An Australian researcher leading a program studying medical uses of marijuana may have just set the proverbial cat among the pigeons.
Jennifer Martin, a GP and Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Newcastle, says the marijuana miracle cure is exaggerated and warns of the danger of evangelising any unconventional therapy.
“The safety and benefit of any drug that is taken by humans when they are sick and using it for treatment needs rigorously controlled study,” says Professor Martin – who is part of such a study.
“Whilst this research will not report for several years, we do not believe there is any rush to bring medical marijuana into widespread use,” she states.
The Professor makes some valid points.
However, if you’ve ever experienced chronic pain, you’re probably aware a minute can seem like an hour, a day a year and “several years” could seem like an eternity.
Many of us live with various discomforts from time to time. The bangs, scrapes and bruises – or even broken bones. Intractable pain is a very different and much crueler beast altogether. It can take all the enjoyment out of life and make even simple functions a living hell. If there is no end in sight to it, that just compounds the misery.
It’s little wonder that people wind up abusing opioids in a vain effort to manage their pain – and medical cannabis may be able to help there too. In the USA, the prevalence of opioid abuse appears to be less so in states where medical marijuana is legal.
There’s little doubt Professor Martin knows a thing or two about cannabis and scientific research. Her discouraging of unrealistic hope and hype, along with cautioning about sourcing cannabis for medical purposes, is commendable. But perhaps the good doctor may need to spend a little time studying more about empathy and the impact her column may have had on those at their wit’s end.
With regard to her rhetorical question:
“If marijuana provided such a uniquely beneficial drug, why haven’t the major pharmaceutical companies been into it?”
Perhaps they are very quietly, and those that aren’t or won’t might do what they can to ensure medical cannabis products have trouble entering the market; enabling them to wring the last buck possible from the misery some of their own products wreak.