Marijuana Oil: Cure for cancer or the new snake oil?
It seems like the nation is almost schizophrenic when it comes to legalization of medical marijuana. It is legalized in one state, and then the decision is overturned by the next elected official. Places like California embrace medical marijuana one day, and the next they are banning it from individual cities. Federal crackdowns shut down certain dispensaries while leaving others open and operating. In the midst of the legal back-and-forth, it seems no one is asking the real question: Is marijuana and marijuana oil good medicine?
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that marijuana oil is helpful in treating all kinds of diseases and ailments. Proponents say that it acts as an anti-nausea medication, an antibiotic, a neuro-protectant, and an antioxidant.
Mike Hyde, from Montana, claims that when his three year old was diagnosed with brain cancer, marijuana oil was his saving grace. While the boy was undergoing treatment in the hospital, Hyde secretly administering .3 milligrams of marijuana oil through his son’s feeding tube. The boy’s prognosis improved very quickly. He began to eat again, and his pain levels went down. Hyde credits the marijuana oil for saving his son’s life.
Marijuana Oil: What’s the proof?
Unfortunately, nowhere near the necessary number of studies on cannabinoid medications has been conducted. Marijuana oil does not have FDA approval. Basically, the FDA criteria exist to make sure that the medication is pure, potent, that it accompanied with clear directions for its use and that it works. They protect us from potentially dangerous medication. Unfortunately, marijuana oil does not meet any of these criteria. There is no guarantee of purity, potency or quality, no specific directions for use, and not enough studies to conclusively prove the efficacy of marijuana oil.
When you think of marijuana like other drugs, the point of FDA regulation becomes clear. What if Percocet pills were available in different sizes, different potencies, and you were instructed to “keep taking until your pain goes away.” No self-respecting doctor would prescribe the medication.
Perhaps marijuana oil proponents should focus more on raising the standards of marijuana dispensing and conducting more studies to prove that it works. Law makers and enforcers may be less likely to flip-flop on their stance on marijuana oil if it was held to the same standards of other medications.
Marijuana Oil: Does natural mean safe?
Just because marijuana oil is a natural substance, it does not mean that it is harmless. There are a number of side effects to the use of marijuana oil including sleepiness, difficulty keeping track of time, impaired memory, reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination (such as driving), increased heart rate, bloodshot eyes, dry mouth and throat, food cravings, decreased social inhibitions, impaired cognition, distorted perception (sight, sound, touch) and occasionally paranoia, anxiety and even hallucinations. Controlled medical studies are performed to ensure that the benefits of a drug outweigh the possible side effects. For marijuana oil, the jury is still out, and we will need several more controlled studies to prove that it works.