then, we'd need a 'standardized, well controlled manufacture' of the active ingredient(s) before it can be used safely and effectively to treat CLL. And then how would it be different from any other conventional medication?

    Its use as an antiemetic or for pain control may have more promise and not require the same degree of industrial processing, but from the article you cited, patients should try other alternatives first.


  • You may not know this, but private messages are sent on this forum because there is a feeling that one must tow the party line in regards to CLL treatment or else be attacked and quite often the topic of these private messages is medical cannabis. There are people who have completely recovered from all types of cancer, including CLL, by using medical cannabis oil, one with a high THC content. Those stories in those communities are there if you choose to look for them. But don't look to the medical establishment to give you any sort of support, not that there aren't individual doctors who won't support you - there are, but the establishment will not. It is DIY, sadly. 

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