The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) is considered the country’s leading organization of professional physicians and they are calling for an end to legalized marijuana for medical purposes. ASAM is a leader in prevention groups helping those with addictions by providing services for prevention, education, public policy, treatment and research.
There are currently 15 states, as well as the District of Columbia, who allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes. ASAM believes the FDA should decide if it has medical benefits and then set the guidelines. ASAM does not believe having a patchwork of different laws for each individual state works in the state’s best interest.
President of ASAM, Louis E. Baxter, Sr. says they do not recognize marijuana as a medication because it has not gone through the official FDA approval process.
Former ASAM President, Dr. Andrea G. Barthwell, says the safety and suitability of any prescription medicines should be dependent upon years of scientific analysis. Barthwell was the adviser on drug policy to former President George W. Bush and further added that approval of such prescription drugs should not be based on opinions of those who do not have the education to make these decisions.
There would be public outrage if physicians were treating patients with any other untested drugs, says Barthwell. ASAM does not believe there has been enough research done on the harmful effects of marijuana and for some unknown reason most people do not seem to care. Most of the marijuana used for treatment is often smoked and there are harmful effects caused by tobacco smoke.
Dr. Robert L. DuPont explains that marijuana is certainly not the risk-free herb many consider it to be but rather a strong drug with many effects which can produce behavioral, emotional and mental changes. And contrary to popular belief, it is also addictive.