Medical Marijuana: Voodoo or Legitimate Therapeutic Choice?

Doctors weigh wisdom of prescribing drug in hypothetical case involving woman with advanced breast cancer

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"The downside of trying medical marijuana is small. If she did not have a recent experience with [marijuana], she might not even like it," he said.

Bostwick believes the federal government should make marijuana, which is now illegal in the United States, a "schedule II" drug, thereby allowing researchers to study its safety and effectiveness. Schedule II drugs are considered to have a high abuse risk but also have safe and accepted medical uses. Schedule II drugs include morphine, cocaine, oxycodone (Percodan), methylphenidate (Ritalin) and dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine).

Bostwick argues that Marilyn's situation is a clear case for the need to apply clinical judgment: "In the context of an ongoing relationship, as one more treatment in a wide pharmacopeia, it's up to the doctor," he said.

More information

To learn more about marijuana, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

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