But the first major study on the effects of marijuana in two decades also indicated that pot smokers can achieve the same pain reduction at low doses as higher doses — meaning they don’t have to get high to obtain relief for medical conditions.
“We found that low-strength (doses of smoked marijuana) was as good as high strength in resolving pain,” said one of the researchers, Dr. Barth Wilsey, a UC Davis specialist in pain medicine and anesthesiology. “But the lower dose did not cause confusion.”
These are the results we reported on yesterday with Paul Armentano from the CMCR press conference on NORML SHOW LIVE. These studies were undertaken as a result of a 1999 California law to test scientifically the claims of medical marijuana advocates. After fourteen years of medical marijuana opponents saying, “Yeah, but smoked marijuana isn’t medicine!” we have human clinical trials showing that, yes, smoked marijuana is medicine.
But isn’t it interesting how media frame the same exact story?
Here at NORML, we run the headline: “‘Gold Standard’ Studies Show That Inhaled Marijuana Is Medically Safe And Effective”
In Sacramento, they run the headline: “Getting high not needed for pot to relieve pain, new UC study shows“
Another “Yeah, but” response to good news about medical marijuana. “Yeah, but you don’t have to get high!”
These patients were using the only NIDA-approved source of marijuana for clinical studies – that low-THC seeds-and-stems-blend grown at the University of Mississippi and still delivered to four remaining federal medical marijuana patients (you did know there is legal federal medical marijuana, right?)
The prohibitionists know they’ve lost the medical marijuana battle. The only avenue left to them now is to fight the high. Get that medicinal benefit in a pill, spray, salve, or inhaler, minus that pesky high. Legalize medical marijuana but only allow sales of low-potency strains.
Once again, maintaining medical marijuana without pursuing full legalization is a path to stricter control of marijuana. Ironically, under full legalization, more cannabis strains would be available in a variety of reliable potencies. Those patients and consumers who want to get pain relief without a high would be able to find the variety that works for them. But so long as marijuana is prohibited for 95% of its consumers, the Iron Law of Prohibition will dictate that strains will be of the most potent varieties.