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Argument: Marijuana is not an effective drug for treating illnesses

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Supporting quotations

Andrea Barthwell, MD, former Deputy Director at the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, Feb. 8, 2005: "It is not a medicine. You don't know what's in it. If there were compelling scientific and medical data supporting marijuana's medical benefits that would be one thing. But the data is not there."[1]


Mark Souder, Member of the US House of Representatives (R-IN), wrote the following in the "Issues: Medical Marijuana," section of his website, souder.house.gov (accessed Sep. 5, 2007): "The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency charged with protecting the health of Americans, has never found smoked marijuana to be a safe and effective drug. In April 2006, following my request, the FDA released an interagency advisory confirming that smoked marijuana is not medicine because: (1) marijuana has a high potential for abuse; (2) it has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and (3) it has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. The advisory also stated: '...there is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful.' The FDA has approved Marinol, however, and I support the availability of this prescription drug, which is currently available to patients. Marinol pills contain synthetic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana."[2]


Richard H. Schwartz, MD, physician in Advanced Pediatrics. Letter to the Editor, New England Journal of Medicine. July 14, 1994: "...support of the use of marijuana for medical purposes is scientifically unfounded. There is no evidence that marijuana is superior to ondansetron (Zofran), dexamethasone, or synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (Marinol) as an antiemetic in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Nor is there scientific evidence to support the use of marijuana for AIDS-associated anorexia, depression, epilepsy, narrow-angle glaucoma, or spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. As a crude drug, moreover, marijuana has been shown to produce undesirable mental changes, disturbances in coordination, giddiness, and hypotension in at least 25 percent of novice users, especially elderly persons."[3]

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