Larry Mantle |

The Cases For and Against the Effectiveness of Medical Maijuana

Stepping back from the debate over Los Angeles' proposed dispensary ordinance, we talked this morning about what studies indicate about the effectiveness of marijuana in treating various conditions.

Dr. Lester Grinspoon has been an advocate of medical marijuana for decades. He argues that the anecdotal evidence for cannabis' medicinal value has existed for centuries, and that harms from the drug are minimal compared with the alternatives. He agreed with our other guest, Medical Director of the Pain Institute at the UCLA School of Medicine, Dr. Rick Chavez, that doctors should be better trained about marijuana and when it's appropriate for treatment.

Dr. Chavez' point was that marijuana poses several significant threats, including addiction, lung damage from smoke inhalation, and physical harm from use in combination with other drugs. He also criticized doctors being able to prescribe marijuana without thorough training on marijuana or clear guidlines on what the dosages should be. However, despite his view that marijuana's medical benefits are unsubstantiated, he joins Dr. Grinspoon in favoring legalization.

Please share your comments about whether you think there's objective evidence to support medical marijuana's effectiveness. We know that thousands of Californians attest to the benefit of using it, but do we have the objective verification that's typically required for a drug to be approved for medical use?

Tomorrow, we'll debate the economic impact of public employee unions and how significant a problem their pensions are for local government.