Why “medical” marijuana gets little respect here

English: Discount Medical Marijuana cannabis s...
Discount Medical Marijuana cannabis shop, Denver, Colorado. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Mark Kleiman, the Washington state pot czar,  explains his use of “scare quotes” when writing about medical marijuana:

 

Yes, cannabis has medical value for some people. And yes, the sustained effort of the federal government to make medical cannabis research as difficult as possible is a national disgrace.

And then, on the other hand, there’s this, from a report of the Colorado State Auditor:

As of October 2012, a total of 903 physicians had recommended medical marijuana for the 108,000 patients holding valid red cards. Twelve physicians recommended medical marijuana for 50 percent of those patients, including one physician with more than 8,400 patients on the Registry.

Some physicians have recommended what appear to be higher-than-reasonable amounts of medical marijuana. In one case, a physician recommended 501 plants for a patient. In another case, a physician recommended 75 ounces of useable marijuana for the patient.

Do the arithmetic on 8400 patients for one physician. Assume a 50 40-hour workweeks and zero time spent on administrative tasks. That’s a little bit less than 15 minutes per customer. Medical practice? No. Just dope dealing.

 

He adds:

 

The strategy of using quasi-medical legalization as a means of normalizing consumption and moving the political acceptability of full commercial legalization has been a great success … And I’m not unhappy with the outcome. … Still, the whole deal – and especially the role of the “kush docs” – makes me a little sick to my stomach.

 

 

 

Primary care is good for recovery

The doctor's office on Transylvania Project, L...
Image via Wikipedia

Primary care visits are associated with better recovery outcomes:

A yearly primary care visit was also positively associated with remission (OR, 1.39), as was continuing care (OR, 2.34), defined as:

  • having at least 1 yearly primary care visit,
  • completing substance abuse treatment or receiving further treatment,
  • receiving alcohol or drug treatment when the alcohol or drug Addiction Severity Index (ASI) score at last assessment was higher than 0, and
  • receiving psychiatric services when the psychiatric ASI score at last assessment was higher than 0.

Makes our primary care project look pretty smart.