More Research Needed

On Thursday the U.K. Daily Mail posted an article about some recent studies involving treating pain with marijuana.

The article reports:

A small study found people who use cannabis require higher doses of painkillers than non users after major traumatic event like a car crash.    

The drug, which is legal for medical use in the majority of US states, is mainly prescribed to ease pain. 

But this new research conducted in Colorado – which was the first state to legalize – suggests that short-term pain relief could weaken the body’s resilience to pain over time. 

The researchers, from the Swedish Medical Center, Colorado, analyzed around 260 people who were involved in minor vehicle accidents and admitted to trauma centers. 

Of these, 54 tested positive for recent marijuana use while 16 claimed they used the drug more or less every day.

Around nine percent of the participants tested positive for other prescription or illegal drugs, such as cocaine and opiates.

On average, the marijuana users required 7.6mg of opioid painkillers a day in hospital, compared to 5.6mg for non-drug users.

This is probably not a surprise to people in the medical profession. I have been told by nurses who work in the operating room that people who are heavy users of alcohol require larger doses of anesthesia to put them to sleep. The body builds up a tolerance for drugs, whether the drug is alcohol, opioids, or marijuana. Those who blame big pharma for the fact that marijuana has not been legalized need to remember that just as big pharma has a huge lobby with lots of money, big marijuana also has a big lobby with lots of money. Legalizing marijuana in Colorado has brought the drug cartels into the state to mass produce their product for the local market. I don’t think that is what we want.

The medical values of marijuana are not proven and the unintended consequences of legalization are still unfolding. I think we need more research.

The Debate On Marijuana Continues

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article about the impact of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. There is still not a clear picture of the effect of the legislation.

The article lists some of the negative impact:

Along with five years of legal weed, Colorado has also seen its homeless population swell to a level that is among the highest in America. The Gazette editorial board sees a link between people living on the street and the availability of free weed because homeless shelter directors said substance abusers move to Colorado because it’s easier to score a bag of weed.

More kids than ever are getting high inside Colorado’s K-12 schools, the Gazette also reported. Drug violations reported by the state’s public schools increased 45 percent since the legalization of pot, according to a 2016 Rocky Mountain PBS investigation.

The article further reports:

On top of all of that, something stinks in Colorado Springs.

“Visitors to Colorado remark about a new agricultural smell, the wafting odor of pot as they drive near warehouse grow operations along Denver freeways,” the Gazette editorial read.

“Residential neighborhoods throughout Colorado Springs reek of marijuana, as producers fill rental homes with plants,” the Gazette added.

The article states that there have been some problems with overdoses:

Dr. Daniel Vigil of the Marijuana Health Monitoring and Research Program at the Colorado Department of Public Health said those “bumps in the road” included “rare deaths.”

The marijuana fatalities included “one following overconsumption, paranoia and falling off a balcony,” Vigil told Insider Louisville. Another death involved “unintentional ingestion of a large dose of THC in a candy bar.”

Vigil said new regulations and policies are needed to prevent marijuana overdoses.

I have no problem with marijuana being available in pill form for medical purposes. I do, however, question the wisdom of legalizing another substance that may interfere with the ability of people to function. Marijuana may not be addictive, but I clearly remember a teenager I knew years ago who began smoking in his teens and thoroughly changed his life for the worse because of it. I suspect his story might not be all that unusual.