Wyoming Medical Society Opposes Medical Marijuana Legalization Effort

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Medical Society (WMS) announced its position in opposition to a possible 2016 general election ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana today in Cheyenne. The WMS substantiated its stance in a position paper, which is available here.

The Wyoming Medical Society was founded in 1903 to provide representation, advocacy and service to Wyoming physicians. WMS serves our membership, and their patients, and works to improve the health of Wyoming’s citizens. Currently, the WMS names over 700 physicians and Physician Assistants as members.

The WMS has based its opposition largely on the fact a vote in favor of legalizing medical marijuana at the state level would subvert the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) process for development and approval of medications. The WMS supports the work done by the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, which offers unbiased reviews to establish a drug’s quality, and safety.

“The WMS opposes legalization of medical marijuana outside of the regulatory process of the US Food and Drug Administration, recognizing however that marijuana may be an option for cannabinoid administration for children and adults with life-limiting or severely debilitating conditions for whom current therapies are inadequate,” says WMS Board of Directors President, Sigsbee Duck, MD, R.Ph.

While the WMS is opposed to medical marijuana in Wyoming, it recognizes there are many reports that patients with severe epilepsy are benefiting ingesting oils containing cannabidiol with very little THC (also known as Charlotte’s Web). Therefore, this winter the WMS supported House Bill 0032, which later became House Enrolled Act 64.

The law allows supervised medical use of hemp extract, providing an exemption from prosecution for possession or use of hemp extract, providing for a doctor supervision and creating a registration program. The WMS supported this bill because it allowed for use of hemp oil with low levels of THC under strict supervision of a neurologist; conditions far different than the proposed bill to legalize medical marijuana, which provides no oversight of usage or manufacturing standards of marijuana. The WMS strongly supports more research into the potential medical benefits of marijuana-derived compounds.

Currently, patients with refractory epilepsy requesting treatment with Charlotte’s Web are required to fill out an application and have a neurologist fill out a form confirming the patient’s refractory epilepsy diagnosis and the possibility of benefit from using hemp. The physician is also required to describe what other treatments of the epilepsy have been tried and give the Wyoming Department of Health feedback on any measurable benefit of hemp oil usage.

Concerns for the WMS with the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, also extend to the use of recreational marijuana rising in states that have legalized medical marijuana, especially as a smoked product.

“The WMS does recognize that there is published and fact based scientific data that the recreational use of marijuana has a deleterious effect on the health of individuals, particularly on the developing brains of adolescents and the direct effects of smoke and secondhand smoke,” Duck said.

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