Dr. John Stamler, M.D., Ph.D., testified at the 2009 Iowa Board of Pharmacy hearing on medical cannabis in Iowa City, Iowa. Here’s a copy of his speech. Original transcripts of the 2009 hearings are available at Iowans for Medical Marijuana.
LLOYD JESSEN: Can you please state your name.
JOHN STAMLER: Yeah. My name is John Stamler. I am an ophthalmologist, M.D., and a Ph.D., and I do clinical research in ophthalmology. I know you’re going to hear a lot about other uses for medical marijuana, but I just wanted to put in a few words about the uses — potential uses of these substances for treatment of eye diseases, particularly glaucoma.
Glaucoma is — remains a leading cause of blindness in the United States. There are millions of people who are affected with this disease who still go blind even though we have numerous treatments, but none of them are perfect. There are still people who cannot tolerate side effects or are — or the drugs are not effective.
And we — glaucoma is a disease caused mostly by a high pressure in the eye. And we do know that THC and related compounds do lower pressure in the eye and both with topical and systemic use.
So these — these drugs have a lot of potential. However, they’re not being researched very much, and that’s primarily because — primarily because people don’t see that they’ll ever be available for use.
So without being licensable for use in patients, these potentially very useful drugs will never be investigated and never be studied, and we won’t find out if — if they’ll be useful or not.
I know as a researcher myself, I don’t want to spend a lot of time in my career researching something that will never have a potential of being used. So that’s my first point.
My second point is I think that you can trust physicians to prescribe medicines in an appropriate way. I think if — if there are safe and effective treatments found using medical marijuana that — that physicians can be entrusted to prescribe them reasonably and — and rationally just as we’re entrusted with opiates and benzodiazepines and amphetamines and other very — drugs that have a lot of abuse potential.
So I’d like you to consider this when you’re deliberating. Thanks.
LLOYD JESSEN: Thank you.
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