With all the political hubbub and legal strife over medical marijuana, as one who tried to be an educated voter, I found myself asking: “Why don’t we just make a synthetic version of THC (the active natural substance in marijuana) and disburse it in pill form?” The simple answer to that question was, as I found out – we already have.
Synthetic THC has been available for decades. Dronabinol (the man-made form of THC) is approved by both the United States Food and Drug Administration and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and is marketed under the brand name of Marinol.
Proponents of medical marijuana assert that chemotherapy patients must be granted legal access to marijuana to curb their severe nausea and vomiting. Yet, according to WebMD, Marinol is not only effective in reducing severe nausea and vomiting, but it is “also used to treat loss of appetite and weight loss in patients infected with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS).” See http://www.webmd.com/drugs/drug-8774-dronabinol+oral.aspx.
If a THC pill is already available by prescription, why then has there been such a massive political effort to legalize marijuana cigarettes? After all, Morphine is an accepted medical drug, but legalized opium smoking was not on last year’s ballot. This question becomes even more perplexing when one understands that:
There are no FDA-approved medications that are smoked. For one thing, smoking is generally a poor way to deliver medicine. It is difficult to administer safe, regulated dosages of medicines in smoked form. Secondly, the harmful chemicals and carcinogens that are byproducts of smoking create entirely new health problems. There are four times the level of tar in a marijuana cigarette, for example, than in a tobacco cigarette.
Since Marinol has been around for decades, I am dumbfounded as to why medical marijuana has caused our state (and nation) so much political grief. In a struggling economy, the federal and state governments certainly have better things to do with our taxes than sue each other over whether or not the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution includes marijuana cigarettes. There must be some hidden rationale or agenda that I am missing, because it is clear that the proponents of legalizing marijuana cigarettes are not focused solely on the medical benefits of THC.
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Attorney Profile: Brian D. Strong, Criminial Defense Attorney
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