Medical Marijuana

"Medical Marijuana" 


February 1995

The illegal or harmful use of psychoactive drugs is a major threat to all world communities and to future generations.  Drug Watch International is a volunteer drug prevention network of experts from a wide range of professions whose mission is to help assure a healthier and safer world through drug prevention.

Lie: Marijuana is an effective medication for nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy.

Truth: Oncologists overwhelmingly reject the idea of prescribing smoked marijuana.  Crude marijuana contains over 400 different chemicals.  THC, the main active ingredient in crude marijuana, is available as the prescription drug Marinol for the treatment of nausea associated with chemotherapy; however, safer and more effective anti-emetic medications are available and preferred by oncologists.

Lie: Marijuana is a beneficial treatment for glaucoma.

Truth:  There is no scientific evidence that marijuana prevents the progression of visual loss in glaucoma.  While marijuana, as well as alcohol and a host of other substances, can lower intraocular eye pressure, the medication must be carefully tailored to the individual to prevent further eye damage.  Besides numerous adverse side effects of smoking marijuana, the dose cannot be controlled.

Lie: Crude marijuana is effective in treating the wasting syndrome associated with AIDS.

Truth:  Smoking marijuana compromises the immune system and puts AIDS patients at significant risk for infections and respiratory problems.  Current scientific studies show that Marinol (oral THC), which is available to treat AIDS wasting syndrome, is effective in increasing appetite but is ineffective in increasing weight gain.

Lie: The government is withholding important medicine from suffering patients by not allowing the prescribing of marijuana.

Truth:  Crude marijuana does not meet the scientific requirements for efficacy, quality, purity and safety necessary to be considered medicine.  It is neither compassionate nor medically responsible to prescribe harmful impure substances to ill people.

Lie:  Smoking marijuana reduces the spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis.        

Truth:  In a recent double-blind scientific study, the latest high-tech electronic monitoring equipment was used to determine if smoked marijuana had any benefit in treating spasticity in patients with MS.  The study found that all patients receiving marijuana, rather than placebo, perceived their spasticity to be lessened, when in actuality, it was made worse.

Lie:  Many doctors want crude marijuana available so they can prescribe it to their patients.

Truth:  Most doctors want the best medicine possible for their patients.  Although synthetic marijuana (THC) in a pure and standardized form is available by prescription, it is often the last choice of doctors, because many better medicines are available.  The American Medical Association, the Federal Drug Administration, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the American Glaucoma Society, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the American Cancer Society have all rejected the use of smoked marijuana as a medicine.  Marijuana is not recognized as a medicine in generally accepted pharmacopeia, medical references, or textbooks.



# # #




Leaf marijuana is not medicine.  It is a harmful psychoactive drug, composed of over 400 different chemicals, which should not be used by anyone, especially by people who are ill.

In the last several years, the public has seen the issue of the therapeutic applications of leaf marijuana reach the level of discussions of public policy.  This movement has been fueled by the forces seeking to legalize marijuana.  By having marijuana listed as medicine, they hope to "legitimize" marijuana.



Smoked marijuana is neither an acceptable medical treatment nor an alternative medical treatment for any illness.

Marijuana use has serious health consequences.  Concentration, motor coordination, memory, lungs, reproductive and immune systems are all adversely impacted by marijuana use; marijuana is addictive.

Physicians who treat people for cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, and other diseases do not favor the use of marijuana.

Not one American health organization accepts marijuana as medicine.  These include the American Medical Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, American Glaucoma Society, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and American Cancer Society.

FDA/DEA have repeatedly rejected marijuana for medicinal use.  Marijuana fails to meet any of the Drug Enforcement Administration's requirements or Federal Drug Administration's eight criteria for approving drugs for medical use.

Even Marinol, a synthetic form of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), available by prescription for treating nausea, has far more negative health effects than other available agents.

There are numerous safer and more effective anti-nausea agents.  These include prochlorperazine (Compazine), metaclopramide (Reglan), lorazepam, corticosteroids, thiethylperazine (Torecan), ondansetron (Zofran), promethazine (Phenergan), perphenazine (Trilafon), and chlorpromazine (Thorazine).

The pro-drug lobby exploits the suffering of patients with chronic illness with false promises about marijuana as a medicine.  They have stated that they are pushing marijuana as medicine and using it as a "red herring" as part of a strategy to legalize marijuana for general use.