Auerbach: don’t be duped, marijuana is not legitimate medicine

The following rebuttal is concerned with addressing the current social policy regarding the use of so-called “medical marijuana” as a legitimate form of treatment or if it is an end runaround established laws.

The agenda of those who are proponents of this decriminalization of illicit drugs will be analyzed, and the current debate surrounding the merits, if any, to allowing the use of cannabis as medicine.

Michael Auerbach

The current public policy encompassing state ballot measures, state laws, federal regulations, and enforcement are investigated. Finally, the impact on society as a whole will be evaluated to determine whether or not there are negative consequences that far outweigh any possible benefit to either the state or the individual.

A mixture of current peer-reviewed journal articles, governmental agency information, and legal challenges are used to support the claim that marijuana is in fact not medicine and has no medicinal value. The complex arguments in favor or against the use of marijuana as medicine can be distilled down into the economic benefit to the state through taxation, the question of federalism, and are there available/accessible effective forms of treating chronic medical conditions.

A majority of research has concluded that marijuana is a gateway drug.

First a brief history about marijuana. In 1970, President Richard M. Nixon replaced all previous drug laws with The Controlled Substances Act of 1970. From that point on all drugs were classified into five categories. Marijuana is both a Schedule I and Schedule II controlled substance. The reason the government has marijuana in two separate categories is because of medical marijuana. Marijuana has a wide range of pharmacological effects that make it act like the following: a stimulant, a hallucinogenic, a depressant, or a sedative.

The pro-legalization constituencies express themselves through activist organizations such as the, Marijuana Policy Project, The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (otherwise known as NORML). One argument that the pro-legalization lobby makes, is that drug use is an activity arbitrarily called a crime. It is imposed on some drugs and not others and can be seen as criminal at one time but perhaps not at another.

The frequency of marijuana use also increased significantly by grade: 29.2 percent of 12th-graders used it on at least 20 occasions in the last 30 days. (Peer reviewed Published online 2017 Nov 30 doi: 10.5888/pcd14.170253) Furthermore, the THC content of herbal cannabis increased from around an average of 6.20 percent in the 1990s to today in Colorado current THC potency averages 28 percent at clubs.

Advocates of medical marijuana, “claim that cannabis substitution may be a gateway drug back to sobriety and dealing with underlying psychopathologic etiologies.” They further claim that marijuana use “can relieve depression.”

In other words, treat the opioid crisis by giving drug addicts a chemically different substance. In medicine this is called substitution. What these individuals need is treatment for their pain not narcotics. Short-term effects of marijuana use include; impaired short-term memory, impaired attention span, impaired judgment, impaired coordination and balance, dry mouth, and increased appetite.

Long-term use can lead to addiction, paranoia, anxiety, impaired learning skills, and long-term memory deficits. Medical complications include an increased risk of chronic cough, bronchitis, emphysema, and assorted cancers. The smoke content of marijuana has 60 additional compounds not found in tobacco.

Many ingredients common in marijuana are known to cause toxic respiratory issues. Some of the compounds include hydrocyanic acid, oxides of nitrogen acrolein, and reactive aldehydes just to name a few.

Under federal law, The United States Supreme Court ruled on May 14, 2001 it is illegal for anybody to possess or use marijuana even if someone claims “medical necessity” that federal law makes no exceptions for growing or distributing marijuana by third party organizations, or so-called cannabis clubs, even if the goal is to help seriously ill patients by using marijuana as medicine.

Therefore, state laws permitting medical use have come under fire by federal officials. Thus, any reference to marijuana having medicinal value by way of state ballot initiative is unlawful under federal law. Article VI paragraph 2 of the United States Constitution is the Supremacy Clause, which declares that everyone must adhere to federal laws regardless of what state laws are enacted.

Because marijuana is so impure, it makes it a poor candidate to be considered medicine. Cannabis contains too many substances to know what is and what is not working and what is potentially harmful to its user.

Some of the buying clubs took their case against using medical marijuana back the USSC in an attempt to overturn federal law. One of the most remarkable statements made by marijuana advocates is that it can alleviate a wide spectrum of symptoms. As already stated marijuana has severe side effects that have been scientifically documented. Furthermore, it is just denial on the part of medical marijuana advocates to state that using marijuana for medical purposes does not present a danger to the patients’ health, it most definitely does.

Many HIV patients claim that marijuana gives them relief from pain, nausea, and wasting disease. Cancer patients make the same claims, and add it increases their appetite. While these claims might be true, it is important to address the other impact using marijuana has on the ill person. The question then becomes, does the use of marijuana benefit the patient or create other, possibly more harmful effects than good ones?

Marinol, a synthetic form of THC is a legal alternative for people with suppressed appetite, and nausea. But, medical marijuana proponents insist smoking marijuana is the only way to get the full effect of the drug. Thus, proponents do not endorse Marinol when it is an exact synthetic reproduction of the cannabis sativa plant.

According to Mark Wallace, MD, Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of California at San Diego, no conclusions on the analgesic efficacy of smoked cannabis on clinical pain states can be made from this study as the relationship between analgesic effects in experimental pain and clinical pain states is unknown.

In further support of the claim made by proponents of medical marijuana that smoking cannabis is the only effective method of administration of the drug is the impression that the level of dosage is critical. Therefore, even if there were clinically scientific evidence that marijuana is medicine, what accounts for the wide discrepancy in THC content? This disconnect is the most glaring example of the strategic error in the pro-legalization lobby.

Numerous claims by organizations like the Drug Policy Alliance indicate that the benefits of taxing marijuana would create a windfall of economic funds that would solve the budget deficits many states are experiencing.

While it is problematical to ascertain substantive figures on exactly how many dollars would be added to state coffers through taxation, the total amounts would be only minuscule in comparison to the multibillion dollar holes that are needed to be plugged to balance these budgets.

Suppose that for a moment we consider the tax revenue that would be derived from legalizing cannabis. While there would be more cash flowing into government treasuries, what would be the costs associated with this now easily accessible widespread narcotic substance?

The current “War on Drugs” has not always been prosecuted in the most effective manner in the past. However, the recent violence that is being witnessed along the U.S. southern border with Mexico is in reality more evidence that law enforcement is indeed cracking down on growth, production, distribution, sale, and use of cannabis.

While it may appear counter-intuitive to view the War on Drugs from this viewpoint, the sole reason there are more news stories about drug violence is due to the fact that these cartels are losing their grip on trade routes, and control over operations they once were able to oversee. Over the past several years, including as recently as Nov. 5, 2010, leaders of the most vicious drug cartels have been either captured or killed. With the progress happening in this battle finally turning the tide away from importation of illegal substances, now is not the time for the citizens of this great country to be duped into believing that smoking pot is less harmful than alcohol.

Popularity regarding trends is a flimsy argument at best for instituting policies that have tangible negative impact on the lives of not only the user, but greater society. In an attempt to provide comfort to those suffering or in pain, the evidence is very strong to support the idea that medical marijuana is in fact a myth.

The ulterior motive of the backers has been exposed for it is, the legal right to use, and abuse of a known carcinogen.

Editor’s note: Mr. Auerbach is a resident of Scottsdale and serves on the Parks and Recreation Commission

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.