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Letter to the Editor: Responding to ‘Regarding the medical marijuana debate’

In a recent opinion shared by Dr. Peter Ahlering in the April 3 issue, “Regarding the medical marijuana debate,” the title reads “medical marijuana,” yet the studies referenced from Colorado examine the impacts of legal recreational marijuana. With this topic being so new and education on it necessary, it’s important we distinguish and acknowledge the differences between medical and recreational marijuana. Cannabis used for medicinal purposes [including the derivative cannabidiol (CBD) oils] vs. cannabis used for recreation are different in their chemical make-up.

Medicinal marijuana and CBD oils have very low – trace amounts – to no THC, the hallucinogenic compound found in recreational marijuana. The governmental studies from Colorado make it clear that while there is correlation, there is not enough evidence to suggest causation. Every study I’ve seen so far refrains from making significant conclusions and suggests more study is necessary. 

The safety cautions of medical marijuana are similar to that of any prescribed medication: do not mix with other drugs or alcohol, and do not operate heavy machinery within a certain time of consumption.

I’m not in a rush to legalize marijuana for recreational use, but when we know that medical marijuana has shown to be effective in pain management for some cancer patients as well as in controlling seizures in certain epileptic patients, not to mention the fact that we are in the midst of dealing with an opioid crisis, it behooves us to continue to explore this as an alternative treatment method, and not so quickly draw conclusions especially when there are no studies that are yet ready to make their own conclusions.

Thank you for your time and for a great publication.

Julie Nguyen

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