Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2019 - 26

M e d i c a l R e c o R d F e at u R e

A Visit to the
Dispensary
by Sherry L. Blumenthal, MD, MSEd, FACOG

M

ost of my colleagues will not see patients
for a consultation for a medical marijuana
prescription, but many will see patients to
whom it has been prescribed. There have been many
reasoned debates on whether or not legalization of
marijuana for medical use is a sound decision.
Of course, marijuana is an herb that has been used for
thousands of years and became illegal in the US in 1937.
There are many theories as to why marijuana was banned,
the most persuasive theories being that Big Pharma was
against it for financial reasons, or that it was believed
to be a "gateway drug" and a source of harm. Listing
marijuana as Schedule I, no medical use, goes in the face
of evidence, however, and this has effectively prevented
research that would be helpful in the current climate.
At issue is the fact that there is widespread use of
marijuana, whether legal or not. As a "child" of the 60s
I can state an enormous amount of anecdotal evidence
that social use of marijuana caused no permanent harm.
There was even a student in my medical school class who
grew high-quality "weed" in his closet and did appear
"stoned" throughout medical school. He was able to get
and complete a surgical residency in the army, and is now

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a General!! This is not an endorsement for recreational
use of marijuana in medical school, just an anecdote.
Of course, the illegal marijuana available in 2018 is
"not your parents' marijuana," but instead is 12% more
potent and can be "cut" with many other potentially
dangerous substances. This apparently has stopped no
one from "self-medication" for anxiety, sleep, PTSD, or
pain. Many medical students now laugh at the myths
about "Reefer Madness" as they "vape" or smoke. There
are plenty of homemade edibles and plenty of easy ways
to get marijuana delivered to your door. It would be
reassuring if there was more science behind marijuana use.
In 2018, about 30 states have legalized marijuana
for medical use. There is a very persuasive lobby in PA
that convinced the legislators and Governor Wolf to pass
and sign legislation. Federal law prohibits marijuana
use, but President Obama's administration was not
active in enforcing the law. The ATF and FBI have
more pressing concerns! The current Attorney General,
however, maintains older ideas about marijuana and has
expressed the desire to enforce the federal statutes.
The PA Medical Society voiced opposition to
legalization on the grounds that there was not enough


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Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2019

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