Cleveland Clinic Won’t Recommend Medical Marijuana to Patients

Why the Cleveland Clinic won’t recommend medical marijuana for patients 

Doctors at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic will not recommend marijuana for medical use, according to Paul Terpeluk, DO, medical director of the clinic’s employee health services. Writing in the Kent (OH) Record-Courier, Dr. Terpeluk explains why.
 
“In the world of healthcare, a medication is a drug that has endured extensive clinical trials, public hearings and approval by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration,” he says. “Medications are tested for safety and efficacy. They are closely regulated, from production to distribution. They are accurately dosed, down to the milligram. 
 
“Medical marijuana is none of those things,” he points out. 
 
He says governments, regulators, medical researchers, and pharmaceutical companies should focus on isolating marijuana components to produce dose-specific medication and submit it to testing and regulatory processes.
 
He notes that in 2017, the National Institutes of Health supported 330 projects totaling almost $140 million on cannabinoid research. Marijuana contains more than 500 chemicals. Slightly more than 100 of those, called cannabinoids, are unique to the cannabis plant. Thus far, pharmaceutical companies have developed four cannabinoid medications and FDA has approved them:Marinol (dronabinol) is man-made THC in pill form,Syndros (dronabinol) is man-made THC in liquid form,Cesamet (nabilone) is a man-made product similar to THC in pill form, andEpidiolex (cannabidiol) is a purified extract of marijuana in oil form. “As a healthcare provider our goal is to help patients, to treat their conditions, to improve their quality of life, and to ease their suffering – within the bounds of scientific evidence,” Dr. Terpeluk concludes.
 
Read Cleveland Clinic statement here.
 
Effect of Marijuana Smoking on Pulmonary Disease in HIV-Infected and Uninfected Men 

Published online prior to the publication of the December-January issue of EClinicalMedicine, this longitudinal study involved 1352 HIV-seropositive and 1352 HIV-seronegative men who have sex with men.
 
Eligible participants with self-reported marijuana and tobacco smoking had biannual study visits between 1996 and 2014. Researchers obtained pulmonary diagnoses from self-reports and medical records.
 
This study finds that “Among HIV-infected participants, recent marijuana smoking was associated with increased risk of infectious pulmonary diagnoses and chronic bronchitis independent of tobacco smoking and other risk factors for lung disease; . . . these risks were additive in participants smoking both substances. There was no association between marijuana smoking and pulmonary diagnoses in HIV-uninfected participants.”
 
Read full text of this NIH-funded study here.
 
Cannabis anonymous: Steamboat Springs therapist sees rise in marijuana addiction 

A Steamboat Springs, Colorado, licensed counselor and certified addictions therapist, Gary Guerney, has been treating substance abuse problems in patients for more than 20 years. In the last year, he has been shocked by the number of people who are coming to him for help with their addiction to marijuana, a drug most thought was not addictive.
 
“In all my years, I’ve never seen this,” he says.
 
Initially, he favored legalizing marijuana for medical use, but now he’s not so sure. He worries about the drug’s impact on mental health and addiction.
 
Marijuana use has more than doubled in the past decade.
 
Read Steamboat Pilot & Today story here.
 
Colorado: Owners of Sweet Leaf dispensary chain sentenced to a year in prison for illegal marijuana distribution 

A landmark case in the land of legal marijuana is getting widespread attention across the nation. Yes, pot is legal in Colorado, but no one can violate the Colorado Organized Crime Law by illegally selling and distributing marijuana even if they own licensed dispensaries.
 
The three owners of the Sweet Leaf dispensary chain pleaded guilty to violating this law. They were sentenced to one year in prison, to be followed by one year of parole, and one year of probation.
 
The owners admitted they knew that some customers were “looping,” a practice where someone buys the maximum amount of marijuana allowed and returns to the dispensary to buy the maximum amount again and again the same day. The maximum amount in Colorado is one ounce.
 
A Denver prosecutor told the judge that a year-long investigation by Denver police and an equally long investigation by a Denver grand jury resulted in the charges. The investigations produced evidence of loopers purchasing marijuana from Sweet Leaf dispensaries 30 to 40 times a day, leading to almost 2.5 tons of illegal marijuana going into the black market.
 
Sweet Leaf’s parent companies, Dynamic Growth Partner LLC and AJS Holdings LLC, also pleaded guilty and were fined $125,000 each.
 
Read the Denver Post story here.
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