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Doctors and Govt Have Very Opposing Views on Marijuana

US Marijuana Legalization

Stanford Hospital physician, Nathaniel P. Morris, says that there are differences in the way that doctors view marijuana and the way the federal government views it. He wrote an article for Scientific American regarding the matter. Contrasted in his piece is the impact that alcohol has on the body, observed from his experience working in an emergency room.

88,000 deaths occur annually from excessive alcohol consumption, The Washington Post reports. A recent study compares the dangers of using marijuana on a long-term basis to be as “dangerous” as not flossing your teeth. It is also confirmed that it is virtually impossible to overdose on marijuana.

Morris said directly that, “The federal government’s scheduling of marijuana bears little relationship to actual patient care. The notion that marijuana is more dangerous or prone to abuse than alcohol (not scheduled), cocaine (Schedule II), methamphetamine (schedule II), or prescription opioids (Schedules II, III and IV) doesn’t reflect what we see in clinical medicine.”

Morris’ article in Scientific American includes the statement: “For most health care providers, marijuana is an afterthought” and “we don’t see cannabis overdoses. We don’t order scans for cannabis-related brain abscesses. We don’t treat cannabis-induced heart attacks. In medicine, marijuana use is often seen on par with tobacco or caffeine consumption – something we counsel patients about stopping or limiting, but nothing urgent to treat or immediately life-threatening.”

In 2010, marijuana was classified in polls as less dangerous than alcohol, tobacco, and many other drugs like methamphetamines and opioids. The developments in medical marijuana research have changed the tune of many doctors, most of which now support the regulated use of medical marijuana. The California Medical Association has already called for marijuana legalization.

In 2016, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation was formed. The federal government has been recommended to decriminalize marijuana use for over four decades. Marijuana legalization, at least in the eyes of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, view marijuana as a public health issue, not as a dangerous drug.