The Curry Coastal Pilot

Although marijuana has some medicinal properties, it's not like other drugs doctors prescribe.

andbull; There are no evidence-based standards for how much of what strain will have what effect for an individual patient.

andbull; Solid scientific research is lacking on many aspects of marijuana's health effects, including how it interacts with other drugs.

andbull; Some people fake or exaggerate symptoms to get pot for recreational purposes.

andbull; Marijuana is not sold in pharmacies but in dispensaries.

andbull; Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

So it's hardly surprising that many physicians want no part of it, and rightly so. They want to give their patients treatments backed by solid research and experience, and they don't want to be deluged by patients with questionable ailments who really just want to get high. (One exception is in oncology, where patients are suffering serious side effects of treatment that marijuana has been shown to alleviate.)

The result is, many local physicians don't want to prescribe marijuana and don't want to talk about it. High-volume marijuana approvers from other parts of the state fill the gap.

Despite laws legalizing medical marijuana in more than 20 states, plus newly legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington, serious scientific research on its effects has lagged. Dr. Herbert Kleber, a Columbia University psychiatrist and drug abuse researcher, told National Public Radio that's because it's hard to get federal approval for studies and hard to get legal supplies.

With the accelerating movement to legalize pot, including Oregon's November initiative vote, it's long past time for regulators to facilitate serious research to address the many unknowns.

- Wescom News Service (The Bulletin)