More reasons to oppose SB73

More reasons to oppose SB73

I still have concerns with cannabis – and specifically SB73.  Earlier I posted some of the technical issues with the bill.  Issues that have been laughed off because it is more important to help people with pain.  Well, the same can be said about ObamaCare.  “We have to pass the bill” – in this case it was to know what was in it, for the Utah bill it seems to be just to do it.

In researching the effects of cannabis and marijuana I have even more questions about the science behind it.  And in the words of the Senator sponsoring the bill ““I think there are too many unanswered questions about this bill and I vote NO” when voting on sb89 – I say there are too many unanswered questions about SB73.

The media is focusing on only one side of this debate and highlighting the pain of certain patients.  What is being ignored in this discussion is the harmful effects of marijuana and how it can destroy lives.

Here are some concerns of medical marijuana from the scientific community (bold and underline sections are my emphasis):

The American Medical Association policy states that medical marijuana research is incomplete and calls for further adequate and well controlled studies to be conducted. AMA stresses “more research is needed on the public health, medical, economic and social consequences of use of cannabis”.

“Although most adolescents use illicit sources, more adolescents appear to be using diverted medical marijuana, than using medical marijuana legally.” (Am. Journal of Adolesc Health. 2015 Aug;57(2):241-4. Adolescents’ Use of Medical Marijuana: A Secondary Analysis of Monitoring the Future Data.)

There are studies on the consequences on Unintentional Poisoning.  (What we do know about marijuana (New England Journal of Medicine “Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use,” June 5 2014 and “Medical Marijuana’s Public Health Lessons – Implications for Retail Marijuana in Colorado, March 12, 2015)

-States where medical marijuana is legal have been shown to have higher rates of calls to poison-control centers for unintentional marijuana exposure in children under 9 years of age.

-The call rate in states that passed legislation prior to 2005 increased by 30.3% calls per year, and states that passed legislation between 2005 – 2011 had a trend toward an increase of 11.5% per year.

-More patients sought care at a Denver-area children’s hospital because of unintentional marijuana use after medical marijuana became commercially available.

The September 2011 edition of the Annals of Epidemiology states “Among youths ages 12-17, marijuana use rates were higher in states with medical marijuana laws (8.6%) compared with those without such laws (6.9%).”

SB73 also states the the drug should be treated like others approved by the FDA.  However: The FDA’s role in the regulation of drugs, including marijuana and marijuana-derived products, also includes review of applications to market drugs to determine whether proposed drug products are safe and effective for their intended indications. The FDA’s drug approval process requires that clinical trials be designed and conducted in a way that provide the agency with the necessary scientific data upon which the FDA can make its approval decisions. Without this review, the FDA cannot determine whether a drug product is safe and effective. It also cannot ensure that a drug product meets appropriate quality standards. For certain drugs that have not been approved by the FDA, such as marijuana, the lack of FDA approval and oversight means that the purity and potency of the drug may vary considerably (http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucm421163.htm)
SB73 addresses whether an “individual with a qualifying illness” can obtain cannabis from a new cannabis dispensary.  These are way too vague of definitions and open to very broad interpretation.  We don’t need either one.  If their physicians feels like they need THC it should be prescribed as recognized medications (like marinol) with approved uses, and known dosing and treatment schedule.  There is too much variability and not enough research on what compounds should be taken, how much, and how often for what diseases.  Regarding THC extract for epilepsy, Utah doesn’t need to invent the wheel, when there is an ongoing trial for this. 

A compromise would be to pass a bill allowing use of THC-compounds for research purposes and according to the FDA trial protocols.

Additionally, “There is no scientific evidence that the effect of marijuana in diminishing pain is related to any specifically identified analgesic effect. That it unequivocally does produce a short-term CNS [central nervous system] euphoria, which alleviates some pain centrally, best explains its mechanism for both reducing pain short-term during the period of influence as well as causing the euphoria associated with addictive drugs of abuse.” (Marijuana Is Not Good Medicine, from “Medical Marijuana: A Viable Tool in the Armamentaria of Physicians Treating Chronic Pain?”  Case Study and Commentary,” May 2013 issue of Pain Medicine. Gregory Bunt, MD)

About author

Richard Jaussi
Richard Jaussi 32 posts

Richard is a political junkie. He teaches Political Science and US Constitution courses at a University. Richard can be found reading books on American history and politics. He resides in Utah County with his wife, 4 kids, and Frodo (their dog). You can reach him at fortyfivepolitics@gmail.com.

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