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The Banality of Marijuana in Medical Education

Posted Mar 26 2009 3:52pm
Among the interminable pharmacology powerpoint slides that address anti-emetic drugs, we come across this:

If an alien guest to our planet perused a pocket pharmacopeia, and had to guess which drug would be "fetishized" over all others, I doubt he'd pick marijuana. Mind you, I'm not convinced that there are many positive benefits for healthy people to take marijuana (and smoking virtually anything is more carcinogenic than using a nebulizer). Yet cannaboids strike me as just another class of drugs with certain indications and side effects, some known, some perhaps unknown. Another anti-vomiting drug, metoclopramide, can lead to tardive dyskinesia (Parkinsonism). Scopalamine, yet another, features a whole slew of anti-cholinergic (antagonistic to the parasympathetic nervous system) effects, and can cause delirium in overdose.

However, when patients with cancer obtain the latter two drugs, we praise modern medicine's ability to provide some alleviation to the horrible side effects of chemotherapy. When patients happen to select the former, we convict their state-law-compliant medical dispensers of crimes punishable by up to 100 years in prison.
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