Psychiatrist claims medical marijuana dangerous for treatment of psychiatric problems

Published on January 22, 2013 at 7:33 AM · 22 Comments

Using medical marijuana to treat conditions such as anxiety and depression is dangerous and has no basis in medical science, says Dr. Timothy R. Jennings, a prominent Tennessee psychiatrist and consultant to The Center for Counseling and Health Resources in Edmonds, WA.

"Medical marijuana for the treatment of psychiatric problems is no better than prescribing cigarette smoke to treat lung disease," writes Dr. Jennings in a recent "call to action" to the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Jennings wants the APA to come out in opposition to the prescribing of marijuana for psychiatric illness.

"Psychiatry is positioned with a unique opportunity to stand up and oppose the latest chicanery to be promoted as 'medicine' - medical marijuana," writes Dr. Jennings. Thus far, 18 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical uses. Referenda in Colorado and Washington even legalized recreational marijuana use in those two states.

Dr. Jennings sees the promotion of medical marijuana as a fad without scientific merit. He compares it to the archaic practice of intentionally bleeding patients to drain away "evil humors," a once commonly accepted medical treatment later proven to be extremely harmful. Dr. Jennings wants the APA to denounce medical marijuana as a treatment for psychiatric illness, and he says that state licensing boards should censure any physician who prescribes it as such.

In his letter to the APA, Dr. Jennings cites research showing that marijuana, far from being helpful or even harmless, is associated with an increased risk of psychosis, and that it causes structural changes to the part of the brain that powers reasoning and higher thought. Dr. Jennings also pointed to chemical analyses of marijuana smoke showing that it is inherently more toxic even than cigarette smoke.

"The APA should adopt Dr. Jennings' recommendations regarding medical marijuana immediately," says Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder and director of The Center, a residential treatment facility. "Many suffering people are being further harmed by the very ones are supposed to help them - their own doctors."

Source:

The Center for Counseling and Health Resources in Edmonds, WA

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Comments
  1. Justin Michels Justin Michels United States says:

    Dr. Jennings must have some friends in the pharmaceutical industry who are feeling very threatened right now...  He claims that medicinal use of cannabis is ineffective and unsafe, while undoubtedly relying on amphetamines and lots of patented snake oils which have side-effects including unpredictable, violent outrage -- like the mass shootings we keep reading about, where in most cases they eventually admit the individual was on a prescription for Prozac or some other DRUG being used "as treatment for psychiatric illness".  

    Prohibitionists, in particular those in psychiatry and other serious medical fields, are little more than comic relief these days as the real science behind cannabis is being documented in peer-reviewed scientific journals.  Never mind the potential for giving yourself (or your ADHD kid) a noticeable "tic", suicidal thoughts or terrible dreams; as long as you keep paying money to the little people in white coats, everything's going to be just fine.  Surely, there can be no psychiatric value of a mind-altering substance which causes one to question perceived reality and examine themselves from a new perspective.  Why would anybody want to grow a plant anyway?  That would just be silly...

  2. Malcolm Kyle Malcolm Kyle Netherlands says:

    The prescription-medication-equals-violence link is well-established.

    Most perpetrators of school shootings and similar mass murders in our modern era were either on, or just recently coming off of, psychiatric medications:

    * Recently confirmed: Aurora shooter James Holmes, who murdered 12 people and injured 58 in a movie theatre, was on prescription meds —the names of these medications have been redacted from court documents.

    * Columbine (April 20, 1999) mass-killer Eric Harris was taking Luvox® (Fluvoxamine maleate)

    * Patrick Purdy, who murdered five children and wounded 30 at Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, on January 17, 1989, was using Amitriptyline (an antidepressant), as well as the antipsychotic drug Thorazine.

    * Kip Kinkel, 15, murdered his parents and then opened fire on his classmates at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon, May, 1998, killing two and wounding 22 others. He had been prescribed both Prozac and Ritalin.

    * In 1988, 31-year-old Laurie Dann went on a shooting rampage in a second-grade classroom in Winnetka, Illinois, killing one child and wounding six. She had been taking the antidepressant Anafranil as well as Lithium.

    * In Paducah, Ky., in late 1997, 14-year-old Michael Carneal, traveled to Heath High School and started shooting students in a prayer meeting taking place in the school’s lobby, killing three and leaving another paralyzed. Carneal reportedly was on Ritalin.

    * Jeff Weise, living on Minnesota’s Red Lake Indian Reservation, shot and killed nine people and wounded five others before killing himself. Weise had been taking Prozac.

    * Joseph T. Wesbecker, just a month after he began taking Prozac in 1989, shot 20 workers at Standard Gravure Corp. in Louisville, Ky., killing nine. Prozac-maker Eli Lilly later settled a lawsuit brought by survivors.

  3. Malcolm Kyle Malcolm Kyle Netherlands says:

    1) Tobacco is cancer causing largely because it delivers specific carcinogens such as NNK and NNAL that are not present in cannabis. Not all "tar" is created equal, and tobacco has some of the most carcinogenic types of tar known to science, whereas cannabis does not.

    jnci.oxfordjournals.org/.../1194

    2) Cannabis (marijuana) use is associated with a DECREASE in several types of cancer... potentially even providing a protective effect against tobacco and alcohol related cancer development.

    Donald Tashkin, a UCLA researcher whose work is funded by NIDA, did a case-control study comparing 1,200 patients with lung, head and neck cancers to a matched group with no cancer. Even the heaviest marijuana smokers had no increased risk of cancer, and had somewhat lower cancer risk than non-smokers (tobacco smokers had a 20-fold increased lung cancer risk). Tashkin D. Marijuana Use and Lung Cancer: Results of a Case-Control Study. American Thoracic Society International Conference. May 23, 2006.

    Researchers at the Kaiser-Permanente HMO, funded by NIDA, followed 65,000 patients for nearly a decade, comparing cancer rates among non-smokers, tobacco smokers, and marijuana smokers. Tobacco smokers had massively higher rates of lung cancer and other cancers. Marijuana smokers who didn't also use tobacco had no increase in risk of tobacco-related cancers or of cancer risk overall. In fact their rates of lung and most other cancers were slightly lower than non-smokers. Sidney, S. et al. Marijuana Use and Cancer Incidence (California, United States). Cancer Causes and Control. Vol. 8. Sept. 1997, p. 722-728.

    In a 1994 study the government tried to suppress, federal researchers gave mice and rats massive doses of THC, looking for cancers or other signs of toxicity. The rodents given THC lived longer and had fewer cancers, "in a dose-dependent manner" (i.e. the more THC they got, the fewer tumors). NTP Technical Report On The Toxicology And Carcinogenesis Studies Of 1-Trans- Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, CAS No. 1972-08-3, In F344/N Rats And B6C3F Mice, Gavage Studies. See also, "Medical Marijuana: Unpublished Federal Study Found THC-Treated Rats Lived Longer, Had Less Cancer," AIDS Treatment News no. 263, Jan. 17, 1997.

  4. Malcolm Kyle Malcolm Kyle Netherlands says:

    Marijuana promotes brain cell growth by 40% and protects it from damage: www.sciencedaily.com/.../051016083817.htm

    Marijuana promotes healthy lungs: dailycollegian.com/.../

    Marijuana when used by HIV patients Inhibits virus replication: www.sciencedaily.com/.../120320195252.htm


    MARIJUANA HALVES MORTALITY RATE IN PEOPLE WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA AND RELATED DISORDERS:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22595870

  5. Kevin Hunt Kevin Hunt United States says:

    Perhaps marijuana would be harmful to those with schizophrenia.  To suggest that it is not appropriate for other problems, such as depression or anxiety is a wild, overreaching claim.

    Marijuana certainly is safer than antipsychotic pharmaceuticals:

    * Aurora shooter James Holmes, who murdered 12 people and injured 58 in a movie theatre, was on prescription meds —the names of these medications have been redacted from court documents.

    * Columbine (April 20, 1999) mass-killer Eric Harris was taking Luvox® (Fluvoxamine maleate)

    * Patrick Purdy, who murdered five children and wounded 30 at Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, on January 17, 1989, was using Amitriptyline (an antidepressant), as well as the antipsychotic drug Thorazine.

    * Kip Kinkel, 15, murdered his parents and then opened fire on his classmates at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon, May, 1998, killing two and wounding 22 others. He had been prescribed both Prozac and Ritalin.

    * In 1988, 31-year-old Laurie Dann went on a shooting rampage in a second-grade classroom in Winnetka, Illinois, killing one child and wounding six. She had been taking the antidepressant Anafranil as well as Lithium.

  6. Kevin Hunt Kevin Hunt United States says:

    Dr. Jennings is rabidly anti-marijuana because he is part of the reefer madness crowd that loves to push pills.  Marijuana was outlawed against the wishes of the AMA in 1937.

    "There is positively no evidence to indicate the abuse of cannabis as medicinal agent or to show that its medical use is leading to the development of cannabis addiction. Cannabis at the present time is slightly used for medical purposes, but it would seem worthwhile to maintain its status as a medicinal agent for such purposes as it now has. There is a possibility that a restudy of the drug by modern means may show other advantages to be derived from its medical use. "

    Testimony at the Atlantic City Convention of the American Medical Association, June 1937. "Report of Committee on Legislative Activities," JAMA, 108 (June 26, 1937): 2214.

  7. Jason Andrews Jason Andrews United States says:

    As someone who suffers from depression and PTSD and uses Medical Marijuana a Natural plant rather than some Pharmaceutical prescription man made Drug. I would just like to say, I am good thanks to this plant and have tried many Pills that do nothing but make it worse..  You must work for Big Pharma Dr. Jenning's? This plant has helped Millions where most Pills Kill Millions!

  8. Shawn Christopher Shawn Christopher United States says:

    Marijuana PROHIBITION is MORE DANGEROUS than anything any type of Marijuana could do to a person.  Marijuana hasn't caused a single fatality in over 10,000 years of recorded human consumption.  George Washington and Thomas Jefferson Cultivated Marijuana,  Abraham Lincoln smoked it daily.  Marijuana PROHIBITION is fundamentally based on racism and the arrest numbers reflect that

  9. Shawn Christopher Shawn Christopher United States says:

    "Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner harmonica." - Abraham Lincoln (from a letter written by Lincoln during his presidency to the head of the Hohner Harmonica Company in Germany)

  10. Lee G. Leissett Lee G. Leissett United States says:

    I learned in my sixth grade health class that marijuana is dangerous so it must be true. The government oversees public education to ensure we get the most reliable information possible.  If anything we need to prohibit our own bodies from producing nasty endocannabinoids. Let's outlaw cannabinoid receptors while we are at it. Prozac rules. It helps people more than any plant could. Duh, plants kill, pharmaceuticals cure. If it's not FDA approved it's poison. That's why I eat at Mcdonald's everyday and wash down my prescriptions with a FDA approved soda. Delicious and nutritious. I'm so glad the government has my best interest in mind.

  11. Troy Miller Troy Miller Canada says:

    "Dr. Jennings also pointed to chemical analyses of marijuana smoke showing that it is inherently more toxic even than cigarette smoke."

    Tired old stat that is only a half truth.  Google " donald tashkin ucla marijuana study" - the largest ever study on smoked marijuana and its effect on lungs.  His findings paint a far different picture:

    "..smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer....
    what we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect....marijuana also contains the chemical THC, which he said may kill aging cells and keep them from becoming cancerous."  

    So not only does smoking marijuana not hurt your lungs, it actually helps protect you from acquiring various cancers.  And if you are unfortunate enough to get cancer, smoking marijuana will help you deal with the nausea and pain inducing effects of chemotherapy.  It will also help the appetite and the ability to hold food down. It does all this better than just about any pharmaceutical product that exists - with far less side effects.

    This "article" is nothing more than the dying last gasps of prohibitionist propaganda.  Dr. Jennings sees the writing on the wall - with less addicts of traditional dangerous prescribed pharmaceuticals -  trillions of dollars will no longer go to the pharmaceutical industry.  
      You only need look at the policing and prison systems, and big alcohol to see similar tripe coming from their directions.  These half-truths and outright lies they come up with - may have worked in a pre-Internet world - but its outright insulting that they continue to bank on the ignorance of the populace.  
      Your lies don't work anymore.

  12. Allan Frankel Allan Frankel United States says:

    I seriously doubt this has much to do with pharmaceutical companies directly. Dr. Jennings's work includes "Marijuana Rehabilitation". Dr. Jennings does not discuss this, but when you call his "center" and talk about cannabis rehabilitation they are very quick to say they do a lot of it and their website certainly looks like a lot of their work is in fact rehab related, so this is all about his losing business. At the very least, he should have been up front about his work. He left this out for obvious reasons.

    So, since cannabis "rehab", particularly in the under 21 group is used as a manipulative tool to keep kids from juvenile hall, Dr. Jennings, his clinic and all clinics treating "cannabis addiction" will go away - as they should.

    Dr. Jennings is not being intellectually honest. I work daily with nationally renowned psychiatrists and neurologists who are very interested in cannabidiol rich cannabis medicine. This is where cannabis becomes a medicine without any question. CBD rich medicines are already in the pharmaceutical world as whole plant extracts. These medications are awesome and legal in six countries. Please check out: http://sativex.com.

    Our own US Government, patented CBD, cannabidiol, in cannabis. Look up:
    United States Patent #6630507  

    In the bowels of this patent are nearly 150 other cannabis patents. The Feds have sold 19 licenses to pharma and pharma is already off and running all over the world to figure out how to cash in on this "new" fever. Perhaps stoners are burning Ganja to get where they want, but the Feds and Pharma are burning rubber to get to the golden pot. (pun intended AND gold is the color of the extracted medicine, not green or brown.

    We are now able to work with psychiatric colleagues and neurological colleagues helping thousands of patients with dosed CBD/THC/Terpene - i.e. WHOLE PLANT MEDICINE.

    Israel is using very low THC strains to treat anxiety and PTSD and this same strain, with less THC than hemp is VERY effective in many psychiatric disorders.

    As a physician practicing Internal Medicine, psychopharmacology and cannabis medicine for over 34 years, I have seen been helped and hurt by nearly everything.

    I believe that of course there is a place for Pharmaceuticals in treating mood disorders. As i am comfortable with Psych meds and CBD, I can see and use both in my practice. I still write prescriptions for SSRI and other meds for various mood disorders, but only if/when cannabinoid meds are not adequate.

    Often they can/should be combined.

    CBD has been patented and many clinical trials currently exist to prove it's efficacy. Combining it's use with whole plant technology, both the pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical extract makers are making very similar medications and the vast majority of physicians believe that cannabis has something to offer.

  13. Troy Miller Troy Miller Canada says:

    "Dr. Jennings also pointed to chemical analyses of marijuana smoke showing that it is inherently more toxic even than cigarette smoke."

    Tired old stat that is only a half truth.  Google " donald tashkin ucla marijuana study" - the largest ever study on smoked marijuana and its effect on lungs.  His findings paint a far different picture:

    "..smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer....
    what we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect....marijuana also contains the chemical THC, which he said may kill aging cells and keep them from becoming cancerous."  

    So not only does smoking marijuana not hurt your lungs, it actually helps protect you from acquiring various cancers.  And if you are unfortunate enough to get cancer, smoking marijuana will help you deal with the nausea and pain inducing effects of chemotherapy.  It will also help the appetite and the ability to hold food down. It does all this better than just about any pharmaceutical product that exists - with far less side effects.

    This "article" is nothing more than the dying last gasps of prohibitionist propaganda.  Dr. Jennings sees the writing on the wall - with less addicts of traditional dangerous prescribed pharmaceuticals -  trillions of dollars will no longer go to the pharmaceutical industry.  
      You only need look at the policing and prison systems, and big alcohol to see similar tripe coming from their directions.  These half-truths and outright lies they come up with - may have worked in a pre-Internet world - but its outright insulting that they continue to bank on the ignorance of the populace.  
      Your lies don't work anymore.

  14. Troy Miller Troy Miller Canada says:

    I did not swear or even write false information in my comment to this article.  Why isnt it up?  Are u practicing good old - fashioned censorship?  Why even have a comment section if someone is deciding what views get shown to the public?  Pathetic!

  15. Troy Miller Troy Miller Canada says:

    So you publish a column of half-truths and lies, have a comment section - yet don't allow comments?  What a great site!  Great discussion here.  I suppose if I suckled up to the pharmaceutical teat it would get printed, but I can't fathom the taste.  Enjoy your delusional world - try as you might - you can only suppress the truth for so long.

  16. j w j w United States says:

    I can literally list dozens of studies for all the major mental disorders showing effectiveness, lack of side effects, and increases in functional capacity. This doctor is lying plain and simple. Schizophrenia, OCD, Tourettes, anxiety, PTSD, ... TONS of studies. More than can be listed within this small space. I would encourage people to look at science rather than pharm funded rhetoric. These people have financial interests tied to their opinion. What this doctor is saying, is not supported by peer reviewed research. Its as simple as that.

  17. Clifford Schaffer Clifford Schaffer United States says:

    That ought to clear up their depression pretty quick.

    You really have to wonder about a doctor who would send his patients to jail to keep them from smoking pot. Not to mention that you really have to wonder about a doctor who writes about this topic but never bothered to read the official IOM report on the subject. Not to mention you really have to wonder about a doctor who hasn't read about the latest research on why medical marijuana users in California use the stuff.

    I wouldn't trust this doctor to work on a hangnail.

  18. Sushi Monster Sushi Monster United States says:

    I think it should be pointed out that this doctor uses a cranial  magnetic stimulation therapy that is not considered effective treatment. While it is not harmful per se, it does not appear to bear up the claims that he makes for it on his website. Not only does he have a financial interest in a competing treatment, but he endorses a treatment with questionable results.

  19. SHELLY MCQUEEN SHELLY MCQUEEN United States says:

    This is bullcrap in the first degree. i know. i am living proof. i am bipolar and the best thing i have found to help me was marijuana. i smoked it for 20 years. it wasnt until one day i decided to get on medication for my illness to see if it would help me more, and all it done was made things worse, and i mean a whole lot worse, to the point of trying to commit and almost succeeding , suicide twice in a year. i never had these problems that i have now when i was just smoking marijuana. i want so badly to get off of these disabilifying medications and to be able to smoke marijuana and be okay again, but once you start these medications, it is dangerous to stop them. so yeah, im worse off now then i was back then. and considered a criminal if i smoke marijuana. marijuana is GOD made, and he makes no mistakes. yet it is illegal. but oh its okay to be prescribed all sorts of MAN MADE pharmacheuticals that KILL.  BULLCRAP I TELL YA, PURE BULLCRAP.

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