WHAT OTHERS SAY: Medical marijuana — how effective is it?

Friday, February 21, 2014 | 2:51 p.m. CST

The latest Minnesota Poll conducted by the Minneapolis Star Tribune indicated that a bare majority — 51 percent — of Minnesota residents favor the legalization of marijuana for medical uses.

We've always wondered — what exactly are the medical properties of marijuana? We have heard that it helps control pain and nausea for those undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, that it does something for those who have glaucoma and that it calms some people with mental disorders.

Some proponents describe the drug as a golden elixir, a panacea that cures a number of ills. We never seem to hear about potential side effects. Most pharmaceutical ads include lengthy disclaimers about how the drug may cause this or that harmful condition.

We would imagine smoking marijuana would have a large number of unhealthy side effects.

Part of the problem with medical marijuana is that suddenly all kinds of otherwise healthy people develop illnesses that need marijuana treatment, and there is no shortage of so-called doctors who are willing to write a prescription.

In matters like this, public preference polls should take a back seat to real research into the medical benefits and negative side effects of marijuana use.

Copyright the Journal of New Ulm (Minn.). Distributed by the Associated Press.

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