This letter is in response to The Sun's editorial on medical marijuana ("Go slow," Jan. 3). Recently, a medical marijuana panel commissioned by the Maryland legislature recommended two divergent proposals. One recommends dispensaries allow doctors to recommend marijuana to patients, and the other allows research institutions to test the efficacy of marijuana on human test subjects. The Sun supports the latter view. I find the support of this viewpoint to be quite frankly absurd.
Marijuana has been one of the most researched drugs in the 20th century. Civilizations have been using the substance for thousands of years. You say we need more research? The FDA routinely approves pharmaceutical drugs that they know to be harmful. How many times have we heard of an FDA approved medication killing its users? Too many times to count.
Yet The Sun believes we need more research on a drug that has zero recorded deaths. Maybe more research on ailment specific usage, but even with FDA approved medications doctors still have to experiment with the unique variables for their specific patient. Medicine is still an evolving science; no amount of research will find all the problems or intricacies of a medication.
Marijuana has proven safe enough to be prescribed by doctors without the bureaucratic apparatus of research institution led viewpoint advocated by Health Secretary Dr. Joshua Sharfstein. How long until we allow patients to use marijuana medicinally without being forced to procure their medicine on the black market? How long until we allow patients to bypass the complex and suffocating legal system to get their medicine? According to Dr. Sharfstein and The Sun, investigating the "effectiveness, side effects, indications, appropriate dose and so on" would take years if not decades to satisfy their need for "more research."
Research institutions are not large enough or equipped enough to deal with the large amount of patients who require and use medical marijuana. Not to mention that 72 percent of Marylanders support the idea of patients having easy, legal access marijuana. Most likely this would be achieved through dispensaries rather than research institutions due to the fact that marijuana has already been proven to effectively help these ailments and patients (something that inevitably comes down to the doctor/patient relationship regardless of research).
Therefore, Sen. David Brinkley's proposal of allowing doctors to prescribe this already well researched medicine to their patients through dispensaries is vastly superior to the antiquated viewpoint repeated for decades of "more research" advocated by Dr. Sharfstein and The Sun.
Christopher Snyder, Abingdon