“I’m a little frustrated,” Doctors recommend qualifying conditions for medical marijuana

OKLAHOMA CITY - Doctors who were opposed to the state question legalizing medical marijuana were invited to a working group tasked with recommending permanent rules.

Dr. Jean Hausheer with the Oklahoma State Medical Association said, "at its heart," State Question 788 contradicts the standard medical definition for a standard of care without dosage control, follow ups or list of medical conditions. Hausheer, however, said there are studies on the effectiveness of medical marijuana.

"Unfortunately, even those more than 10,000 studies don't tell us much because, in most cases, they are based on small sample size and limited scope," Hausheer said.

The OSMA president joined several doctors on Wednesday at the Oklahoma State Capitol. Discussions ranged from the role of pharmacists in other states with medical marijuana to recommendations.

Hausheer suggested the program in Oklahoma should start with five specific qualifying conditions:

  • Epilepsy
  • Nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Relief for terminal illness
  • Wasting syndrome from HIV/AIDS and cancer

Dr. Jason Beaman with the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine spoke about the dangers of high THC levels. According to Beaman, the use of high THC potency is associated with the increased admission to first-time drug treatment and severity of addiction.

"It's more potent, and it's being used more often," Beaman said. "I have diagnosed it. I have treated it."

Rep. Scott Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee was the first of the working group members to ask questions following the presentations.

"I just got to be honest and tell you, I’m a little frustrated," Fetgatter told the panel of doctors. "What we just heard for two hours was exactly what our constituents were upset about over the rules that were coming down from the department of health."

Chris Moe with Tulsa-based group Green The Vote shared the frustration.

"What we heard today was nothing but reefer madness. This was the same people who tried to push 1120, Senator Yen’s bill. This is the exact same people who put all of their money into the no campaign," Moe said. "First, they said they felt one way about a study then another way about a study. It all depends on what their agenda during the conversation"

Moe claimed some points made doctors appeared contradicting, specifically referring to an exchange between group co-chair Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City.

"Is it safe to say, for the purposes of this committee, that this - even this group would agree there are studies and there are times where it is shown clearly medical marijuana can be beneficial and does have a medical purpose?" Echols said.

"We would rather limit it the conditions in which it has shown to be beneficial, and then we would definitely want the committee to be cognizant of the harms of where it's been demonstrated," Beaman said.

The group will meet again at 9 a.m. next Wednesday.