Topic: Health & Medicine

Last updated: April 1, 2019

Many Doctors have voiced their arguments on whether Marijuana should be used for medical purposes with respect to the question “Does Marijuana lead to addiction?” Colin Blakemore, PhD, Chair, Dept.

of Physiology, University of Oxford (U.K.), and Leslie Iversen, PhD Professor of Pharmacology, Oxford University claim a minor amount of users develop dependence on Marijuana and this does not reflect true addiction “For some users, perhaps as many as 10 per cent, cannabis leads to psychological dependence, but there is scant evidence that it carries a risk of true addiction. Unlike cigarette smokers, most users do not take the drug on a daily basis, and usually abandon it in their twenties or thirties.” They continue, arguing that there is no definitive withdrawal syndrome, the indication of true addiction. However, Nora D.

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Volkow, MD and Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health argues in “Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use,” New England Journal of Medicine that the evidence clearly shows that marijuana leads to addiction in approximately 9% of users, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition. “According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 2.7 million people 12 years of age and older met the DSM-IV criteria for dependence on marijuana.” She also makes mention of a withdrawal syndrome with symptoms including irritability, sleeping difficulties, dysphoria, craving, and anxiety. Nora continues, highlighting a major detriment of this Marijuana addiction which is- it forecasts an increase in use of other illicit drugs.Numerous medical organizations have also vocalized their opinions on this debate.

The American College of Physicians in “Supporting Research into the Therapeutic Role of Marijuana,” urge for the review and reclassification of Marijuana as a drug given the scientific evidence of the safety of efficacy of it. This college disapproves of physicians facing federal criminal prosecution; civil liability; and professional sanctioning, such as loss of licensure or credentialing, for prescribing or dispensing medical marijuana. Similarly, they strongly urge protection from criminal or civil penalties for patients who use medical marijuana as permitted under state laws.” Contrary to this is the view of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. This institution, being the largest association of eye physicians and surgeons globally does not recommend marijuana as a treatment for glaucoma, as the analysis provided by the National Eye Institute and the Institute of Medicine found no evidence that the long- term use of marijuana for glaucoma is more effective that prescribed medication and surgical treatments.

This institution also highlight that the side effects of marijuana could disrupt eye health.


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