Marijuana Controversy

The issue of marijuana is a big pot of pluses and minuses. Some people swear it reduces their pain, others swear it causes brain drain. None-the-less, it’s a controversy that isn’t going away especially with Colorado leading the way of legalization of this herb.

Joseph S. Alpert, MD, editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Medicine and on staff at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, prophesized, for the record, “Tetrahydrocannabinol, one of the active ingredients in pot, will be commonly prescribed in the future for patients with diabetes or metabolic syndrome alongside anti-diabetic oral agents or insulin for improved management of this chronic illness.

What is very clear is that we desperately need a great deal more basic and clinical research into the short- and long-term effects of this agent in a variety of clinical settings, such as cancer, diabetes, and frailty of the elderly.”

I don’t think he is saying that because he is a big pot smoker in private. Dr. Alpert was basing his opinions on evidence-based science. In research from the highly respected National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) run between 2005 and 2010, existing cannabis smokers had lower levels of fasting insulin and were less likely to be insulin resistant than nonusers; and this finding remained constant even when removing patients with diabetes from this huge sampling of individuals.

Pot smokers had smaller waists and higher levels of the good HDL cholesterol than never users. So forget about the munchies, those munchies aren’t sticking to their hips!

American Journal of Medicine 2013

Previous epidemiologic studies also found lower rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes in marijuana users, compared with people who have never used marijuana.

The cannabinoids in pot appear to influence peripheral metabolic processes in a healthy manner!

I am not saying run out and make gluten free pot brownies. But it is an herb and it seems to have medicinal properties. I am not a fan, like President Clinton, of inhaling the stuff. But I do recognize that it is an issue that is not going away, and for some people, especially if eaten and not smoked, pot may hold many helpful, healthy answers.

Remember the major dictum in health care, risk vs. benefit. We must look at all things through this medicinal yin-yang, even marijuana.