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Opinion | I Support Medical Marijuana, Not Political Marijuana

Marijuana growing in flower window boxes, melting cakes, planner flip-outs, tripping flower girls and a bride that doesn't understand how blue could possibly be mistaken for purple - this was my wedding day. Nicole Young/USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee

“If medical marijuana helps a patient, they should have it.” Most Tennesseans will agree with this statement.

As a physician and as a legislator, I do too. We are a caring people and we want to help those who are sick.

That is why 78 percent of Tennessee voters favor “medical marijuana.”

Certainly, those answering this question do mean this to be “medical.”

However, proposed legislation before the Tennessee Legislature is “political marijuana.”

We should understand the difference. This matter has profound societal consequences.

Medical marijuana means that a patient is under medical care. The patient has a medical condition, for which there is evidence that marijuana will help.

This evidence is scientific and not based on anecdotes or social media.

The patient and the doctor have reached a point that current treatment is not satisfactory. They decide to use the cannabis/marijuana option.

The doctor writes a prescription and the patient fills it at the pharmacy. This medicine is in the exact dosage, safe, and free of impurities.

It is legal, has been tested, and approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).The patient’s progress is monitored by the doctor and adjustments in dosage are made as needed.

Read More: Lt. Gov. Randy McNally predicts close vote, failure of medical marijuana bill

Precautions, including driving safety, are discussed. In this setting, there is no limit to the conditions for which marijuana may be used. The decision is completely between the patient and the doctor. The patient is and remains under medical care.

This treatment is medical and it is available today!

FDA-approved marijuana products are available in form of pills, sprays or liquids. Any licensed physician can write a prescription for these.

Now, let us understand how political marijuana will work.

The term “cannabis” is used instead of “marijuana” to give it a scientific flair. A Medical Cannabis Commission will be created under this proposed initiative.

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