Three out of four doctors would prescribe marijuana to a patient who was experiencing pain from cancer, according to the results of a poll published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The poll included 1,446 votes from 56 states and 72 countries, though most responses came from North America. For the poll, doctors were presented with the case of a 68-year-old woman named Marilyn, who was experiencing symptoms from metastatic breast cancer. They were asked to vote on whether medical marijuana should be prescribed to her for these symptoms, and were also presented with two opinion pieces written for doctors both for and against medical marijuana.
Researchers found from the results that “physicians in favor of medicinal marijuana often focused on [their] responsibility as caregivers to alleviate suffering,” they wrote. “Many pointed out the known dangers of prescription narcotics, supported patient choice, or described personal experience with patients who benefited from the use of marijuana.”
Meanwhile, researchers noted that those who were against the use of medical marijuana said that there is not enough evidence to support its use, and they also raised concerns about dosages and side effects.
“I think there’s some context that needs to be considered,” Dr. Bradley Flansbaum, one of the doctors who said he would prescribe marijuana to the theoretical patient, told HealthDay. “This was a woman with stage 4 cancer who wasn’t responding to [anti-nausea medications]. I’m not saying let’s legalize marijuana, but this is a woman at the end of her life, so what’s the downside, given that there might be a benefit. In a different situation, medical marijuana might not be so well embraced.”
Marijuana use is illegal in the United States, but it is legal for medical purposes — and with a prescription — in 19 states, UPI reported. CBS News pointed out that it’s been shown to help with pain, appetite and mood for medical use, but it is still not approved by the FDA.
A ballot measure that would reduce the number of pot shops in Los Angeles, but keep some open, took off during early voting returns Tuesday night.
With 14% of precincts reporting at 11 p.m., about 64% of voters supported Proposition D, which would keep about 130 dispensaries open.
It is one of three measures on Tuesday’s ballot that would change regulations on medical marijuana in Los Angeles. The measure with the most votes will win, but only if it receives more than 50% of the vote. If none of the three receives majority approval, they all fail.
Proposition D would shrink the number of pot shops to about 130, allowing only those operating before a failed 2007 city moratorium on dispensaries to stay open. The measure was backed by a coalition of older shops as well as a labor union that has organized workers at many of them.
Measure F, which had 43% support in early returns, would place no limit on the number of pot shops but would require them to submit to city audits, test cannabis for toxins, submit to city audits and remain a certain distance from schools, parks and other dispensaries. It was pushed by a coalition of shops that opened after the 2007 moratorium.
A third measure, Initiative Ordinance E, had 38% support. That measure would permit only the older shops without raising taxes.
LOS ANGELES, March 12, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The following is a statement by Advocates for the Disabled and Seriously Ill:
In a recent report, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the Federal government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), stated that marijuana “inhibited the survival of both estrogen receptor–positive and estrogen receptor–negative breast cancer cell lines.” The same report showed marijuana slows or stops the growth of certain lung cancer cells and suggested that marijuana may provide “risk reduction and treatment of colorectal cancer.”
Referring to the NCI report, Patient Rights attorney Matthew Pappas said, “The Federal government’s continuing attack on people prescribed medical cannabis by their doctors is hypocritical considering the benefits reported by its own National Cancer Institute.” Pappas represents patients in defending their right to reasonably obtain medical marijuana. The patients contend the Federal government and various municipalities are trying to prevent them from obtaining cannabis for medical purposes in direct contravention of state laws. “Cities that ban dispensaries are denying patients the ability to obtain a medicine the Federal government’s National Institutes of Health says fights cancer and they’re doing it with the Obama Administration’s help.” Recently, the City of Los Angeles repealed its ban of medical marijuana collectives after Bill Rosendahl, a member of its city council diagnosed with cancer and prescribed medical marijuana said to fellow council members about the ban, “You want to kill me? You want to throw me under the bus?”
The NCI report also examined whether patients who smoke marijuana rather than ingesting it orally are exposed to a higher risk of lung and certain digestive system cancers. According to the government, 19 studies “failed to demonstrate statistically significant associations between marijuana inhalation and lung cancer.” The report also identified a separate study of 611 lung cancer patients that showed marijuana was “not associated with an increased risk of lung cancer or other upper aerodigestive tract cancers and found no positive associations with any cancer type.” In the area of prostate cancer, the NCI report was inconclusive and suggested further research was necessary. In its report, the National Cancer Institute also identified a “study of intratumoral injection of delta-9-THC in patients with recurrent glioblastoma” that showed tumor reduction in the test participants.
Despite the Federal government sanctioned and authorized NCI report, Pappas said Congress and the Obama Administration have continued to thwart marijuana research. In an announced effort to displace state medical marijuana laws, the Office of National Drug Control Policy described “medical” marijuana as a “myth” fueling “troubling misconceptions” in documents found on its website. The Federal government appears to be focused on creating more chemical drugs, many of which are the subject of various attorney television commercials seeking out those adversely impacted by those drugs. Pappas said both the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Office of National Drug Control Policy continue to assert marijuana lacks any medicinal value despite the research showing cannabis reduces certain cancer risks and inhibits the growth of tumor cells. He also commented that the Federal government’s anti-marijuana position contributes to and encourages prejudice and public misconception about the legitimate use of medical cannabis as treatment for seriously ill patients. (cont’d)