Such medical programs should only be about bringing relief to the sick and dying, and it should be done in a responsible manner that formulates the active components of the drug in a non-smoked form that delivers a defined dose. However, in most states with medical marijuana laws, it has primarily become a license for the state-sanctioned use of a drug by most anyone who desires it.
Developing marijuana-based medications through the FDA process is more likely to ensure that seriously ill patients, who are being supervised by their actual treating physicians, have access to safe and reliable products.
Despite rhetoric from the industry to the contrary, marijuana use is harmful. It is a complex plant with hundreds of constituents; inhaled, on average it contains 14% THC and virtually no CBD. Using today’s high THC marijuana, especially for young people, is significantly associated with a reduction in IQ, mental illness, poor learning outcomes, lung damage, and addiction. According to the National Institutes of Health, one out of every six adolescents who use marijuana will become addicted, and many more will develop some problems as a result of marijuana use. There are about 400,000 emergency room admissions for marijuana every year – related to acute panic attacks and psychotic episodes – and marijuana is the most cited drug for teens entering treatment. The heavy use of marijuana has increased rapidly in the last decade; and it’s estimated that the market for marijuana has quadrupled since 1990 ($10B to $40B) while the cocaine market has been cut by half ($30B to $15B) during that same period of time.
 See Meier, M.H.; Caspi, A.; Ambler, A.; Harrington, H.; Houts, R.; Keefe, R.S.E.; McDonald, K.; Ward, A.; Poulton, R.; and Moffitt, T. Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109(40):E2657–E2664, 2012. Also
Moffitt, T.E.; Meier, M.H.; Caspi, A.; and Poulton, R. Reply to Rogeberg and Daly: No evidence that socioeconomic status or personality differences confound the association between cannabis use and IQ decline. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences 110(11):E980-E982, 2013.
 See for example: Andréasson S., et al. (1987). Cannabis and Schizophreia: A longitudinal study of Swedish conscripts. Lancet, 2(8574); Moore, T.H., et al. (2007). Cannabis use and risk of psychotic or affective mental health outcomes: a systematic review. Lancet, 370(9584); Large M., et al. (2011). Cannabis Use and Earlier Onset of Psychosis: A Systematic Meta-analysis. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68(6); Harley, M., et al. (2010). Cannabis use and childhood trauma interact additively to increase risk of psychotic symptoms in adolescences. Psychological Medicine, 40(10); Lynch, M.J., et al. (2012). The Cannabis-Psychosis Link. Psychiatric Times.
 Yucel, M., et al. (2008). Regional brain abnormalities associated with long-term heavy cannabis use. Archives of General Psychiatry, 65(6).
 See for example: American Lung Association. (2012, November 27). Health Hazards of Smoking Marijuana. Retrieved from: http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/about-smoking/health-effects/marijuana-smoke.html; Tashkin, D.P., et al. (2002). Respiratory and immunologic consequences of smoking marijuana. Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 4(11); Moore, B.A., et al. (2005). Respiratory effects of marijuana and tobacco use in a U.S. sample. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 20(1); Tetrault, J.M., et al. (2007). Effects of marijuana smoking on pulmonary structure, function and symptoms. Thorax, 62(12); Tan, W.C., et al. (2009). Marijuana and chronic obstructive lung disease.
 See for example: Anthony, J.C., Warner, L.A., Kessler, R.C. (1994). Comparative epidemiology of dependence on tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances, and inhalants: Basic findings from the National Comorbidity Survey. Experiential and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 2; Budney, A.J., et al. (2008). Comparison of cannabis and tobacco withdrawal: Severity and contributions to relapse. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 35(4); Tanda, G., et al. (2003). Cannabinoids: Reward, dependence, and underlying neurochemical mechanisms – A recent preclinical data. Psychoparmacology, 169(2).
 Anthony, J.C., Warner, L.A., Kessler, R.C. (1994). Comparative epidemiology of dependence on tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances, and inhalants: Basic findings from the National Comorbidity Survey. Experiential and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 2.
 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2011). Drug abuse warning network, 2008: National estimates of drug-related emergency department visits. HHS Publication No. SMA 11-4618. Rockville, MD.
 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics
and Quality. Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS): 2000-2010. National Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment Services. DASIS Series S-61, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 12-4701. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012
 Kilmer et al. (2014). “How big is the US market for illegal drugs?” RAND Report. Found here http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9770.html