Medical marijuana debate increases

Nov. 8, 2009 at 5:14 PM
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SACRAMENTO, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The growing number of medical marijuana clinics opening in California has ratcheted up the debate about both their legitimacy and worthiness, observers say.

California's Compassionate Use Act passed in 1996 allowed patients holding a valid doctor's recommendation to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal medical use. Those in favor of the act touted medical marijuana's benefit in patients with AIDS, chronic pain and cancer, The Sacramento Bee reported.

State and federally funded research concerning medical marijuana was conducted by Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of oncology at San Francisco General Hospital. "I see cancer patients every day who suffer from loss of appetite, weight loss, pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia and nausea. With cannabis, I can recommend one medicine instead of writing prescriptions for six or seven," he said.

Recently, there has been a rise in the number of physicians who recommend marijuana for less critical conditions, from migraines to restless leg syndrome, the Bee said.

The California Medical Board has received and checked into 81 complaints against physicians who've recommended marijuana to patients since 1996.

Some doctors were sanctioned for not detecting overt, drug-seeking behaviors in patients looking for medical marijuana recommendations. Records indicate some complaints to the board came from undercover police officers.

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