By: Brandon Lancaster
Over the past decade, marijuana legalization has become an extremely interesting topic within the medical field. The narrative and medicinal effects that were so wrongly constructed are beginning to unravel. As the truth begins to come forth, one must truly understand where the lies hide. On February 24th, Alvin Powell (2020) published his article What we know and don’t know about Pot, detailing his conversation with Kevin Hill, author of “Marijuana: The Unbiased Truth about the World’s Most Popular Weed”. Hill is Harvard Medical School associate professor and the Division of Addiction Psychiatry director at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (para. 1). As an objectively driven person when it comes to marijuana (at least implied from the title of his book), Hill should provide interesting insight on the medical opinion of marijuana. In this memo, the interview between the Harvard Gazette and Kevin Hill will be summarized.
Powell wastes no time and starts the section of the interview with a question. In Powell’s (2020) article, the interviewer asks whether myths around marijuana have disappeared yet. Hill replies by saying while the myths are disproven, the opponents and proponents of medical marijuana tend to give incorrect views, often polar from the other (para. 3-4). It seems to say the medical professionals are understanding of the confusion because of the feuding sides. This seems to have skewed how people view marijuana. Hill explains how patients come to him, seeking marijuana use, but have no real concept of the risks it holds, such as addiction (Powell, 2020, para. 8). Continuing the conversation, the interviewer tries to delve deep with understanding cannabis addiction. The interviewer asks Hill if cannabis addiction is like other addictions and Hill responds with an interesting observation. Hill stated when listening to the patients’ stories, may sound similar if some details are redacted, such as a spouse complaining about use (Powell, 2020, para. 14). From reading Hill’s response, it is inferred that medical marijuana is still a potentially dangerous drug and requires moderation. Steering in the other direction, the interviewer and Hill talk about the medical benefits of marijuana. According to Hill, there were three FDA approved cannabinoids for pain in 2019 which treat multiple sclerosis, chronic and neuropathic pain (para. 18). This is an interesting find as marijuana is illegal federally, but an agency is approving of marijuana related substances for medicine. As the two wrap up the interview, Hill concludes with his own opinion of marijuana. As Powell (2020) wrote, Hill believes marijuana should not be a Schedule I drug due to its medicinal value. He also thinks there is too little care and knowledge given to the public about marijuana. Only a tenth of the 22 million plus Americans use marijuana medically, according to Hill (para. 22 and 24).
Powell, A. (2020, February 24). What we know and don’t know about pot. Retrieved from https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/02/professor-explores-marijuanas-safe-use-and-addiction/