East Tennesseans Debate Medical Marijuana

By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter
By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter

Knoxville (WVLT) - Some cancer patients say marijuana relieves nausea and other side effects from chemotherapy. And some states have passed legislation removing the state penalties for marijuana use for medical purposes.

So, where do Tennesseans stand on the issue?

Several recent medical studies suggest marijuana cigarettes could help cancer and aids patients control nausea and pain.

And since 1996, 12 states have passed measures supporting medical marijuana use.

"What they're trying to do is get it under limited circumstances permitted, I believe, those being glaucoma, or relief from glaucoma, and folks that are on chemotherapy," State Senator Tim Burchett says he would oppose any bill that would legalize marijuana for any use, medical or otherwise.

There's still very little understanding of how the drug works.

And, in fact, internal medicine Doctor Michael Green cautions smoking marijuana poses its own health hazards. "When you boil that down, you're taking some leaves of a plant, setting them on fire, then sucking the smoke from that fire down your lungs. Along with that, you're getting all sorts of carcinogens."

Many lawmakers and doctors believe marijuana's future as a drug does not involve smoking.

Its best-known substance, THC, is already legally available as an oral prescription drug called Marinol.

"There's some really good medicines out there for pain and for nausea, which is something that medical marijuana has been touted as helpful for," says Dr. Green.

"Can 100 percent, unequivocally be duplicated in a laboratory and can be taken in pill form. So there really, I don't see any real reasons for it, other than the fact that some of these folks want to smoke marijuana," adds Senator Burchett.

While it remains a topic of discussion, there is currently no bill seeking to legalize medical marijuana before the Tennessee legislature.

How do you feel about legalized marijuana for medical purposes? Leave you thoughts in the comment section below.

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  • by Live and Let Live Location: Knoxville on Jan 29, 2012 at 09:32 PM
    I am 18, and both of my parents have stage 4 cancer. My father has leukemia and my mother has breast cancer. Both of them are at the end of their lives. In all honesty life 2 years ago when they were diagnose was hell. I turned to marijuana. While it is not legal it was a decision I had to make. My parents are now happy, and thankfully eating, which they weren't doing before. Also I would like to note that I was against it before I realized how much it improved my parents quality of life. To think that this herb is illegal makes me sick.
  • by C-Mac Location: Southwest TN. on Dec 28, 2011 at 09:47 PM
    And, in fact, internal medicine Doctor Michael Green cautions smoking marijuana poses its own health hazards. "When you boil that down, you're taking some leaves of a plant, setting them on fire, then sucking the smoke from that fire down your lungs. Along with that, you're getting all sorts of carcinogens." Response: Is't that what you do when you smoke cigarettes? And that is legal. I do not smoke it myself, but even I can see the benefits in legalizing medical marijuana. It is time for politicians to wake up and see the positives that can come from it.
  • by Travis Location: middle tn on Dec 23, 2011 at 01:43 AM
    We live in a democracy. politicans are suppose to speak for the people. if you are serious about this issue than let your representative know that this is what we all want. send letters, write emails, make phone calls. The senator is probably just ignorant to the facts of cannabis or thinks it is still to taboo for society to accept it. the doctor however, that is just stupidity. THC can be put in many different forms, other than just smoking, that isn't harmful to the lungs. i believe that is a case of pharmaceutical companies influencing how physicians treat patients. Obviously this is a topic in which i fell very strongly about and could go on for a while. there IS strength in numbers,but you have to have the courage to take a stand for it.
  • by Homegrown Location: TN on Dec 23, 2011 at 01:07 AM
    You can ingest marijuana and not have to smoke it! I suffer from anxiety and sever pain, and lost my mother recently, it is so easy to get addicted to those pills, and so many pill mills in TN now a days MJ should be legal, I wouldn't be able to eat or sleep if it wasn't for the joint a day. Let's get on the ball and make TN Legal!!!!
  • by Ronnie Location: North Knoxville on Dec 9, 2011 at 06:00 PM
    Tim Burtchett is an idiot. Why take something produced by rich, fat drug companies, when you could get a natural version? Our society is a bunch of pill poppers. Why support drug companys at all?
  • by kim Location: nashville on Nov 14, 2011 at 09:39 PM
    To the DR that says that there are already meds for pain and nausea, please note that those of us with chronic illness are very aware of that, we live on those meds most of the time but marijuana allows us to take LESS of them because they ARE physically addictive and destroy our liver and kidneys. The idea is to use less pharmaceuticals, hence marijuana but the pharmaceutical companies don't like this. As far as Marinol, ask anybody who has tried both, they're NOT the same. With dosing yourself, on your own schedule, YOU manage the pain, nausea, that way you don't overdose on pain meds!! I'm sick of the ignorance by educated men. Why can't you see the big picture! your ignorance keeps us in the ice ages and people like me with MS and Chronic Migraines get arrested for Felonies!! Violent Felony's if you dare exercise your 2nd ammendment rights and own a gun on the same property! Something has to change! This is insanity!!!! Yes, I was just arrested for Marijuana due to my vocal activism! And im fuming mad! thesamm dot bbnow dot org
  • by alicia Location: kingsport on Oct 23, 2011 at 09:32 PM
    at the beginning of our country it was required to grow weed. now were filling our jails up with minor smoke charges, time for the taxpayers to fight back! and cops to spend more time on finding the REAL criminals like killers and rapists. weed is no more harmful than cigs or alcohol, its time for change for this economy,let us use what god gave us!
  • by shirley harvey Location: johnson city tennessee on Oct 6, 2011 at 02:31 PM
    if marijuana were legel in my personal belief it would pull us out of the mess the goverment has caused not only that but i lost my only daughter 5 years ago if it werent for a joint a day id never eat id never sleep and it helps my pain i broke my back 6years ago and lost weight down to 89 lbs i now weigh 116 lbs and i dont stay so depressed. god makes it grow the indians have smoked it in peace pipes for centreys just think peace. it would be wonderful to be able to go to docter and get a precription for that wonderful herb and and let the us tax it, in my position im raising 2 grandchildren at age 53 i do nothing in front of children this herb has saved my life no more oxtcottin for me yea leaglize.
  • by justin on Jun 20, 2011 at 01:52 AM
    I know no one will probably read this but i think marijuana should be legalized for medical use because it actually helps with pain and actually can help with some deseases i just read an artical about a 2 yr old surving a tumor on his brain and regular medican couldnt help the doctors told his father that he was goin to die and a little bit of marijuana actually mad the kid feel better he actually ate for the first time in i think the father said like 3 months and now days that little kid is like 4 or 5 and he is tumor free living a regular life thanks to thc im having horrible back pains and i smoke it and i get pain free all day after i smoke and i sleep better without it, i lay in bed for like 3 hrs before i actually fall asleep
  • by unknown Location: tennessee on Apr 11, 2011 at 05:45 PM
    The arguments of our senate or state officials for the carcinogens being taken in through smoking and a pill form of THC are not valid when compared. Its has been shown that smoking since the dawn of time not once has a person ever developed cancer from smoking marijuana. I also want to point out that when components are made into a pill by man they usually are high in cost and also have side effects that are not seen in naturally occuring herbs and there usage. I would vote yes because there is a lot of uses for marijuana besides medicinal, this plant can be used to create fuel for cars to clothing.


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