Medical marijuana is now legal in 11 states, and bills to legalize it are pending in at least 7 more. The drug is also at the heart of a case being considered by the United States Supreme Court.Here is a libertarian rebuttal, but the medical benefits are indeed dubious. Most of the people who want medical marijuana just want to get stoned.
Yet there remains much confusion over whether marijuana in fact has any significant medical effect.
"People subjectively report benefits," said Dr. Joseph I. Sirven, an epilepsy specialist and associate professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Scottsdale, Ariz. "There's a whole Internet literature suggesting what a wonderful thing it is. But the reality is, we don't know."
In an editorial last year in the journal Neurology, Dr. Sirven pointed out that the best studies of marijuana's effects on humans have so far shown little objective evidence of benefit in patients with epilepsy or multiple sclerosis. And a growing body of research indicates that, at least in teenagers, heavy marijuana use over a period of years significantly increases the risk of developing psychosis and schizophrenia.
I was recently with a woman who had the urge to smoke marijuana. "You don't smoke pot, do you?", she said. I said that I don't. She continued, "That's what I suspected. I can usually tell when people don't smoke pot."
My community is so overrun with pot-heads that I stick out if I don't smoke it.