BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – In his State of the State address on Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo called for limited use of marijuana as a medicine, but not everyone agrees that the drug has legitimate medical uses.
Doctors say there is very little hard evidence to the efficacy of marijuana, but one plus side of the governor’s proposal is it will allow the medical community to test and measure the benefits or lack thereof of using marijuana to aid the sick.
Governor Cuomo plans to establish a program that will allow up to 20 hospitals to prescribe medical marijuana.
“We will monitor the program to evaluate the effectiveness and the feasibility of the medical marijuana system,” Cuomo said.
The Department of Health contacted Roswell Park Cancer Institute about the program. Roswell’s president, Dr. Donald Trump, supports the program – if it is done properly.
“I think we have a continuing need to improve the care of cancer patients, reduce their symptoms of the disease and of the treatment, and under the right circumstances, this is something worth looking at for cancer patients,” Dr. Trump said.
We have many recently developed medications to ease the pain of cancer and its treatment, but could marijuana offer more benefit?
Dr. Trump said, “It’s all testimonial with regard to smoke-able marijuana, and certainly I have heard pharmacologists suggest that the ability to modulate intake as symptoms come and go is more difficult to do with an oral medication – might have some advantages. Maybe so, maybe not, but I think it’s testable.”
He wants real answers – do the facts agree with the testimonials?
“I personally believe we should only be involved in the use of medical marijuana in the context of a clinical trial,” Dr. Trump said.
It will be challenging to design a well-controlled trial or marijuana, but it has to be done to determine how it can be used in medicine. However, many physicians believe that legalization of marijuana shouldn’t be a medical issue.
Dr. Mark Lema said, “Marijuana is a recreational substance that society needs to deal with like they did with alcohol and with smoking. What place does it have in society? I wouldn’t bring it through the medical route to answer that question.”