Doctor warns not to expect medical marijuana to be a cure-all

MISSISSIPPI — Voters in Mississippi overwhelmingly approved medical marijuana Tuesday which will allow doctors to prescribe the drug to people with cancer, epilepsy, ALS and other medical conditions.

Some studies show that medical marijuana has some negative side effects like being addictive.

Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Dobbs said it can also make some mental illnesses worse but advocates argue marijuana does more help than harm.

“Everything under the sun, please let’s not expect medical marijuana to be a cure-all,” said Dr. Dobbs.

RELATED: Mississippi legalizes medical marijuana: What’s next and what can be learned from Arkansas

Initiative 65 passed, which means people with 22 debilitating medical conditions and illnesses can soon use medical marijuana as a treatment.

The initiative also puts the Mississippi Department of Health in charge of the program.

Dr. Dobbs said there are some pros to using the drug but says people should not forget the cons.

“Are we going to wake up one day and have millions addicted to marijuana and have work productivity fall of the cliff and worry? This is a bad idea and I’m worried we might go in that direction,” said Dr. Dobbs.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse backs him up saying 9 percent of users become addicted. It said 1 in 6 people who start at a young age are also at risk of addiction.

RELATED: Mississippi voters approve medical marijuana Initiative 65

Dr. Dobbs said marijuana usage can also impact mental illnesses.

“Marijuana is not good for depression. it makes mental illness worse, anxiety the same thing,” said Dr. Dobbs.

Initiative 65 supporters like Jamie Grantham with the Medical Marijuana 2020 campaign argue medical marijuana is too politicized.

She said research shows it helps with chronic pain, Parkinson’s, and other illnesses. She said she believes the drug can treat patients at most ages.

“As a Christian, I believe that God made the plant and called it good and I have been amazed and have a huge respect and awe for what a miracle plant there is,” said Grantham.

The new initiative will go into effect in August 2021.

RELATED: Medical Marijuana: Which proposal will Miss. voters choose?

Dr. Dobbs admits there are benefits to using medical marijuana but would like to see more research.

“Do we need to find a way to bring relief to people who need it? Yes, absolutely. That’s what we want to do. But do we want to do it in a way that doesn’t weaken our community or cause harm to kids and vulnerable folks and pregnant women? Yeah, there is always a balance,” said Dr. Dobbs.

Before the election, Dr. Dobbs said he was worried the medical marijuana program will take away from the fight against the coronavirus. However, on Wednesday, a spokesperson told FOX13 the health department is planning how it will run the department while managing COVID-19 concerns.