True, there are health benefits for some patients. Several recent studies, including a new one from the Scripps Research Institute, show that THC, the chemical in marijuana responsible for the high, can help slow the progress of Alzheimer's disease. (In fact, it seems to block the formation of disease-causing plaques better than several mainstream drugs.)
Other studies have shown THC to be a very effective antinausea treatment for people--cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, for example--for whom conventional medications aren't working. And medical cannabis has shown promise relieving pain in patients with multiple sclerosis and reducing intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients.
Wow. That’s actually quite a list of accomplishments from the medical perspective. Alzeheimer’s, cancer, glaucoma and MS patients could benefit from it, but the good doctor still wants to vote “no” because the Colorado and Nevada initiatives “would legalize marijuana irrespective of any medical condition”.
Drug Policy Reformers, please note: we need to always use the word “decriminalize” instead of “legalize” when talking about the subject. Dr. Gupta has caught a classic case of “missing the point”.
Voting “No on Pot”, as Dr. Gupta calls it, means more tax dollars spent incarcerating casual marijuana users. That’s it, end of story. Neither initiative will force Dr. Gupta or anyone else to use marijuana.
And as far as ignoring the reality of imprisoning doctors and their patients for choosing to prescribe and use marijuana for legitimate medical reasons, perhaps Dr. Gupta needs to read this post about the AMA’s position on medical marijuana. Jailing and imprisoning those truly in medical need goes beyond deliberately ignoring what the decriminalization movement is about: it is simply cruel and capricious.