Letter to the editor: Marijuana and the Oxycontin lessonPosted by On

The medical community at large is at risk of forgetting a painful lesson. In 1996, Purdue Pharma brought Oxycontin to the marketplace. Sales were bolstered by misleading claims of safety and lack of addiction potential. Those claims were facilitated by U.S. congressmen whose inability to protect the American people led to the opioid pandemic.

Today, the focus is legalized marijuana. Ryan Deto’s piece “Proposed bill would give Pa. doctors more leeway in prescribing medical marijuana” (March 4, TribLIVE) highlights new bipartisan legislation in the Pennsylvania Senate which looks to eliminate all qualifying conditions for prescribed marijuana use.

The article features a local family medicine physician who supports the bill in claiming “it would become a de facto adult recreational use legislation.” From one family medicine physician to another, I must say, that would be catastrophic.

Currently, 21 states have legalized recreational marijuana. Subsequent collective medical data have demonstrated connections to major depression, anxiety, paranoia and psychosis (triggering a rise in domestic violence). In the first three years of legalization alone in the state of California, cannabis-related ER visits rose 53%. I personally have witness in practice multiple occurrences of metabolic derangement from THC-­induced cyclic vomiting syndrome. And more recent studies continue to yield concerns regarding emphysema and other lung disease when compared to tobacco use…

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