Educating the Public on the Benefits of Medicinal Cannabis for Debilitating Conditions
Medical cannabis is proven to be a safe and effective treatment option for a broad range of serious medical conditions. A vast majority of Americans — including 76% of physicians who said they would recommend medical cannabis to a patient — recognize the legitimate medical benefits of cannabis (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMclde1305159)
A large number of renowned medical organizations also recognize these benefits. The American Medical Association, The American College of Physicians, and the Institute of Medicine have all acknowledged the potential benefits of medical cannabis, and several additional major health organizations support legal access to medical marijuana, including the American Public Health Association and the American Nurses Association.
In addition to enjoying strong physician backing nationwide, doctors in South Carolina also believe patients should have legal, safe access to medical cannabis. Dr. Stephen Merlin, MD, an addiction specialist who has practiced in South Carolina for almost 30 years, said:
I have come to believe medical cannabis should be allowed because of the clear objective evidence of its efficacy, and because it is so much less dangerous than opioids and many other medications. I support the Compassionate Care Act because this bill has medical safeguards — it stipulates that a legitimate medical doctor with a doctor-patient relationship must issue a recommendation … it stipulates conditions for which medical cannabis has been proven to benefit as well. This bill is not a pathway to legalization or a first step towards recreational use. It is a narrowly tailored, state-regulated approach that will ensure safe and legal access for patients with debilitating conditions.
According to a review of more than 10,000 scientific abstracts released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in January 2017, “There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective” in the treatment of chronic pain in adults, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and multiple sclerosis spasticity. It also found no link between smoking cannabis and lung cancer; no physiological ‘gateway’ effect; and no link between cannabis use and mortality, overdose deaths, or occupational accidents. http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=24625
Drugs that may be legally administered to patients — including cocaine, morphine, and methamphetamine — often come with serious side effects, and many patients simply do not respond to them. South Carolina should allow access to medical cannabis, which has a far lower risk of dependency and does not cause fatal overdoses.