|war against some drugs
The Shifting Medical View on Marijuana
IN A RECENT poll conducted by Medscape, a website directed at health care providers, 76 percent of physicians and 89 percent of nurses said they thought marijuana should be available as a medicine. That's a big change from the attitude in the medical community a decade ago, when few health providers believed (or would acknowledge) that cannabis had any medical utility. That was not surprising; physicians receive most of their new drug education from journal articles or from drug company advertisements and promotions, and neither of these sources provides information about medical marijuana.
The dramatic change of view is the result of clinical experience. Doctors and nurses have seen that for many patients cannabis is more useful, less toxic, and less expensive than the conventional medicines prescribed for diverse syndromes and symptoms, including multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, migraine headaches, severe nausea and vomiting, convulsive disorders, the AIDS wasting syndrome, chronic pain, and many others.
A mountain of anecdotal evidence speaks to marijuana's medical versatility and striking lack of toxicity. Even the federally sponsored Institute of Medicine has grudgingly acknowledged that marijuana has medical uses.
However, the government itself refuses to learn. Its official position, as stated recently by the new DEA administrator, is that "marijuana is not a medicine."