State's Doctors At Odds Over Medical Marijuana
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State's Doctors At Odds Over Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on May 18, 2012 at 19:57:44 PT
By William Weir, The Hartford Courant 
Source: Hartford Courant
Connecticut -- Years of debate and fine-tuning in the state legislature over allowing medical marijuana still have not settled all the questions Connecticut doctors have about medical marijuana. Is it, as some contend, a humane solution for patients who can't get relief from other medicines, or a reckless move toward something that hasn't been fully tested scientifically?The Connecticut State Medical Society, which has a membership of about 7,000 practicing and training physicians, opposed the bill.
"On one hand, we're asked to be scientific and use evidence-based medicine," said Dr. Michael Krinsky, the medical society's president. "On the other hand, we're being legislated to by people who don't practice medicine, telling us this is fine to do, based on rather flimsy evidence." While it may be true that marijuana could be medically beneficial for some patients, there hasn't been enough research to confirm this, Krinsky said. "The science is not quite there yet."The fact that federal regulations do not recognize medical marijuana also causes some concern."That's a very difficult position to put a physician in," he said.In 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said he would not prosecute physicians or patients acting under state medical marijuana laws, as long as they did so in good faith. The federal government maintained a hands-off approach to state marijuana laws until late last year, when federal agents began cracking down on California dispensaries."I think there's some anxiety about what the federal government's attitude will be about it," said Dr. Andrew Salner, chief of the department of radiation oncology at Hartford Hospital, who has long been an advocate for medical marijuana.Salner said he doesn't believe federal regulations will be a problem in Connecticut."Clearly, there's a groundswell that this is the right thing to do for people who don't respond to other medications," he said.The federal actions in California caused Delaware Gov. Jack Markell to end the state's regulated marijuana dispensary program in February, less than a year after the state created it.But the California crackdown hasn't caused any concern in Maine, which has allowed marijuana dispensaries since 2009, said Andrew MacLean, deputy executive vice president at the Maine Medical Association. For one thing, he said, Maine is much smaller than California. Also, he said, Maine has kept much tighter control over the dispensaries and the relationship between medical marijuana practitioners and patients.Since 1999, Maine had allowed doctors to issue certificates for the use of medicinal marijuana, but there was no place for patients to legally obtain it until 2009. Originally, MacLean said, his organization and most doctors in the state opposed medical marijuana. But the move toward regulated dispensaries  plus 10 years of public discussion  changed that."I would say that, yes, [doctors] were resistant," MacLean said. "We opposed the legislation the first time around, but I think opinions among physicians, as among the general public, have evolved."While conventional medications go through a rigorous approval process from theU.S. Food and Drug Administration, Krinsky said, marijuana hasn't had the same kind of scrutiny. He also wonders how dosages of marijuana would be prescribed."Does a physician prescribe one toke or two?" he said.As for dosages, Salner said, "I think each person needs to do that by trial and error to see what works for them. Generally speaking, a small amount will work."Salner said he estimates that 1 percent of the patients he sees can benefit from medical marijuana. He has for the last few years occasionally suggested it to patients."I'll recommend it, and some patients say, 'Oh, yeah, I know where I can get it,'" he said. "Others have said they've already tried it. And other patients say, 'I wouldn't dare, that's illegal and I wouldn't put myself or family at risk by going to someone on the street.'"A law allowing medical marijuana would eliminate that risk, Salner said."If I tell a patient that they might benefit from medical marijuana for their nausea and pain, I put myself at risk and making that recommendation puts [patients] at risk," he said.Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, a toxicologist at Hartford Hospital, said allowing medical marijuana in the state "is a good idea in principle," but adds that she has several questions about it. For instance, how would pharmacies dispensing marijuana protect themselves against robberies, and how would residents react to a marijuana dispensary in their neighborhood?"I think there are so many details that have to be worked out," she said.As the bill is written, doctors would be allowed to issue a certificate for marijuana to patients diagnosed with cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, epilepsy, cachexia, wasting syndrome,Crohn's disease orpost-traumatic stress disorder. Pharmacists licensed by the state would dispense the marijuana.If Gov.Dannel P. Malloysigns the bill, as expected, officials from the state Department of Consumer Protection will devise details about how dispensaries would be run and regulated. Claudette Carveth, spokeswoman for the department, said those details would be available by summer, if the bill is signed. The law would take effect Oct. 1.Dr. Angela Kueck, a gynecologic oncologist at the University of Connecticut Health Center, said she practiced medicine in Michigan shortly after that state passed its own medical marijuana law."Among a lot of the physicians who were not in support of it, there was a fear of abuse," she said, adding that these concerns were unfounded. "Things were running pretty smoothly. There were not a lot of signs of abuse or misuse."Kueck said opinions may be different in other fields of medicine, but among oncologists she has spoken to, most are overwhelmingly in favor of allowing medical marijuana. And with more education about the medical use of marijuana, Kueck said, she expects more doctors to be in favor of it.Source: Hartford Courant (CT)Author: William Weir, The Hartford Courant Published: May 18, 2012Copyright: 2012 The Hartford CourantContact: letters courant.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #20 posted by Oleg the Tumor on May 21, 2012 at 10:49:14 PT:
You can remember all the words?Your wager is safe, though.The "alphabet soup" that opposes us forgets that we are the "Bread of Life", which absorbs whatever is in the bowl.The Ballot will settle this issue in the end, even if it means the irrelevance of the Presidency and quite possibly Congress as well.(I still have a hard time believing that they destroyed the hemp industry at the height of the Depression when so many needed work, just like today.)
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Comment #19 posted by runruff on May 20, 2012 at 18:27:40 PT
Nolo-posse comitatus?
No problem at all, militarize domestic cops, there problem solved.The Praetorian Guard worked flawlessly for Cesar.The Brown Shirts did the job for the Little Paper Hanger.The Black Shirts were the dealio for IL DeuceStalin had KGB and millions of other "useful Idiots" insuring his welfare.The nuvo-dictatorial powers in DC have the DEA, The BATF, FBI, I'm not sure but I think these groups were named after a variety of Campbell Soups.If you can show me a difference between them and us, or even where the Constitution and bill of rights authorize these in-home, in-bred terrorist, I will bend over backwards and kiss my own tush right in front of Macy's in NYC on Thanks Giving Day Wearing a jester's hat, a red diaper and over-sized clown shoes while singing "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?"!
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Comment #18 posted by Sam Adams on May 20, 2012 at 16:18:09 PT
of course CT's governor isn't "afraid" of being sued by Monsanto. No, he's been paid to do what they want! Of course.Just like Pharma paid him to write a medical marijuana bill with a prohibition on actually growing the plant. CT's legsilature had approved bills with patient growing several times over the last 10 years, but somehow those bills never passed. But this year, the bill was actually written by the governor's office! Now, that's a bill that can be signed! Medical marijuana is "legal", and the bill is "well-crafted" so that only a few thousand people out of 5 million will be protected.No worries, there will still be thousands of sick people in CT growing medicine, plenty of fodder for the SWAT teams!
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Comment #17 posted by Richard Zuckerman on May 20, 2012 at 10:42:21 PT:
Connecticut governor's cowardice/special interests
Another example of Connecticut is their Governor's lame excuse for veto of the legislation which would have required labeling of genetically-modified food: He was afraid Monsanto would file lawsuit against the State. What a pathetic Governor!!! Monsanto would have no cause of action for filing a lawsuit against Connecticut for passing a law requiring labeling of GM food!! It is within the legitimate police power of the State to require food labeling of potentially hazardous ingredients. Had the Governor signed the Bill into law, Monsanto would have filed their (frivolous) lawsuit, the State of Connecticut would have filed a motion to dismiss in lieu of filing an Answer on the grounds the State has legitimate concerns from scientists to require food labeling of GM ingredients!! Now, we are in the context of the medical Marijuana issue and the special interests are imposing their IGNORANT views upon the Connecticut Governor!!!
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Comment #16 posted by Richard Zuckerman on May 20, 2012 at 10:33:05 PT:
The opposition are the "special interests":
Connecticut should accept the opposition's argument with a grain of salt because the opposition has no real experience with medical "Marijuana", probably do not know what they are talking about in opposing medical Cannabis/"Marijuana", and are probably loyal to the allopathic medical community. The States with medical Cannabis/"Marijuana" have experienced LEGAL problems from medical Cannabis/"Marijuana", not medical problems. The opposition constitute the "special interests", Big Industry, opposing naturopathy and the grass roots community.
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on May 20, 2012 at 07:12:06 PT
When they always say drugs kill and young people watch them jammin on stage it would make them wonder what the drug war is really about. SNL was really good last night.
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Comment #14 posted by BGreen on May 20, 2012 at 06:03:01 PT
Mick Jagger and Jeff Beck
Mick is almost 69 and Jeff is almost 68. To all of the young people who think they are the only ones who can rock, proven wrong, case closed.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on May 20, 2012 at 03:59:39 PT
Mick Jagger
I thought he was funny. When he sang Satisfaction so out of tune it made me laugh.Our culture is alive and well.
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Comment #12 posted by BGreen on May 19, 2012 at 22:42:25 PT
Mick Jagger
He's quite the comedian, isn't he? It was a funny show.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on May 19, 2012 at 21:14:34 PT
Whoo... I know it's only Rock n Roll....
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Comment #10 posted by observer on May 19, 2012 at 18:13:24 PT
Sam Adams writes, "The 7,000 doctors of Connecticut decided to leave sick people and their herbal medicine to police and jails. Funny how the words "police" and "jail" didn't appear in their press release, did they?"True! This is one of my pet peeves I keep harping on. What kind of blind spot is it, where the "State's" kept/court "Doctors" just can't get around to addressing those inconvenient teensy details of arrest, jail, and imprisonment?
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on May 19, 2012 at 17:54:01 PT
Off Topic: SNL
I am looking forward to seeing Sir Mick Jagger host SNL tonight. I hope everyone is having a nice weekend. The best thing for staying in a good mood is don't turn on the TV News. I have been in a much better mood since we decided to turn it off and listen to music or do work around home. Have a good night.
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on May 19, 2012 at 15:01:03 PT
Surfed here from somewhere.
The Union: The Business Behind Getting High - Full Movie - High Quality
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on May 19, 2012 at 13:29:21 PT
Like these.
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Comment #6 posted by BGreen on May 19, 2012 at 12:06:48 PT
There's only one real answer
Doctors apparently just don't know enough to be trusted with the cannabis plant. They are drunk with power and money, self-prescribing toxic chemicals and subscribe to the anti-Hippocratic oath of 'first, we must harm.'Although cannabis is an incredibly useful herb with tremendous medical benefits, it is NOT a drug and has no business being regulated as such.Doctors and pharmacists are just legal drug pushers. There's no surer way of destroying cannabis than to let these purveyors of death take control of our gentle plant. Look at the death caused by the cops sticking their nasty noses in it.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #5 posted by Sam Adams on May 19, 2012 at 11:05:53 PT
oustanding police video!!!!
Oh, how doctors love to talk about DOSAGE! Dosage they MUST control - treating us like so many unthinking animals at the vet hospital.The 7,000 doctors of Connecticut decided to leave sick people and their herbal medicine to police and jails. Funny how the words "police" and "jail" didn't appear in their press release, did they?HERE is the regulatory system these 7,000 compassionate doctors prefer for YOU:
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on May 19, 2012 at 11:02:19 PT
again I can't help but read this and think of the utter madness of our times.Here in the US the incidence of several types of deadly cancer such as breast, thyroid, pancreas, etc. is 10 times, 20 times, even 50 TIMES the rate in poor, 3rd world countries!  Our system of keeping people healthy is TERRIBLE! The meds the doctors are giving out KILL 200,000 people per year! And yet look at the astonishing arrogance. The American system is plagued with this attitude. We live under an oppressive police state, and any suggestion to change bad, corrosive practices is greeted by the ruling class with bluster & derision.These doctors are doing an AWFUL job at health policy! We've greatly decreased tobacco smoking, and yet this generation of Americans will be the first to die younger than their parents since the 1800's!  The "experts" quoted in this article are actively helping you to an early grave! think for yourself if you want to live. It's become that serious, it really has.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 19, 2012 at 10:35:16 PT
I haven't been watching news lately since it is depressing but if Romney wins we will be set back many years. I would like to see change before too much longer. 
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Comment #2 posted by Oleg the Tumor on May 19, 2012 at 08:52:17 PT:
Hello out there? Other state medical associations?
"The Connecticut State Medical Society, which has a membership of about 7,000 practicing and training physicians, opposed the bill."It wasn't that long ago when the California Medical Association recommended legalization of cannabis.
And they have a lot more than 7000 in California.
 They're binding me - with science!Resuscitate the hemp industry before it's too late!
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Comment #1 posted by TroutMask on May 19, 2012 at 06:54:01 PT
What about the Gateway Effect?
There is never a mention that doctors are afraid of the "gateway effect", that marijuana is a "gateway" to using other drugs.Based on these arguments by medical pros, it seems the gateway effect is no longer a legitimate concern. Except for Mitt Romney, who told us here in Colorado that marijuana should not be legal for any reasons because he believes it is a "gateway drug". It's good to see society getting wiser, but bad to see a US presidential candidate still basing legislative decisions on the ignorance of the past (in more than just this way, I should add).
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