Medical Marijuana Testimony Before Alabama House Health Committee May 28, 2019

Spoken Testimony Medical Marijuana House Committee 5.28.19

I’m Becky Gerritson-Exec Director of Eagle Forum of Alabama.

We are certainly sympathetic to those seeking relief from their debilitating medical conditions.

Senator Melson we applaud your efforts in trying to help patients and we know that you have worked hard on this bill.

We are encouraged by those young patients with seizers who have found relief with CBD oil and we would like that program (Carly’s Law) at UAB to continue.

However, we do have reservations and wanted to share our findings.

  1. The first qualifying condition listed in SB236 on page 14 is Addiction

Yet the largest study of cannabis as a substitute for opioids was a 4-year cohort study of 1514 patients with chronic pain who had been prescribed opioids. Here’s what they found: Cannabis use was associated with MORE subsequent pain, less self-efficacy for managing pain, and NO reductions in prescribed opioid use.[1]

Although this bill seeks to address addiction-research doesn’t support it as a viable alternative.

  1. Many Medical Marijuana Patients drive while High

A recent poll of medical marijuana patents revealed that more than half of patients had driven within 2 hours of consuming a cannabis treatment at least once during the prior 6 months. About 20% said they had driven while “very high” while about half described being a “little high” while driving.[2]

While this bill is being presented as limited to just ‘medical’ marijuana, this has been the stepping stone to decriminalization and then legalization for recreational use in every state that has gone in that direction. This is our biggest hesitation…

Before passing this bill in its current form we would like to see more real-life trials for some of the medical conditions listed in the bill to see if they respond well to medical marijuana. More trials like “Carly’s law”.

Not only would this minimize the open door to recreational marijuana but it would also bolster the limited amount of research done on the efficacy of marijuana on the conditions listed in the bill.

We are concerned that we still don’t have standard dosages for different conditions and feel these could best be determined under the supervision of doctors conducting medical trials. We would whole-heartedly support that before opening it up to the entire medical community like this bill would do.

Thank you for your time.

[1] Should Physicians Recommend Replacing Opioids with Cannabis, Author Keith Humphreys, PhD –2019 American Medical Assoc—downloaded from jamanetwork.com

[2] Many Medical Marijuana Patients Drive While High, By Alan Mozes, Wed Jan, 9, 2019 Health Daily News