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The Boston Globe



Medical? Not without being held to stricter standards

RE “Medical marijuana law takes form” (Page A1, Feb. 6): The public is outraged when a prescription medication thought to be safer and more effective than other options is found to have harmful effects. (One such example is Vioxx, a pain reliever that was associated with small increases in heart attacks among people with heart disease.) Yet marijuana is supported as therapeutic, and called “medical,” without any placebo-controlled clinical trials that would tell us the benefits and risks.

It won’t be prescribed by doctors — doctors are to “certify” patients to get it — or dispensed by pharmacists. The Food and Drug Administration won’t be able to monitor risks the same way it does for other medications. Let’s face it — it isn’t medical; or, if it is, it has somehow escaped the usual scrutiny.

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