1 Cannabis Use in Medicine
Medical cannabis is a treatment that has gained increased attention in the United States in the recent past. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, marijuana was widely used as a patent medicine, but it was later prohibited under federal law. There has been much controversy regarding the use of cannabis for medical purposes and the regulations of cannabidiol products. Currently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved marijuana for treatment use as the agency is concerned about patients’ safety and efficacy.
The acceptance and use of medicinal cannabis have continued to grow, as several states in the US have now approved its use for medical conditions. By 2018, thirty-three states and Washington DC had allowed medical marijuana. However, the federal government does not recognize the potential of cannabis to treat diseases, mainly because there are few studies and clinical trials proving its medicinal value. Also, medical marijuana is associated with a risk of abuse and addiction, and it may lead to low quality of life and financial issues among users.
Many Americans, including Congresspersons and members of the medical community, have viewed legalizing medical cannabis positively. The US Congress introduced the Medical Marijuana Research Act to ensure that cannabis is accessible to all qualified scientists seeking to research for medical purposes. If enacted, the bill would eliminate the unnecessary barriers of legalizing medical marijuana research needed to assess the risks and benefits associated with cannabis use. Moreover, medical community members support medicinal cannabis use since it has been reported to treat chronic pain. Also, medical marijuana has helped to control symptoms of several illnesses, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Conclusively, the acceptance and use of medicinal cannabis continues to grow in the United States. Thirty-three states have approved its use for medical conditions. Although the issue of the therapeutic purpose of marijuana has become a controversial medical matter, some health practitioners support its use as a safe and effective medication for patients with chronic pains. On the other hand, the federal government does not recognize medicinal cannabis, mainly due to the lack of studies and clinical trials proving its therapeutic value. Given the increased rate of marijuana use for medicinal purposes, caregivers and patients need to be aware of potential DDIs and adverse effects in the future due to continued use.
Stith, S., Vigil, J., Brockelman, F., Keeling, K., & Hall, B. (2018). Patient-reported symptom relief following medical cannabis consumption. Frontiers In Pharmacology, 9. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00916
Pearce, D., Mitsouras, K., & Irizarry, K. (2014). Discriminating the effects of cannabis sativa and cannabis indica: A web survey of medical cannabis users. The Journal of Alternative And Complementary Medicine, 20(10), 787-791. doi: 10.1089/acm.2013.0190
Wheeler, J., & Hagemann, T. (2018). Medical marijuana in the United States: Historical perspectives, legal considerations, and professional obligations of the pharmacist. Journal Of the American College Of Clinical Pharmacy, 1(1), e9-e16. doi: 10.1002/jac5.1014
The principal aim of the ‘Medical Use Marijuana’ bill no. 192 was redefining the term “medical use.” The reevaluation of medical marijuana whether the possession, use, or administration of marijuana by route of smoking or inhalation be deemed legal by those who are chronically ill. Legalities or restrictions still apply for those who are prescribed medicinal marijuana, to include not smoking indoors, on government property or in the general public. Marijuana has been federally illegal since the 1930’s post Great Depression. Marijuana has also been categorized as a schedule 1 drug alongside heroin by the United Stated federal government which has greatly affected the studies conducted on it. In regard to stakeholders, local government agencies such as law enforcement expressed concerns that crime may increase, policies and procedure with prosecuting the crime and educating the public on laws pertaining to the drug. Pharmaceutical companies are concerned with decrease in profit or lack of control with prescribing and supply. Growers and entrepreneurs are concerned with production, sales and regulation of product. Patients are concerned with cost, availability, and mostly effects and relief from medical ailments.
Certain requirements must be met in order to qualify and be prescribed medicinal marijuana such as a prescription from a qualified physician whom must submit specified documentation to the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine. If the patient is a minor under the age of 18 years old the physician is unable to prescribe medicinal marijuana by route of inhalation unless the patient is terminally ill. Additionally, the physician must have the determination from a second physician who is a pediatrician before moving forward with the prescription, as well as informed consent from the parents of the minor.
Decriminalizing marijuana was essential as it kept patients from accessing the medicinal benefit of marijuana. The Florida State laws have allowed patients additional treatment options for diseases such as cancer and pain management for terminal illness, by approving this bill. The state has acknowledged the benefits of marijuana yet was cautious considering the effects it may have on the youth and general population. Ensuring the safety of the State of Florida, definitive boundaries were put in place according to the state law. The federal government still enforces strict limitations on the medical use of cannabis and it remains illegal federally.
Impact on Healthcare
The Florida State Laws allows patients to use medical marijuana as prescribed by health professionals, including a set dose with set amount of refills the same as other prescription drugs. For instance, a patient may be prescribed 2 grams monthly to cope with their disease. In regards to minors younger than 18 years, in order to smoke medical marijuana it must be directed by a pediatrician. The law identifies ten health conditions that qualify one to use medical marijuana. The diseases include epilepsy, cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD), Parkinson’s disease, and Crohn’s disease (Candice M. Bowling 2019). Doctors are also allowed to establish other health complications that are comparable to the listed complications. Studies have shown data that shows that marijuana can help in palliative care and promoting comfort with symptoms such as pain, nausea, appetite loss and anxiety. The passing of this bill further allows research and studies to be done on Marijuana. The absence of such a law makes it illegal due to federal limitations, to conduct research, the marijuana plant is expected to have numerous health benefits and must be explored further.
In conclusion, Florida approved the use of medical marijuana which benefits many ill people statewide. It is beneficial for those who suffer from chronic illness who are in turn affected psychologically. The funding process involves private as well as state budgets in cohesion with the medical sector. Although the drug itself is not yet covered by state or private insurance, it is still beneficial in the treatment of patients which is why they now have the right and privilege to pay out of pocket.
Austin, J. (2005, January 1). Rethinking the Consequences of Decriminalizing Marijuana. Retrieved February 4, 2015, from http://norml.org/pdf_files/NORML_Rethinking_Decriminalizing_Marijuana.pdf
Candice M. Bowling and Stanton A. Glantz (2019) Conflict of Interest Provisions in State Laws Governing Medical and Adult Use Cannabis, American Journal of Public Health, 10.2105/AJPH.2018.304862, (e1-e4).