In states where marijuana is approved for recreational use, we propose the gradual phasing out of the medical marijuana system in favor of one class of marijuana.
Legalized marijuana is part of America’s future. The federal government may still classify it as a Schedule I drug, but, in most states, the public has reasonable access to marijuana for at least some purpose. We believe that development is, in general, a good thing.
Marijuana sales are typically bifurcated and regulated for recreational or medical purposes. To purchase medical marijuana from a dispensary, you first need a recommendation from a licensed doctor, and you must have a condition that qualifies for medical marijuana use. This process reinforces widely held beliefs that marijuana is a medication comparable to FDA-approved therapies which have been researched for years and undergone clinical trials. In truth, medical marijuana has only a veneer of legitimacy. That legitimacy is not warranted considering the serious gaps in current research.
Marijuana’s treatment as a class of medicine is unlike any other class of medicine that currently exists – and functions largely outside of conventional treatment settings. Medical marijuana is treated as a panacea for many medical issues with little clinical research proving whether it treats those issues or if there are any risks with using medical marijuana, often chronically and in high doses, as a treatment.
With that in mind, we have published a white paper that provides information on why the issues with this overlap must be addressed. While we favor phasing out the medical marijuana infrastructure in territories where marijuana is approved for other purposes, we also advocate for:
- Legalization of adult-use marijuana in the United States
- Efforts to advance the study of marijuana by lowering barriers to research
- Additional physician guidance for patients seeking to use marijuana for any purpose, including for symptomatic relief
- Public health efforts to educate marijuana users regarding its risks
- Introduction of support systems for dependent users in need of assistance
Medical marijuana may have been introduced with good intentions, but it has the effect of lowering perceptions of risk and confusing at-risk patients, all under the guise of legitimate medical application. The research on marijuana for most medical purposes is inconclusive, and effective government endorsement only further complicates matters for people suffering and physicians responsible for prescribing it.
In states where marijuana is approved for sale, we propose the gradual phasing out of the medical marijuana system in favor of one class of marijuana.
Michael M. Michaud
Contributing Author, Public Policy
Public policy and communications professional with a focus on the intersection of public policy and business.
Weedless.org is a free, web-based resource and community created by a team of healthcare professionals and researchers. We distill the facts about marijuana use and its effects into practical guidance for interested persons or for those who are thinking about or struggling to quit weed. Finding reliable, easy to understand information about marijuana should never be a struggle—that is why our core mission is to provide the most up to date information about marijuana use, abuse, addiction, and withdrawal. While we seek to empower individuals to have control over their use, we are not “anti-weed” and we support efforts to legalize adult marijuana use and study.