Norris’s complaints highlight the knowledge gaps physicians confront when it comes to medical marijuana, now legal in 28 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. They didn’t learn about it in medical school, and, because it is not a US Food and Drug Administration–approved drug backed by randomized controlled trials, they can’t turn to the Physicians’ Desk Reference for information about dosage, indications, and contraindications.
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still classifies marijuana as a schedule I drug, along with heroin and ecstasy, that has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. As a result, studies of its therapeutic use are limited and physicians are prohibited from prescribing it.
Rita Rubin, MA
JAMA. Published online April 5, 2017. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.0813
Five patients have confided to Key West internist John Norris III, MD, that they use marijuana to relieve painful, persistent muscle spasms resulting from strokes or multiple sclerosis.