mj

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Medications that are approved by the FDA undergo meticulous testing to confirm bioequivalence, safety and effectiveness of the medication. Unfortunately, marijuana has not gone through the rigorous process of approval through the FDA. Without this, there are no standards for quality or efficacy, no continued monitoring of adverse effects, no recall available if found to present a risk to the public. (FDA) For instance, in 2012, there was a multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis and infections from contaminated methylprednisolone. This contaminated medication was recalled and found to be purchased at a compounding pharmacy. Without the recall of these medications by the FDA and CDC, there could have been perpetual infections and significant morbidity and mortality sustained by the public (Smith).

Because of the lack of public health infrastructure available to monitor the quality of the marijuana, patients can be unknowingly exposed to contaminants such as molds and pesticides. These contaminants, particularly fungal spores, are most concerning and pose the greatest risk to those who are immunocompromised. (McPartland JM) Heather Miller Coyle, a botanist at University of New Haven, has ongoing research surrounding the contaminants in marijuana. Her lab uses DNA profiling and analysis, and the results have found mold, mildew, and bacteria on marijuana. (Collins) There are a variety of pesticides used when growing the marijuana, and the amount absorbed by the individual varies based on heating method and inhalation amount. A study recently published in the Journal of Toxicology demonstrated that the common pesticides found on marijuana are transferred to the user when marijuana is inhaled. As of 2012, it was still unclea...

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