Results from a July 2016 Gallup poll “…found that 13 percent of adults in the U.S. report currently using marijuana…43 percent of adults have tried the substance…” Still, that says 87 percent of people have decided that smoking pot isn’t a good idea.
Although when it comes to medical marijuana, most individuals including myself, are sympathetic believing that anyone facing a terminal illness or experiencing pain so debilitating that they cannot function at all should have access to any substance that could alleviate their suffering.
But it’s not that simple. It’s possible that way too many people might be eligible to receive a legal prescription. For instance, it was reported in a March 20, 2017, Troy Daily News article that, “Patients qualify if they have the following conditions: HIV/AIDS; Alzheimer’s disease; … (ALS); cancer; … (CTE); Crohn’s disease; epilepsy or another seizure disorder; fibromyalgia; glaucoma; hepatitis C; inflammatory bowel disease; … (MS); pain that is chronic, severe, and intractable; Parkinson’s disease; posttraumatic stress disorder; …” and the list goes on. Also, an individual can petition the state to add more conditions.
How many local people would qualify for medical marijuana given the above description? Only looking at the category of posttraumatic stress disorder, the website for the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 3.5 percent of the adult population would be classified as suffering from PTSD annually, while 1.3 percentof these cases would be considered as severe.
To apply these statistics to Miami County with approximately 100,000 residents, a general estimate would be that 3,500 residents would be struggling with PTSD annually, and 1300 of those cases would be severe. If doctors prescribed medical marijuana for only the severe cases that would be 1300 residents alone.
Secondly, some medical marijuana will most-assuredly be resold illegally. For instance, in a Feb. 26, 2017, Troy Daily News account, a West Milton High school girl brought an ounce of pot to school and admitted to paying $350 for it. It wasn’t medical marijuana, but it’s a good representation of street value. So, if even some of the 6 ounces of “edibles, oils, patches, and vaporizing” which will be prescribed to each medical marijuana user every three months finds its way to the street this could add one more problem to our already out-of-control drug epidemic.
“Though medical pot dispensaries require a medical card to dispense any of their various strains to buyers, cards can be easily obtained—often written without much documentation or demonstrative medical need. As the pool of legal users grow, cardholders are not easily caught if trying to distribute or resell their “prescription pot” to someone else” this statement is according to www.usamdt.com (USA mobile drug testing website)
Thirdly, “The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has not approved marijuana as a safe and effective drug for any indication” as stated on their website, www.fda.gov. “The agency has, however, approved two drugs containing a synthetic version of a substance that is present in the marijuana plant in pill form and one other drug containing a synthetic substance that acts similarly to compounds in marijuana…[but] has not approved any drug product containing or derived from botanical marijuana. www.drugabuse.gov states, “The reason the marijuana plant is not approved is because, “So far, researchers haven’t conducted enough large-scale clinical trials that show that the benefits…outweigh its risks.”
Another factor of major concern is the increased risk for drivers. An article on Medscape.com about “Medical Marijuana and Driving,” paints an alarming picture. “In a driving situation, cannabinoids can affect reaction time, vision, and attention.” There was an increase in fatal accidents which tripled referring to 2014 statistics from Seattle, Washington.
Also, some compassionate health professionals recommend medical marijuana to combat pain for more than cases of terminal illness, but what will the long-term outcome be? In parallel, some experts say physicians prescribing potent painkillers resulted in widespread addiction and spawned our current opioid epidemic.
Sadly, there are unscrupulous individuals who don’t care about sick folks or the terminally ill, because distributing medical marijuana can also be about big business and making money. There are other Ohio citizens speaking up against the creation of medical marijuana dispensaries or cultivation/production facilities. For example, recently in Richland, Ohio, more than 70 clergymen representing various denominations issued a letter to “oppose the harvesting and sale of medical marijuana in municipalities and townships within Richland County…” citing some of the above reasons. After all, the benefits are so unproven, yet the risks to the overall community appear glaringly real.
Christina Ryan Claypool is a freelance journalist and inspirational speaker. Her website is www.christinaryanclaypool.com