Is medical marijuana effective for treating pain? - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Is medical marijuana effective for treating pain?

Jim Young, Licensed Certified Prosthetist Jim Young, Licensed Certified Prosthetist
Young lost his left leg above the knee in a motorcycle accident Young lost his left leg above the knee in a motorcycle accident
TIFTON, GA (WALB) -

Georgia's Speaker of the ignited an unexpected debate when he said he'd be willing to research the pros and cons of legalizing medical marijuana. But how effective is the drug for treating pain?     

Jim Young owns two amputee prosthetic clinics in South Georgia.  He doesn't believe there's enough evidence that marijuana treats pain effectively.    

Jim Young is a licensed certified prosthetist who makes prosthetics for amputees at his clinics in Albany and Tifton. Young himself lost his left leg above the knee in a motorcycle accident. He knows about being hooked on pain medication and has seen addiction among his patients.  

"I see a lot of my patients that have been on pain medications, neurontin, that's another drug that's used to treat phantom limb sensation been on them for years they're always in a fog and can't remember stuff," said Jim Young.  

In Georgia, Young could not be prescribed medical marijuana to reduce pain from multiple surgeries, but he says it is routinely prescribed to amputee patients in California.  

"You can walk into a clinic in California and if you're an amputee they basically look at you and start writing you a prescription," said Young.  

Young says the evidence that medical marijuana is effective to treat pain in amputees just isn't there.  

"It doesn't really exist except for the few applications that it's already approved for," said Young.    

Medical marijuana is legal in 20 states. The FDA has approved two forms of synthetic marijuana to treat nausea in cancer patients and weight loss associated with AIDS patients. Those forms are not approved for pain control.  

"If you're going to prescribe someone raw marijuana, which is basically a bag of dope well one you're not necessarily going to be able to control the dosage," said Young.    

State representatives in our area don't think the General Assembly will approve medical marijuana any time soon.  Young says more research needs to be done.  

"If you're going to call it medicine, take some of that billion dollars that they made last year in California and put it through the FDA approval process," said Young.    

Young says he is not an advocate for medical marijuana. He believes that the addiction between medical marijuana and pain killers is one of the unknowns that also needs more research. There is another form of synthetic marijuana that has been approved in the U. K. to treat pain in Multiple Sclerosis patients and Cancer patients.

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