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John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAO  
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Kansas City, MO

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THE RISKS OF MARIJUANA ARE MANY AND SEVERE

Dec 04, 2013 - 45 comments

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Posted on Tue, Dec. 03, 2013

By Ravikumar Chockalingam MD and Dragan Svrakic MD
Special to The Kansas City Star

Imagine the public outrage if a toxic drug was approved without any regulation for “recreational” use in adults and children that suppresses the immune system, causes schizophrenia, mental illness, brain and lung disease including cancer and death. Also, many long-term and frequent users of this toxic drug have lowered IQs, impaired memory, poor judgment and diminished driving ability.

Finally, suppose this toxic drug is sold “for medical use” to treat diseases for which safer medications are available and at the same time puts them at greater risk of addiction to other substances. Public outrage would be unprecedented; the FDA would be severely and rightly criticized for not subjecting this toxic drug to study. Trial lawyers would be everywhere soliciting lawsuits against the manufacturer.

The toxic drug is marijuana (cannabis) and this nightmare health scenario has occurred in other states. It might occur in Missouri or Kansas if ill-informed and misleading groups like John Payne’s Show-Me Cannabis (As I See It, 10/20/2013) have their way. There is already a considerable amount of medical research showing marijuana to be harmful that is never mentioned by advocates of legal marijuana.

Sadly, this research is largely ignored or underreported by the media. When properly viewed, as a drug subject to FDA study, marijuana would be declared not safe, not effective and not approved based on studies already published in medical journals.

As physicians we attest that the dangers of “medical marijuana” far exceed any therapeutic usefulness, particularly in the context of safer and more evidence-based alternate treatment. Legal cannabis is a bad drug trip the public should avoid.

Like deadly asbestos fibers, the long-term adverse medical consequences may take decades to appear.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 55 percent of marijuana users are between 12 and 18 years old. They frequently go on to use more dangerous drugs. Marijuana users have higher “driving while intoxicated” convictions than alcohol users. In 2004, during the five years following legalization of cannabis in California, marijuana-related fatal motor vehicle accidents increased. Marijuana use on the job is common and more problematic than alcohol use.

Cannabis users have slower reaction times, impaired thinking, reduced levels of alertness and poor memory compared to non-users. This leads to higher on the job accident rates and defective or dangerous workmanship.

With 2.5 million new users of marijuana in 2012 age 12 and older (6,800 new users per day) legalizing marijuana will dramatically increase these numbers. Marijuana use in elementary, middle and high school will become common. Parents and educators should be dismayed that long-term marijuana use has been associated with an irreversible eight-point drop in IQ. No wonder cannabis has long been known as “dope.”

Marijuana is a noxious drug with proven medical side effects that trump any reason to legalize its use. Our understanding of this drug and its consequences negates all reasoning to make this readily accessible to public.

Ravikumar Chockalingam of St. Louis is a psychiatry resident at Barnes Jewish Hospital-Washington University School of Medicine. Dragan Svrakic of St. Louis is an associate professor of psychiatry at the Washington University School of Medicine and the St. Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

This appeared in the "As I See It" Editorial, Kansas City Star  December 4, 2013

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by pepper998, Dec 07, 2013
If a person has an incurable cancer or leukemia, they should be able to obtain marijuana legally. No, marijuana should not be used by young people under 18 years of age for recreation use because their brains are still developing.



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by DragonFly68, Dec 07, 2013
Marijuana causes more harm then good.  It pray to God it is never legalized.  


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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Dec 10, 2013
The articles were thoroughly referenced to the Kansas City Star and their fact checkers verified them. This article BELOW (on MedHelp.org will have a large number of references:

http://www.medhelp.org/addiction/articles/Reefer-Madness-The-Truth-Behind-Medical-Marijuana/356

Here is an ENTIRE medical text book documenting serious complications of marijuana use/abuse:

http://www.amazon.com/Marijuana-Madness-Hardcover-Author-Castle/dp/B00FLHDILA/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1386717461&sr=8-4&keywords=David+castle+marijuana

Marijuana and Madness [Hardcover] [2011] (Author) David Castle, Robin M. Murray, Deepak Cyril D'Souza

HERE'S ANOTHER RESEARCH ARTICLE PUBLISHED THIS MONTH:
schizophr Res. 2013 Dec;151(1-3):197-202. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2013.10.018. Epub 2013 Nov 5.

Association between cannabis use, psychosis, and schizotypal personality disorder: Findings from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.

Davis GP, Compton MT, Wang S, Levin FR, Blanco C.

Source

Department of Psychiatry, Division on Substance Abuse, Columbia University Medical Center/NYSPI, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 66, New York, NY 10032, United States. Electronic address: ***@****.

CONCLUSION:

This is the first population-based study to examine the association between lifetime cannabis use, psychosis, and schizotypal personality traits. These results add to evidence that cannabis use may be a risk factor for psychosis liability.


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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Dec 11, 2013
REFERENCE REQUEST:  CANNABIS AS A CAUSE OF CANCER

Daling JR, Doody DR, Sun X et al. Association of marijuana use and the incidence of testicular germ cell tumors. Cancer 2009;115(6):1215-1223

Wu TC, Tashkin DP, Djahed B, Rose JE. Pulmonary hazards of smoking marijuana as
compared with tobacco. The New England journal of medicine 1988;318:347-51.

Sasco AJ, Merrill RM, Dari I, et al. A case-control study of lung cancer in Casablanca,
Morocco. Cancer causes & control : CCC 2002;13:609-16.

Aldington S, Harwood M, Cox B, et al. Cannabis use and risk of lung cancer: a case-control
study. The European respiratory journal 2008;31:280-6.

Hashibe M, Morgenstern H, Cui Y, et al. Marijuana use and the risk of lung and upper
aerodigestive tract cancers: results of a population-based case-control study. Cancer epidemiology,
biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research,
cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology 2006;15:1829-34.

MOST RECENT (DECEMBER 2013) REVIEW OF HEALTH HAZARDS OF CANNABIS USE:

Wilkinson ST, Medical and Recreational Marijuana: Commentary and Review of the Literature.  Missouri Medicine  2013;110(6):524-528


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by Chioke, Dec 12, 2013
Why don't we now begin to investigate the counter measures. It seems this dope has a place and something special to offer; surely not for children and not ever one. Some get relief, some become more creative and confident, some slow, forgetful, too intense and obsessed, distracted and "time outed " It will become legal so moderation and discipline along with more drugs to treat the symptoms...research is great but this is where it all ends up

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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Dec 12, 2013
MOST RECENT (DECEMBER 2013) REVIEW OF HEALTH HAZARDS OF CANNABIS USE:

Wilkinson ST, Medical and Recreational Marijuana: Commentary and Review of the Literature.  Missouri Medicine  2013;110(6):524-528

THIS ARTICLE HAS 61 REFERENCES ON ADVERSE EFFECTS OF CANNABIS ON THE HUMAN MIND-BODY.



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by Medem1026, Dec 13, 2013
So alchohol is fine, marijuana isn't?? Sounds like an Anerican Dr to me!

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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Dec 13, 2013
That is not the point but a useful trope for users/abusers/purveyors of cannabis.  There is nothing in the studies reported here at all about the risks of alcohol, tobacco, mountain climbing, driving fast or flirting with a football player's girlfriend. Those are all risky behaviors none of which has anything to do with cannabis, which is chemically a drug and statutorily should only be legalized in the USA after appropriate FDA studies.

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by austin102, Dec 14, 2013
This drug is for losers and low self instem,I have mayor surgery on Monday and I don't need pain killers! I never need any type of drugs,thank GOD.

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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Dec 14, 2013
Best of luck with your surgery. Thanks for your comments.

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by Momtotyandlog, Dec 18, 2013
Thanks dr. The people arguing, as we both know, are more than likely drug users who want to justify there usage. Anyone that truly takes care of themselves would never touch it. It's the drug for people to get high that allows the to still feel like they are not drug users, because "god made it "of course, or because it's "safer than alcohol" ! There will always be excuses and those who refuse to admit the truth even to themselves. For the rest of us your article is wonderful and very important right now to save lives, especially of children.

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by Momtotyandlog, Dec 18, 2013
Sorry I meant THEIR usage

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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Dec 18, 2013
Thanks Mom. There are more than a few comments that have had to be removed because they are profane, full of vulgarity and usually have the signature something like "higherthanakitedog" or "weed-master".  

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by ExPat2013, Dec 18, 2013
Hello Dr. Hagan,

Thank-you for this article! A year ago, I would not have agreed with you. I was pro-weed all the way. I have been recovered from alcoholism for five years and decided that pot was the way to go. Safe right? non-addictive, right? Wrong! I became addicted and my life started going down the tubes. Now, I'm an addict and only speaking from that viewpoint. However, I have seen many non-addictive friends become addicted and it seemed to have the same effect on them as it did on me. Luckily, I quit and proud to say I have been clean for months now.

All I can say, is that my memory was very poor during my usage. My job performance went downhill. My relationships suffered. I was very moody, not to mention the money I spent and the bills that went behind, due to my poor memory. I would cough all night long, etc. I felt depressed and sometimes felt I was just plain going crazy. It changed who I was.  I feel 100% better now and would never, ever go back to using. My memory is back to normal, no more coughing, more energy, clarity and no more mood swings.

I used to think that all of the medical warnings were a bunch of BS and that it should be legalized. I see it being used to treat PTSD, etc. I am not a Dr. or medical professional. however, I know how it made me feel and now feel that there are better ways to treat illnesses besides going the weed route. Thank-you for this informative article and hope others will take it into consideration before they decide to treat their illness with pot or decide to use it, period.

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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Dec 18, 2013
Thank you for your information. Your negative experience makes the message all the more meaningful. Good luck moving forward in your new life. Sincere admiration for getting off the floor and putting yourself back together into a more healthful person with meaningful coping skills.

JCH MD

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by ExPat2013, Dec 19, 2013
Thank-you, Dr. Hagan!

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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Dec 22, 2013
WHAT CAN YOU SAY? Some of the comments made in the obscene posts:

1. The government should ban cigarettes, trans-fats, soda sold in large containers, clothes made from non-endangered animal skins, coal, SUVs, hunting, etc.  but not cannabis which the users feel should be available to anyone.
2. Caffeine kills millions of people;  actually caffeine is healthy for most people and not lethal  see http://www.medhelp.org/heart-disease/articles/Cuppa-Joe-Friend-or-Foe/296



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by chriswill65, Dec 23, 2013
Well I have used on and off for 35 years. I can Honestly say I owned and operated a very profitable Restaurant/Tavern for 6 yrs. Not only did I preform better " w/ a little buzz" but alot of extra cleaning etc....got done while idle time was around.  I am a firm believer in MODERATION.   I don't care what drug it is, YOU RUN IT, IT DON"T RUN YOU.  I am 48 yr old female, run a plow, drive a 6-wheel dump.  It doesn't slow me down or have memory loss.

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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Dec 23, 2013
MARIJUANA NEARLY DOUBLES RISK OF COLLISIONS: SOURCE


We hear a lot about the hazards of drunk driving, but here's something else to put on your radar: A study in the British Medical Journal found that marijuana nearly doubles the risk of vehicle collisions.

Researchers conducted a systematic review of nine studies on the subject of marijuana and driving accidents, which incorporated almost 50,000 participants.

Alcohol impairs drivers' speed and reaction time, while cannabis affects spatial location, said Mark Asbridge, associate professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Among impaired drivers, fatally injured drivers, and motor vehicle crash victims, marijuana is the most prevalent illegal drug that has been detected, according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Drivers who have recently smoked marijuana may follow cars too closely, and swerve in and out of lanes, Asbridge said.

People who are impaired by alcohol often recognize that they're impaired by alcohol, but "people under the influence of cannabis often deny feeling impaired in any way," Asbridge noted.

It's not unusual for young people to go to a party and give the "designated driver" responsibility to the person who uses marijuana, Asbridge said.

"There clearly is a lot of misconception about the extent to which cannabis impairs performance," he said. "People just don't believe it."

As with alcohol, cannabis has different effects on different people. People metabolize cannabis in different ways.  Some inhale more than others.

The effects of cannabis tend to wear off within three to four hours, whereas alcohol can mess your thinking up longer. Depending on how much you drank, you may not be able to drive for up to 12 hours after you finish drinking.

If the driver is 35 or younger, there's a higher likelihood of marijuana consumption leading to collisions, previous research has found.

There's not enough information known about the effects of marijuana doses on collisions - in other words, what level of cannabis in a person's system correlates most with crashes.

And Asbridge's conclusions are based on observational studies, meaning there were no controlled conditions imposed to look at the effects of marijuana.

One problem in some of the existing research is that there was no measurement of cannabis within two to three hours of driving. Inactive metabolites of THC, a chemical found in marijuana,  can be present in urine for weeks or even a month after usage; marijuana usage so long ago would not affect driving performance or collisions. So Asbridge's group looked only at studies where there was a recent measurement. They also looked at studies that looked at both drivers who used marijuana and those who did not to compare the collision rate.

To deter marijuana usage just before driving, there is roadside testing for cannabis in Australia, western Europe and the United States, Wayne Hall of the University of Queensland in Australia said in an accompanying editorial.

Hall called for further research to evaluating the impact of roadside drug testing on preventing driver deaths connected to vehicle accidents and cannabis use.

Source: http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/09/marijuana-nearly-doubles-risk-of-collisions/


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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Dec 26, 2013
MARIJUANA AS A CAUSE OF LUNG CANCER:

http://lungcancer.about.com/od/causesoflungcance1/f/marijuana.htm

Lung Cancer Society Website

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by 216216, Dec 26, 2013
And as far as your reefer madness comments go,
"The results of the current study suggest that having an increased familial morbid risk for schizophrenia may be the underlying basis for schizophrenia in cannabis users and not cannabis use by itself."

http://www.schres-journal.com/article/S0920-9964(13)00610-5/abstract

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by franspace, Dec 27, 2013
Thanks for the information I truly appreciate you compiling this information. I have Hereditary Corproporphyria and I would not care to use Marijuana but there is a lady in our support group that is encouraging everyone to use it. I personally think she is very deluded. You might want to edit the date at the end of the article that appeared in the Kansas City Star it says in the year 2014.

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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Dec 27, 2013
Thank you.  I have a relative that has used pot for 40 years and every year tried to get me to use it. I think this almost life long use of cannabis has contributed to his many health problems including heart/lung problems and alcohol abuse.  

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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Dec 28, 2013
DETOXIFICATION AND MARIJUANNA CESSATION PROGRAMS FOR THOSE WANTING TO "GO CLEAN" AND LIVE LIFE SOBER.

Pennsylvania:

http://www.caron.org/knowledge-library/addiction-glossary/marijuana?WT.mc_id=GrantsPPC&gclid=CL3BopO007sCFUgS7AodKnIATQ

San Diego

http://addiction.utsandiego.com/directory/marijuana/

National Locator:

http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/marijuana-detox-programs/

New York

http://www.soberforever.net/marijuana-addiction-abuse-rehab-newyork.cfm

Northern California

http://www.drug-rehabilitation.com/about.htm

Note: Commercial endorsement is not intended



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by macelpermenter, Dec 29, 2013
Okay I can give you testimony if you like.... I was a user for 25 years from 15 to age 40. I could never get things quite right despite being aware I was quite bright. I was in the VAST MAJORITY of users who become listless and responsive impaired. Surprisingly I did have some positive reactions to usage , but I have come to realize that these we psychological in nature. I mean the " I concentrate better and the task better" effects. Perhaps someday they will find the THC has qualities that can mitigate issues in some individuals and synthesize this for those persons who need it I really do not know.

What I do know. all the research in the medical world is based on NORMAL human biology. and we work from the normal outward to various abnormalities whether they are intrinsic  or induced. "Mary Jane" is induced and therefore cannot be "NORMAL".

The health care ramifications of a "Normalized" society are mind boggling and would require years of social education to correct all in the name of capitalism to fix an even bigger psychological issue we suffer from called greed.

But I digress....

I have been with out the influence of "Weed" for as many years now as I was a user. I am better, stronger, smarter and by far happier than I ever was when I was quote unquote "High". Absolutely every single person with out exception that I have ever known or met who walked away as I did is a better human being as well. There are no exceptions. those that I do know who have legitimate reasons for usage suffer a loss as do any of us who alter our chemistry for any long periods. I wish them well.

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by ColbyOne23, Dec 29, 2013
Dr. Hagan, please don't ever lose your spark or passion with passing this information along, even to the haters who don't want to hear it.  I can't imagine why it would be legalized with all the downsides it has.  

To those here who chose to "kick" the habit, KUDOS to you, and I hope you continue to find your peace without it, and maybe pass along some of Dr. Hagan's information to those you know who are still users....and heck, even those you don't.

Be well everyone.  =)

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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Dec 29, 2013
COLORADO LEGAL MARIJUANA CREATING HAVOC  (excerpts Wall Street Journal, 12/26/13 "Critics of Legal Pot Say Colorado Isn't Ready Yet" Ana Campoy)

"the percentage of youngsters with pot-related charges referred by the courts jumped to 23% in 2013 from 10% in 2009"

"A federally funded survey released last week found that in states with medical-marijuana laws, 34% of 12th graders who reported using marijuana in the prior 12 months said that one of their sources was another person's medical-pot prescription."

"In the Denver-Aurora metro area, pot-related emergency room visits more than tripled to 3,871 in 2011 from 2004."

"Drug related expulsions in Colorado surged by more than 40% to around 750 in 2009-10 when medical pot dispensaries began to proliferate according to data from the Colorado Department of Education"

"Colorado hospitals report rising emergency room visits from people who consume potent marijuana brownies and oils.."



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by Emily_MHModerator, Dec 29, 2013
Hi everyone -

If you have questions about what Dr. Hagan has posted, that's fine. However, this is NOT the appropriate site to debate marijuana use. We are all certainly entitled to our beliefs, but there is no need for insults, obscenity, or defamatory comments. All such comments will be deleted, and your account could be deactivated.

We are first and foremost a medical information site, and every substance you put into your body can have side effects. Marijuana is no different, and Dr. Hagan is simply trying to inform people of the risks. You may choose to disagree, and that's fine, but this is not the appropriate forum to debate.

Emily

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by weaver71, Dec 30, 2013
I am no stranger to cannabis here in California, I am on the fence. I guess I question the motives of both pro and con cannabis. I question the motives of all drug sellers or opposers. That being said, I wonder if you think it is the addictive tendencies of. Bipolar person or if there might be something to what many testify as a calming effect? I am a recovering methadone addict. I am bipolar and one of my therapists only clients who does not use cannabis daily. I am not for or against it but is it possible that the scientific research the FDA is not finished doing is taking place in the public? Knight there opinion be skewed by some other motive than pure science, similar to the advocates. We don't understand lithium's function in the brain, or most psych meds for that matter, but the result is how we justify it to work. It is very toxic and causes irreversible toxic effects in many. Who decides when the benefits outweigh the cost? With honey oils used in a vaporizer lowers many of the risks and I have had much worse consequences from opioid side effects. I know I asked a few questions, but I am genuinely curious of your view on this. I get a one sided view in the West.

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by ROSYouralright, Dec 30, 2013
I appreciate this information and thank you for taking the time to post it Dr. H!

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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Dec 30, 2013
Lots of things calm people down that are harmful: opium, morphine, heroin, toxic amounts of alcohol, obesity causing amounts of comfort foods.  Other things calm people down in a healthy manner: meditation, exercise, cognitive behavior therapy, spending time with friends, having a pet (especially a dog), two glasses or red wine daily (for non-alcoholic and non alcohol dependent people that will stop at second glass).

That means that to calm oneself a person should use a "healthy" method or at least "health neutral" if at all possible.  The studies that are quoted above (but which are relatively unknown by the general public due to lack of media coverage) document t hat 1. Cannabis use is unhealthy [remember the issue here is not comparing cannabis to tobacco use, excessive alcohol or potent drugs unavoidable side effects in some people]. 2. Cannabis is legally a drug and should be tested like any other drug through controlled studies. Most of what studies that have been done should it would not pass FDA testing because of serious and even fatal side effects.  Frankly it is illegal on a Federal level what states are doing.

There is no bias among physicians, medical researchers or drug companies against cannabis. Much research money was put into studying cannabis for treatment of glaucoma and nausea of chemotherapy.  Cannabis is not needed for glaucoma treatment even of the most severe cases. Other, safer drugs will help the nausea of chemotherapy. Research is on-going in trying to extract the chemical in marijuana plants that might be purified and studied and prescribed rather than raw marijuana which has many toxins in it.

Cannabis is a drug and in the United States the FDA decides what is 'safe and effective".  Remember no drug is ever 100% safe and effective for everyone. Never will be. There are thousands of people that bleed to death from aspirin each year but it is sold over the counter and helps hundreds of millions of people in pain every year. Think about this like automobiles. If we outlawed cars there would be about 65,000 fewer deaths every year from auto accidents. But its not practical and the relative risks (when driving sober and carefully) are quite low. It's the same way with drugs.  Drugs contain warnings about side effects and contra-indications for people that should not take the drug at all. MJ and cannabis do not have any warnings, contraindications, and is not a 'uniform product, thus content, absorption, presence of adulterants or toxins like herbicides are unknown.

The obese rationalize their weight, the alcoholic their drinking, the tobacco user their cigarettes and the stoners/weed heads their additions. Most cannot provide any thing other than trying to link it with alcohol, cigarettes and side effects of legal drugs. Single anecdotes about personal use, many seem penned in a drug stupor, is not scientific study.  Many (as noted by MedHelp.org moderator Emily) just post angry, profane, threatening, meandering-nonsensical diatribes.

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by weaver71, Dec 30, 2013
Thank you for your sincere response. I tend to agree on most of your points. I don't like the effect cannabis has on me, so I hope I do not come off like a weed head. On the other hand, I do not agree that the pharm companies who have lost suites in federal court were innocent, nor do I think the FDA is not influenced by companies influencing our government. I won't mention specific companies. The compared examples you and the weed heads have mentioned are not the comparisons I am interested in. I think alcohol should be illegal, lots of drugs should be illegall that the FDA has approved. Research like psilocybin for cluster headaches, ibogaine for opiate detox, and cannabis effects on mental illness is the research I am curious about. My therapist wants me to have benzodiazepines on hand for psychotic episodes. Like cannabis, I do not care for the side effects, nor their dangerously addictive nature. Most meds that will suppress a psychotic episode of my BP 1 all have similar or worse side effects and/or addiction potential to cannabis, yet I have eaten cannabis and it put me down like a benzo. They don't know exactly why the prescription meds knock a manic person down, the FDA know the side effects, but personal testimony and observation recognize  the positive effects. Since personal testimonies are not enough, I wonder why more testing for mental illness is not being researched in clinical studies using cheaper, alternative medicine. Cannabis could be free to anyone with a patio or yard. If a person who is manic ingests cannabis and believed it helped, it did, so why is it such a big fuss? Avoiding controversy may influence their narrow scope of research. Iboga for example, has had a great deal of clinical studies that prove the benefits outweigh the potential danger, yet Suboxone is handed out liberally for opioid therapy. I am not assuming you are for the use of opioids to get off opioids, but it is the approved in America and approved for long term use, which has never had a clinical study. If the public is allowed to be the guinea pig in that research, how is cannabis different. I know you mentioned labeling, if the Feds label it, then it would be the same thing. I am trying not to be offensive. I just see as much lack of accountability in prescription meds as the articles discuss about cannabis. I too think more research needs to be done, and many drugs should be more strictly monitored. OxyContin, Dilaudid and cannabis are all equal in the law. Science has proven opioids have caused many more deaths and addictions than cannabis. So, trying to be more clear in my question this time. Is the approval of cannabis on a Federal level science, or political? All drugs do not seem to be treated equal, like a scientist would view them. Taboo and history seem to be influencing this issue. Both sides of this issue seem to be biased. For example, I never mentioned tobacco or alcohol in my question, but you brought that argument back to the table in your answer. I am specifically curious about meds that we don't know how they work, but testimony and observation are the only Scientific proof they work, lithium, Lamictal, Risperdal, and other psych meds. In a Democratic, Representative government, I do not see the majority voice being heard. I am new to bipolar meds after 28 years of no treatment. I would prefer to be sober with no side effects, but the majority of BP folks I meet claim marijuana helps them stay stable. I would prefer it to be illegal here, the industry and smell overwhelm the state. If it stays illegal, the industry stays in the hands of the people and supports many towns across California, since logging and railroads have collapsed. Many towns would disappear without it, literally. It's hard to believe anyone wouldn't think that economics is not part of the influence on drug testing of any kind. It is one of the biggest markets in the world. Is it possible that legal cannabis is not as bad as some say and not as good as the others proclaim? Why shouldn't people be allowed to weigh the benefits and dangers for theirselves? Is it honestly that much more dangerous than other FDA approved drugs? Their decisions and scheduling are even suspect to college teachers of addiction therapy.

Perhaps this is not your area of expertise, but seldom do I get to ask these kind of question, to many weed heads here. As  an addict, I can't use cannabis, but I know so many who use it with fewer ill effects and claim
benefit than my prescriptions for Bipolar. That is the central source of my curiosity about clinical studies and motives.

By the way, thanks for this discussion, I am not attacking your views in any way. This is a hot topic in the mountains of California and I am happy to hear, as Paul Harvey put it, "The rest of the story."





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by Boguewatch, Jan 10, 2014
Dr H.,
For years it wasn't that I agreed with you or disagreed but I didn't think that this should be the drug of choice for anyone under age or operating any kind of vehicle or machinery.  Now that being said I despised alcohol far worse as I was raised and abused and frequently thrown out of the house hence I raise myself on the streets myself. The alcohol was legal but it sure did more harm. Then I married what I knew and stayed with the legal alcohol for another 18 years. Really can't say it was better. Now I am called by the "government" elderly and have a type of pain that they have not yet developed pain killers for that people like me with MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, RUMITOID AUTHRITIS AND PARKINSON DISEASE have that canibiods can give us some measure of pain relief but they are afraid we will share it with our grandkids instead of keeping under lock and key because we need it so badly. All stories have more than one side and we are not 12-18 but over 60 in my case and just want some relief from the constant unrelenting pain. Thank you for letting me have my say. It is not legal in my state so I don't get the privilege of having a good day.

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by Brian1234552134566, Jan 11, 2014
I've always figured to truly know the risk of any drug/substance it will take a long time of close observation and research. I do feel that the risks of marijuana are poorly understood. However, I am far more concerned with alcohol/caffeine/cigarettes than I am with marijuana. There are pros and cons to legalizing marijuana. Perhaps the best way to come to the most reasonable conclusion is to try to account for everything that might be effected by it's legalization (not just health, but crime as well). I am glad more research is being done to find out the long term effects. Are the findings of the risks of marijuana in peer-reviewed journals?

I have never tried marijuana but everyone around me smokes it.

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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Jan 11, 2014
The issue about marijuana legalization/medical use is the issue.  It is not relevant to muddy the discussion with comparison to alcohol, caffeine and tobacco products. That is a false logic.  Yes much of the research reported is in peer reviewed journals

Follow this link to one of the best articles:

http://www.omagdigital.com/publication/?i=108895

JCH MD

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by realjimmy, Jul 20, 2014
Hi Doctor, Suggest me some ways where by i can reverse the damage caused by cannabis to my brain and cognitive functions. i have been clean for more than a year and also clean from nicotine.

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by realjimmy, Jul 20, 2014
this is my nth attempt to get clean and this time i went off without any medical help and after this time when i have recovered to good extent i feel improving further as i sense issues like lack of focus, inability to study and a bit restless... i am a student and its my final year in college, i really want to pass my exams with flying colors... i mixed pot with books and its yielded me a very poor result... i am past the withdrawals and all however want to get better and stronger... i do exercise and take good food..

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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Jul 20, 2014
Congratulations on the steps you have taken to improve your health and your life. So these are some suggestions: 1. be sure you do not regress into cannabis or any other mind-altering drugs 2. do not use any nicotine products 3. continue your good diet, exercise, watch your weight 4. stay mentally healthy, have a belief system 5 have "clean" friends that do not use or abuse 6. do brain exercises like on Luminosity  http://www.lumosity.com/landing_pages/632?gclid=CMbexIax1L8CFSdp7AodgG8AYw  They are helpful  6. avoid alcohol    I know it may seem like this takes the joy out of life but many people that abuse cannabis or nicotine switch to alcohol.  The maximum number of daily drinks is one for female and 2 for males. Many people cannot stop at those numbers.

Having a psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, life coach,  support group is a consistent help.

Best of luck

JCH MD


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by Ben727, Jul 20, 2014
Do you just oppose medical use, but are fine with legalization for recreational use?

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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Jul 20, 2014
I oppose recreational use and favor medical research through FDA studies not open use of poorly controlled "medical marijuana cards. Read below>

JCH MD

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by Ben727, Jul 20, 2014
Do you believe that cannabis is inherently more dangerous than alcohol?

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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Jul 20, 2014
That is not the point but a useful trope for users/abusers/purveyors of cannabis.  There is nothing in the studies reported here at all about the risks of alcohol, tobacco, mountain climbing, driving fast or flirting with a football player's girlfriend. Those are all risky behaviors none of which has anything to do with cannabis, which is chemically a drug and statutorily should only be legalized in the USA after appropriate FDA studies.

Alcohol in small quantities (one drink for women/day and two drinks for men per day, ideally red wine) may be healthful or health neutral.  Recent studies easily located show than even that small amount may not be healthy for some or most people.

No study has shown that MJ has any healthful benefits.  Alcohol is a pure substance (ethanol) whereas MJ has had over 400 chemicals identified in in including formaldehyde and ammonia.  So MJ users don't even know what and how much different chemicals they are taking into their body.

Read the new blog posted today with a new article.

JCH MD


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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Jul 20, 2014
Here is the link to new article:

http://www.medhelp.org/user_journals/index/233488

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by realjimmy, Jul 21, 2014
Thank you for the advise and suggestions. I really appreciate it.
P.S Nothing is better than a clean life with its ups and downs, but clean !

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by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank, Jul 21, 2014
Best of luck.

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