MARIJUANA POSITION STATEMENT

   

Many people feel or have heard that marijuana or cannabis may have properties that provide medicinal value for certain ailments. However, cannabis is a raw botanical. Most modern physicians, pharmacists, and medical practitioners do not treat illness with raw plants.

Although, herbal and other alternative remedies may exist, they are not scientific and have not been proven effective through research. The anecdotal information used by a few to tout success, if applied, may prove harmful to others. Scientifically approved medicines are standardized and tested for effectiveness. Raw cannabis is not.  The lack of science and research in determining cannabis as a medicine results in inconsistent quality, concentration, and efficacy. Assertions of any medicinal benefit have not been substantiated through the rigorous scientific FDA process. Additionally, raw botanicals do not require medicinal regulatory approval. Scientific research has identified that if a raw botanical has medicinal value the component of value may be extracted and purified to create specialized medicines that heal more effectively. 

For example, the FDA recently approved Epidiolex® which is a cannabis-based pharmaceutical to treat certain rare forms of epilepsy. Therefore, as with many other plants, components of the cannabis plant may prove effective for medicinal purposes. However, simply because mold produces penicillin, does not mean that the mold that produced the penicillin is itself a medicine. Similarly, it would be unwise and ill advised to elevate marijuana to status of medicine just because some of its properties or derivatives could be used to treat certain conditions. To elevate cannabis to the same status as any other medicine, it should be subjected to the same scientific rigor as other medicines and be distributed by a licensed pharmacist. Marijuana industry advocates intentionally confuse consumers by referring to cannabis as an established medicine yet describing it as an alternative to modern western medicine. 

KMKS does not support any raw botanical, prone to addiction such as cannabis as a medicine. Smoking is not medicine.  KMKS believes that the active ingredients in marijuana (primarily THC and non-psychoactive, CBD) should be researched and if found effective converted into FDA-approved non-smoked medicines. We believe that scientific research should continue to determine whether any potential benefits exist. The approval of the first cannabis-based (without THC) pharmaceutical Epidiolex® is evidence that the FDA process is effective and provides a path to legitimate medicine. Fast-track research into medical benefits and voting on medicine leads to public health crisis like the opioid epidemic. 

Science, not the ballot box, is the appropriate avenue for determining the efficacy of medicine. While the scientific process is not without its own flaws, the track record of treatments developed throughout our nation’s history is proof enough that the process should continue to be followed and allowed to run its course, especially when considering the possible effects of medicinal, recreational, or any other use of cannabis or its derivatives. Addiction, misuse, and diversion are unintended consequences of legalization and the extensive financial burden to taxpayers must be appropriately calculated.

Finally, in this country we do not legislate what is, and is not, a medicine. These are

health decisions better made by informed professionals. We believe that medical marijuana is a public health concern and should be decided by health experts. We value freedom, human rights, and the protection of the rights of all humans must be a consideration in determining health policy.