Capital Times: Gary Storck: ‘Dr.’ Scott Walker needs update on cannabis

The Capital Times published this letter to the editor I wrote Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017:

Dear Editor: Gov. Scott Walker indicated in a recent interview that he believes the only medical use from the cannabis plant is limited to just one cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), and only for use for childhood seizure disorders that don’t respond to conventional treatments.

Medical marijuana isn’t needed according to “Dr.” Walker, because “studies show medically there are much more viable alternatives within the health care community.”

The health care community might beg to differ, having produced more than 22,000 published studies or reviews in the scientific literature referencing the cannabis plant and its cannabinoids. Marijuana has been studied more than 85-90 percent of prescription medications.

Cannabis has shown unique benefit treating numerous medical conditions in addition to seizure disorders, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, chronic pain, cancer and ALS. While there are many drugs of mixed value for patients, they all come with many side effects. And for ALS, available treatments only manage symptoms and cannot slow or stop the progression like cannabis does.

Medical pot would also be a valuable tool in fighting Wisconsin’s current opioid health emergency. Cannabis has a long-documented history as a substitute for opiates and other drugs and as a pain reliever. Studies of states where medical cannabis is legal found 25 percent fewer opiate overdoses and 11 percent fewer traffic fatalities. That would translate to hundreds of lives saved if Wisconsin joined these states.

Fifteen of the 28 states with some kind of medical cannabis law have Republican governors. As chair of the Republican Governors Association, perhaps Walker’s colleagues could reassure him it is not the bogeyman he seems to believe.

Gary Storck


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